Letters for Literary Ladies: To Which Is Added, an Essay on the Noble Science of Self-Justification
One of the foremost authors of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Maria Edgeworth (1768-1849) made the project of women's education ... Show synopsis One of the foremost authors of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Maria Edgeworth (1768-1849) made the project of women's education the pillar of her career. Letters for Literary Ladies (1795), her first published work, takes up this question in earnest, offering a staunch defence of women's intellectual training and an impassioned warning against its neglect. The first two letters likely draw from an exchange between Richard Edgeworth, Maria's father, and his friend Thomas Day, presenting arguments for and against educating young women in the sciences and philosophy. The 'Letters of Julia and Caroline' illustrate this debate in epistolary form, dramatising both sides of the argument. The final 'Essay on the Noble Science of Self-Justification' serves as a wry critique of women's own self-deceptions. Complex and provocative, Letters for Literary Ladies demonstrates Edgeworth's early exploration of the subject that would define her career.