A Note on Maria Edgeworth and Ursula Bethell


  • Heidi Thomson


Readers familiar with eighteenth-century English literature may recognise the reference to “the experience of Rosamund and her Purple Jar!” in the first section of Ursula Bethell’s “By the River Ashley.” It is from a popular story by the Anglo-Irish writer Maria Edgeworth (1768-1849), Jane Austen’s favourite novelist and a pioneer in children’s literature, a genre which does not get properly developed until the middle of Queen Victoria’s reign. “The Purple Jar” appeared in The Parent’s Assistant (1796) and reappeared in Rosamond (1801). In addition to Frank, Harry and Lucy, Rosamond is one of Edgeworth’s favourite heroines: she is impetuous, independent and resourceful.


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Author Biography

Heidi Thomson