Monday, July 13, 2009

The Trip to Sligo 1

As far as I can see the only sculpture relating to a writer on my journey to Sligo is the one on the Edgeworthstown bypass on the N4 at Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford. This is a sculpture of Maria Edgeworth (1768 - 1849). She is generally considered one of the most important Anglo-Irish fiction writers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Biographical information here and here

She was born in Oxfordshire, England and received her early education in England. Her family, members of the Anglo-Irish Ascendancy, moved to the family estate in County Longford and Maria lived there most of her life surrounded by a close-knit family.

She is best remembered for her first novel, Castle Rackrent (1800), a satire of dissolute landowners. Other works include a London novel, Belinda (1801), and more Irish novels, Ennui (1809), The Absentee (1812), and Ormond (1817).

She traveled frequently to England and visited Europe twice before she was fifty, meeting with philosophers and writers. She became very friendly with Walter Scott and visited him in Scotland. She is buried in the family vault in the cemetery adjoining St. John’s Church in Edgeworthstown. The town hosts an annual literary festival in her honour.

The sculpture is by Irish sculptor Mel French.

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