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Moral Tales: A Selection

In their moral tales, writers such as Hannah More, Amelia Opie, and Maria Edgeworth embraced explicitly didactic aims, seeking to instill normative moral behavior in their readers while entertaining them with vivid, emotional storytelling. In More’s “Tawney Rachel,” for example, a servant girl suffers severe consequences for succumbing to superstition; in Opie’s “The Black Velvet…

Castle Rackrent

Castle Rackrent—Maria Edgeworth’s first novel, and the work for which she was and is best known—occupies a most unusual place in the history both of Irish literature and of English-language fiction. It has sometimes been called the first historical novel in English literature, yet in its tone it more closely resembles a comedy of manners…