Time and the Child: The Case of Maria Edgeworth’s Early Lessons

  • Aileen DouglasEmail author
Part of the Critical Approaches to Children's Literature book series (CRACL)


In the first quarter of the nineteenth century, the Irish novelist Maria Edgeworth published a series of books, beginning with Harry and Lucy. Part 1. Being the first part of Early Lessons (1801), and ending with Harry and Lucy concluded (1825). Successive volumes in the series followed her child protagonists as they grew. This essay discusses the series in the context of Edgeworth’s pedagogical principles of ‘gradual instruction’, or the exercise of the child’s faculties by works ‘suited to his capacity’. Edgeworth’s child-centred works represent time in several of its aspects—age, duration, memory. Her didactically motivated apprehension of the child in time enables her representation of the child’s experience of time.


Eighteenth Century Lesson Volume Child Character Practical Education Gradual Instruction 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of English,Trinity College DublinDublinIreland

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