For “Family and Intimate Visitors Only”: The Influence of Maria Edgeworth’s Juvenilia on the Production of Her Adult Dramas
Abstract

Abstract:

Maria Edgeworth is known for her didactic children’s stories and for being a pioneer in the development of the regional novel in English. Less is known about her juvenilia, however, despite its formative influence on her adult authorship. Edgeworth’s first surviving drama, The Double Disguise, written and performed at Edgeworthstown in 1786 when she was just eighteen, marks an important literary turn in her authorship and speaks to the importance of her early exploration of narrative and form. Identifiable in The Double Disguise is Edgeworth’s turn toward more realistic modes, including her political concerns with class and social status. This article examines numerous verbal and literary connections between The Double Disguise and Edgeworth’s later dramas Old Poz (1796) and Eton Montem (1799), establishing The Double Disguise as a significant work of juvenilia—not only because it was to have direct and indirect influence on Edgeworth’s adult narratives, but also due to it being a remarkably insightful comedy of manners written by a child writer.