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Belinda

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,103 Ratings  ·  87 Reviews
The lively comedy of this novel in which a young woman comes of age amid the distractions and temptations of London high society belies the challenges it poses to the conventions of courtship, the dependence of women, and the limitations of domesticity. Contending with the perils and the varied cast of characters of the marriage market, Belinda strides resolutely toward in ...more
Paperback, Oxford World's Classics, 544 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1801)
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Community Reviews

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Margaret
Belinda made interesting reading as a followup to Sense and Sensibility. Edgeworth was a major influence on Austen, and the contrast between the two main characters in Belinda (the sensible eponymous heroine and her mercurial mentor Lady Delacour) clearly prefigures the theme Austen took up in Sense and Sensibility. Austen aside, though, Belinda is good reading in its own right; although it suffers from Edgeworth's determination to write a "Moral Tale" rather than a novel (as she specifies in th ...more
Leni Iversen
Edgeworth is said to have been a big influence on Jane Austen, which is what made me want to read her (Edgeworth) work. Where Belinda is concerned, I can certainly see that the various themes of the book have also been explored by Austen. We have a young, intelligent, good-hearted etc woman who is surrounded by folly, intrigue, and bad examples. There are any matter of misunderstanding, protocol, intrigue and gossip between her and the man she loves. And one of the main themes is first versus se ...more
Wealhtheow
Mar 12, 2010 Wealhtheow rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of a mix of Burney and Wilde
Recommended to Wealhtheow by: sarah
Shelves: historical
Belinda is a silly, naive girl who is sent to stay with the glamorous Lady Delacour. Her worldly aunt wants her to find a rich husband, Lady Delacour wants her to be entertaining, and Belinda just wants to fall in love. She is initially dazzled by the high-flying life of the Delacours and the rest of the Ton, but rapidly sees the dark side to the sparkling diamonds and scathing witticisms.

Although the novel was published in 1801, this is a very readable book, with dialog that still scintillates
...more
Sarah
Apr 17, 2016 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, ebook, classics
I actually enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. I found myself actually enjoying the story and really getting into it but then it started to drag out and I got impatient. I can handle a little bit of unimportant waffle in a book but this book had so much waffle!! It did not need to be so long! I'm also glad that we talk differently nowadays as their talk also drove me crazy at times. I'm not doing a long review because I'm so sick of analysing this for college!
Anna Kļaviņa
3.5

Belinda was written in a time when most people thought that young women reading books is a waste of time.

Jane Austen mocked this notion in Northanger Abbey and so does Edgeworth but in less noticeable way.

Most important thing about Belinda is that it isn't a novel, it's a moral tale. As such Belinda, our heroine, is intentionally Mary Sue and the story suffers for it. That's said the story is interesting enough and Edgeworth's talent shows. One could only wish she wouldn't had well intendin
...more
Pamela
Coming pretty much straight off of The Female Quixote, which was nigh on unreadable due to antiquated dialogue and constant references to romance novels of the 17th century, I was surprised and delighted to find Belinda such an entertaining, engrossing, and fun read.

I don't believe my text had the (in)famous interracial marriage in it, so I was pretty disappointed--and who was involved, anyway?!?!?!

The novel is the familiar setup of "Quick! Single girl! Must marry her off! But Hark! Dangers appr
...more
Margaret Sullivan
It's always interesting to read books that Jane Austen read. Belinda was published around the same time that Austen was writing Northanger Abbey (and is namechecked in the "Defense of the Novel") and it clearly influenced her. I have other thoughts about it that I might write up later on.
Dawn
Now that I've read this book I find that the author was an inspiration to Jane Austen and upon reflection I can see several instances of this in the story. Particularly in regards to Sense and Sensibility.

Belinda is really a very boring girl, she makes no mistakes, she's eminently proper and compassionate, she isn't witty and does nothing of interest to relieve the boredom. She is also smarter and morally superior to everyone she meets, managing to fix years long relationship problems in weeks
...more
Sarah
It's hard to pinpoint exactly why I disliked this one because it was similar to Evelina, which I really liked. It just felt like this one had no plot and was just slow and dull.
Valerie Kyriosity
I rather enjoyed this Austen-era novel. Edgeworth does not reach Austen's literary heights, but she tells a good story, and I can see why Jane would have appreciated her (Belinda is mentioned in Northanger Abbey). The readers in this production were of varied quality, but I was never tempted to choke any of them. I will note, however, that, as a general principle, most American readers should not attempt English accents.

My most persistent thought throughout was, "Why hasn't the BBC miniseriesed
...more
Natalie
Apr 09, 2014 Natalie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is easy to tell that Jane Austen was inspired by Maria Edgeworth. Belinda is a fascinating combination of moral lessons and strong female characters. Belinda, a moral, honest, and intelligent girl, exerts her independence by refusing to marry a foolish man for money (Elizabeth Bennet anyone?).

Lady Delacour starts the book as a wild woman of society. She repeatedly fights her husband's authority. When Edgeworth has Lady Delacour reform, she doesn't turn into a sweet obedient wife. She is stil
...more
Kimberly
Jan 26, 2014 Kimberly rated it really liked it
Belinda is a "novel" by Maria Edgeworth, a contemporary of Jane Austen. Before reading Belinda, I had never read a novel by one of Austen's female contemporaries, and I was curious to see how they would compare. Austen is clearly the superior writer; Belinda concerns itself with many of the same issues as Austen's novels (i.e., women getting married), but Austen's plotting is superior and I missed her witty and distinctive narrative voice. That being said, I really enjoyed Belinda. While we call ...more
Erin
May 21, 2013 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-buy, favorites
Totally forgot I hadn't marked this one as finished. Whoops. Recommended for fans of Jane Austen (especially fans of Pride and Prejudice).

Let's be real, here, I found this book from an AP practice prose prompt. And I got so enthralled with the quoted passage (it's the description of Clarence at the beginning) that I went and found the book (after nearly not finishing the prompt because of time) on The Gutenberg Project and read it immediately.

Totally and completely worth it.

Yes, the novel is tit
...more
Rachel Brand
Read for EN4363: Romantic Writing and Women.

Given that most of the novels so far on this course have been rather depressing in nature or badly edited, this was a very pleasant surprise. Maria Edgeworth's writing is far more similar to that of Frances Burney than Mary Wollstonecraft or Mary Hays. I tried to read this book in 50 page chunks in order to finish it in time for my tutorial, but I probably could have finished it earlier as it was a relatively easy read.

My main reasons for not rating t
...more
Gina
Nov 06, 2014 Gina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book took a long time to get interesting, and it wasn't until I was over halfway through the book that I figured out what the plot of this story was going to be. Part of the reason for that is that Edgeworth has a way of meandering through her story, throwing in characters and scenes that could have easily been eliminated, as they have no baring on the final story. There is a lot going on in these books, and just when you think you have come upon the plot, things get resolved and you're not ...more
Amanda
Jul 25, 2015 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thesis-thinking
First of all .... I loved this book. I loved the time period, the characters, and, though this is probably anathema in so many circles, the didactic nature of the story. Edgeworth managed to have every character learn about life in both difficult and believable manners, despite some of the situations being more than fantastic. Belinda, though ridiculously perfect at times, went through a very vivid process of learning from others. Lady Delacour, quite possibly one of the best characters in all o ...more
Christie
Dec 24, 2010 Christie rated it really liked it
I just read this, embarrassingly, because I assigned it for a class I'm teaching next quarter (without having read it first). And I'm so excited to teach it now! Race issues, cross-dressing, mockery of the novel, marriage-lessons, a bizarre breast-surgery scare. Early nineteenth-century lit at its finest. (So much more fun than Austen.)
K.
Fun. Lovely little moral romance. Interesting for its time for sure.
Tien
Jul 23, 2012 Tien rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jane Austen fans
Belinda is my perfect heroine. She is not perfect but is my idea of a perfect heroine. Her character in the beginning was questionable – take into consideration, however, her age, [in]experience, and naivety. We then read her experiences in society as she learnt, grew speedily in maturity and gained such strong sensible noble characters then she definitely becomes one you’d wish for in a friend.

The first few chapters were a little shaky for me as I wasn’t sure if I could handle this kind of hero
...more
Rika - (The Unpretentious Reader)
So. Damn. Long.
I almost drowned in the description and droning on and on and on.

What made me read it and even like it -and no matter how irritating I found- is that it offered me a genuine prespective of the society back then.. I read sooooooo much regency novels written by contemporaries.. so I wanted to compare the settings and the over all situation between the two.

Ofcourse Belinda may offer a more realistic and in-time view. But I'm glad I get to be born in my time and enjoy the regency only
...more
June Louise
May 25, 2012 June Louise rated it really liked it
“Clarence Hervey might have been more than a pleasant young man, if he had not been smitten with the desire of being thought superior in every thing, and of being the most admired person in all companies. He had been early flattered with the idea that he was a man of genius; and he imagined that, as such, he was entitled to be imprudent, wild, and eccentric. He affected singularity, in order to establish his claims to genius. He had considerable literary talents, by which he was distinguished at ...more
Kressel Housman
Maria Edgeworth was more or less a contemporary of Jane Austen, but you can tell by this novel, she wasn't a sheltered preacher's daughter. Jane Austen alludes to the debauched lives of Wickham and Willoughby, but you don't see them from the inside. Belinda does show you that world; she is the houseguest of Lady Delacour in London, who lives in luxury and decadence. Belinda's great strength is that she is not adversely influenced by her hostess. If anything, she is the trigger to Lady Delacour's ...more
Giulia Z.
As an Austen fan, and having read the reviews on this website I wasn't expecting much from Belinda. And I was pleasantly surprised when this book turned out more interesting than I thought! The character of Lady Delacour is a very interesting one and Belinda is a naive yet good-hearted girl and in the end you just find yourself attached to these characters. You go through the book in a fast way and the plot is well done. I recommend!
Water
Nov 24, 2014 Water rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maria Edgeworth was Jane Austen's contemporary, so you'll enjoy this book if you like that time period. In "Belinda", Edgeworth makes the error of creating an all-too-perfect heroine (the titular Belinda). Despite the fact that Belinda is virtually perfect, and slightly annoying, the book is interesting and enjoyable. The secondary characters, like Lady Delacour and Clarence Hervey, are fascinating. Overall, this a worthwhile read.
Maire
Sep 29, 2013 Maire rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-club
Maria Edgeworth crafted a fascinating story with Belinda. She brings her humor (as in Castle Rackrent--one of my favorites!) to some ridiculous characters and situations, but she also isn't afraid to tackle some very serious issues (inter-racial marriage, gold digging, kidnapping, gambling addiction) along the way. The main character, Belinda, is one of the few women in a classic novel that almost acts modern, with her desire for independence and her tendency to question the beliefs of the time. ...more
Lori
Jun 04, 2007 Lori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is an early 19th century British novel. At times the form can seem dated. For example, early on in the novel, there is a heavy use of letters. Also one of the main characters goes on and on for pages relating her whole life story, which might seem awkward to the modern reader. On the other hand, like many 18th and 19th century novels, this book deals with some interesting issues including the proper behavior of women in society, the nature of love, the dangers of gambling, the folly of ...more
Patrizia
L'eroina, un'ingenua ragazza che si trova a vivere in un ambiente più elevato rispetto al suo, non può non conquistare il lettore, anche se è un po' 'troppo' tutto: troppo bella, troppo buona, troppo generosa, troppo accomodante...
Eliza
Feb 09, 2016 Eliza rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
I read this book for my bachelor thesis, which I am going to write on feminist writers in the 1790s and around 1800. Like a lot of books from around that period, this book was tedious at times. Knowing Austen was an admirer of Edgeworth, however, is clear, if you've read some Austen already. In a way, this novel was a bit more ingeniously put together than most of Austen's novels and I was very surprised at how everything came together in the last 60 pages. I am sure this novel will become even ...more
Jennie Goutet
Jun 21, 2016 Jennie Goutet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved it. The tone is Dickensian in its humour, akin to Dostoevsky in drawing the wild excesses of the human soul, and Austen-esque in its wit and happy ending. It was so rich and I'm sad it's over.
Miss Ginny Tea
Well, it had a great start, but then it was clearly going where it shouldn't have. I can't get over Hervey's behaviour towards Virginia/Rachel. The thing with Vincent's gambling was sudden and short. What about other people Luttridge fleeced? Belinda deserves better.
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Edgeworth was an Anglo-Irish gentry-woman, born in Oxfordshire and later resettling in County Longford. She eventually took over the management of her father's estate in Ireland and dedicated herself to writing novels that encouraged the kind treatment of Irish tenants and the poor by their landlords.
More about Maria Edgeworth...

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“What a treasure, to meet with any thing a new heart-- all hearts, nowadays, are secondhand at best.” 7 likes
“Clarence Hervey might have been more than a pleasant young man, if he had not been smitten with the desire of being thought superior in every thing, and of being the most admired person in all companies. He had been early flattered with the idea that he was a man of genius; and he imagined that, as such, he was entitled to be imprudent, wild, and eccentric. He affected singularity, in order to establish his claims to genius. He had considerable literary talents, by which he was distinguished at Oxford; but he was so dreadfully afraid of passing for a pedant, that when he came into the company of the idle and the ignorant, he pretended to disdain every species of knowledge. His chameleon character seemed to vary in different lights, and according to the different situations in which he happened to be placed. He could be all things to all men—and to all women.” 3 likes
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