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Belinda

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  3,085 ratings  ·  158 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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Jeanne Mixon I found the account of the slave Juba very racist and disturbing. The treatment of the possibly transgender Miss Freke was also unnecessarily cruel. T…moreI found the account of the slave Juba very racist and disturbing. The treatment of the possibly transgender Miss Freke was also unnecessarily cruel. The moral messages about how proper women should behave were ridiculous and disturbing. So if you are just worried about language, then I guess that's fine. But unless you are reading it for a sense of how wildly inappropriately women and Black people were described in the early 1800s, the content is disturbing.(less)

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Average rating 3.67  · 
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 ·  3,085 ratings  ·  158 reviews


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Henry Avila
Nov 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before Jane Austen and after Fanny Burney (who I have never read ...yet) there was popular, influential Maria Edgeworth, these ladies and others, dominated English literature of the late 18th century and early 19th, women especially young girls enjoyed their novels with stories of improbable romances, even more unnerving adventures with evil villains, high society and all the corruption underneath the facade of gentle, respectable people, doing glamorous things and manners to match the surface. ...more
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
Melindam
Oct 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, anglophilia
Can be downloaded for free from Project Gutenberg link to free edition
under the title "Tales and Novels — Volume 03 by Maria Edgeworth"

Update 10/12/2017

Not a full 4 stars (3.75), but I enjoyed it nevertheless.

Belinda, the heroine, is a big step forward compared to the heroines of Fanny Burney (complete ingenues, always the helpless victims of circumstance, waiting for events to miraculously sort themselves out). While still bordering on the perfect, she has a lot of common sense and prudence
...more
Issicratea
Jan 31, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 1800-1900, reviewed
I read Maria Edgeworth’s Belinda (1801) as part of my occasional series of female predecessors of Jane Austen, following a very successful encounter a few years ago with the splendidly dashing Fanny Burney. I didn’t enjoy Edgeworth’s novel as much as Burney’s Evelina (1778)—at times, frankly, it dragged—but I’m glad I eventually made my way through.

The plot (as you may not be surprised to learn) concerns the sentimental education and path to marriage of an attractive young girl from a respectabl
...more
Wealhtheow
Mar 09, 2010 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
Marquise
A lovely story, very reminiscent of Austen, but far more moralistic and patronising at times, and with a heroine not nearly as enjoyable to read about. I loved the counter-point character of the flightly, temperamental and sometimes abrasive Lady Delacour way more than I like the main character, who suffered from being sanctimonious and too perfect to be relatable. Plus, the ending was rather disappointing.

On the other hand, Edgeworth is as witty as Austen, and can be as funny, but she's mostly
...more
Sotiris Karaiskos
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
A book that at first seems to be one of many of those times that describe the marriage game, but in the process, the author deals with many of the issues of her era, especially those about women. The heroine of the book is a young woman trained at the marriage game from very young, bringing together all these qualities that would help her attract the right man who could provide her with a comfortable life. But coming in contact with the world and having the necessary sensitivity understands how ...more
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
Sarah
Oct 19, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: z2015, ebook, fiction, 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! ...more
antiquarian reverie
This was my first time reading Maria Edgeworth but will not be my last after enjoying Belinda so much I had a hard time putting my kindle down. Her writing reminded me of Jane Austen "souped up" with many incredible characters and the meanest female character- Harriot Freake - I remember reading with really no visable caring concern but self centered equal to many cruel men. If Harriot heard this I am sure she would be pleased to be in league with these men, not caring for men, yet married, but ...more
Joanna Loves Reading
I think if I had read this rather than listened this maybe a four star read. Unfortunately, some of the narrators on Librivox were subpar and I know that I missed some details. What I did catch was entertaining and filled with interesting characters. Lady Delacor was a piece of work - I just loved her. You can see the influence on Austen. It got a little weird at times, and it was by no means at Austen's level, but she did have some well-worded sentences and quotes. ...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
Aubrey
My dear Belinda, if you will not quarrel with the quality, you may have what quantity of praise you please.
This, to put it plainly, was a mess. Reading it was akin to following a long, arduous, and convoluted Twitter drama where all is told and nothing is shown, and the emotional payout isn't slow burn but an exasperating "Finally!" to the resolution between a personality-less paragon and a supremely creepy patriarchal ideal. It's infuriating that this edition is the heavily censored 1811 ve
...more
Rebekah
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 19th-century
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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. ...more
Mary
May 29, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Continuing the steady plodding through The Unreads in quarantine. Belinda is about what one would expect of an eighteenth-century novel that insists on being called a "moral tale" rather than a novel. In other words, Belinda would be quite a bit more interesting if she were less of a moral paragon. I thoroughly enjoyed the ending, however, which the introduction describes (if I remember right) as weirdly postmodern. ...more
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
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
Ana
Mar 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Jane Austen fans
Recommended to Ana by: Ron Nie
After finishing this book, if you were to tell me that Belinda came up with the concept of a slow burn romance, I'll believe you. Mind you, I don't care for the men or the light antisemitism and dubious portrayal of race in this book, but the female characters are so well drawn and distinct that I enjoyed the read immensely. The last paragraphs in particular were great fun.

...more
Nancy
Dec 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Have you read and reread all of your Austen books? Gone through all the Brontes? And you still haven't gotten enough of the independently minded Georgian/Victorian era heroines? Then try Belinda. While not quite as well written as Austen, there is enough here to provide a diversion such as the education of women, cross dressing, gender and race issues, and opium addiction. And of course a bit of romance.

The story revolves mostly around Lady Delacour and Belinda. The former "was governed by pride
...more
Diem
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
So. Hmm. I liked so many things about this book. But, most of them happened in the first half. In the second half, all the things I liked were revealed to be terrible and immoral. I liked the sharp-tongued ladies who dressed up in men's clothes and fought a duel. I liked the rakish flirt. I liked the biracial marriage which seemed incredibly bold for a woman writer in 1801.

But then some of the most interesting, complex characters were reformed and the rest met bad ends. I found out that the bir
...more
K.
Fun. Lovely little moral romance. Interesting for its time for sure.
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. ...more
Daniel B Grimsey
Maria Edgeworth, probably most famous for writing political comedies about Irish-English relations (“Castle Rackrent”, read “Castle Rackrent”, it’s very short, it won’t take long), also had a nice sideline as a writer of proto-Jane Austen romance novels, several years before Jane Austen became a thing. But the world moved a lot slower back then, so most of the themes and infatuations of the time are in place: stories of relatively (although not obscenely) wealthy heiress and the question of who ...more
Grace Harwood
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended to me to read whilst considering the nature of blushing in eighteenth century fiction. Is it a discourse of sensibility and virtue, or is it an indicator of sexual awareness? I think this novel demonstrates once and for all that it is the latter.

This is a fantastically detailed novel charting the journey of a young woman (the eponymous heroine, Belinda) as she negotiates the marriage market with her matchmaking aunt on at her to marry the first stupid rich man she meet
...more
Nancy
This was a hard book for me to enjoy. I decided it was one of those books, I needed to read a little bit at a time, and I finally finished it. I kept falling asleep during the last part, and had to keep going back.

The story tells of how marriageable aged girls found their husbands. In this book, Belinda's aunt or great aunt, had found husbands for all of her other nieces, but Belinda had a mind of her own. People had all kinds of thoughts about the kind of woman she was, and there were a lot of
...more
J.C. Pillard
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Are you a fan of eighteenth century novels by women exploring social and gender issues of the period? Then I highly recommend Edgeworth's wonderful Belinda . The title character is wonderfully practical, shining rationality into her own life and the lives of those around her as she journeys to London to spend the season with the social butterfly, Lady Delacour. As Belinda works to determine her own future path, she also helps Lady Delacour move towards a better future for herself.

Like many eigh
...more
Sam! at the bookstore
Jul 14, 2020 marked it as dnf
Recommends it for: lovers of 18th century fiction
NO RATING

Okay. At this point, I honestly just don't have the time or energy to finish this book. I'm looking forward to where it goes, and definitely want to continue reading it at some point, but at the moment I have way too much to read and don't want this just sitting on my currently reading shelf. The writing style is bothering me, and I actually wish I had an audiobook version to follow along to. Oh well, I'll just have to wait a while before I'm able to pick this back up again.
...more
Jane
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jane Austen wasn't the only one turning out great novels at the dawn of the 19th century.
Maria Edgeworth's Belinda is a treat - a twisty plot, some nasty bad hats, male and female,
a spoiled marriage renewed, a lost heiress - what more could you ask for? I particularly enjoyed the
dialogue of the two rakes - now I know where Georgette Heyer and her tribe of romance novelists stole their vocabulary.
...more
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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

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