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  • Susan Stoderl

Maria Edgeworth & Louise Swanton Belloc | Collaborators on Children's Books & Stories


Edgeworth (1768—1849) wrote many children’s novels that conveyed moral lessons. One of her main collaborators was her friend Louise Swanton Belloc (1796-1881), a French writer, translator, and advocate for the education of women and children. Edgeworth and Belloc advocated for boys and girls to be educated equally and together. Although she never married, Edgeworth thought a woman should only marry someone who suited her in “character, temper, and understanding.” Being an old maid was preferable to a miserable marriage. Likewise, Swanton refused to follow her father’s choice for a husband and married the French painter Jean-Hilaire Belloc for love.

Swanton had a large circle of prominent friends besides Edgeworth. Among them were Charles Dickens, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Victor Hugo, Emile Souvestre, Stendhal, Mary Elizabeth Mohl, Barthélemy St. Hilaire and Lamartine.


Some of her most notable literary translations from English into French include Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford, four works by her personal friend Charles Dickens, Oliver Goldsmith‘s The Vicar of Wakefield, the works of Walter Scott, Thomas Moore’s Irish Melodies, the memoirs of Byron, and a great number of Edgeworth‘s works.


Swanton authored over forty books, including a life of Byron which was published with an introduction by Stendhal, and, in collaboration with Edgeworth, a series of early reading books for French children. Swanton’s translations of Edgeworth’s works contributed to her great popularity in France.


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