Ever aware of the sometimes comic, sometimes criminal blunderings of English high society, Frances Burney recreated what she witnessed in her novels, dramatized it in plays, and recorded it in her diary. She was born in King's Lynn, England, where under the tutelage and support of her father, she began writing extensively while still a child. She eventually published her first novel Evelina in 1778, but did so anonymously. The success of the novel made anonymity impossible though, and she became quite famous very quickly. She published three other novels, wrote eight plays, and kept an extensive diary for more than 70 years. Her diaries where published posthumously, beginning in 1841, and have become the centerpiece of her literary contributions. Her work was admired by notable literary figures like Samuel Johnson and Edmund Burke, and Jane Austen. Though not an essayist in the classical sense, her frank record of the world around her, including her relentless divulgence of her own inner thoughts, mirrors the candid confessions of Montaigne and others.
I'm always afraid of being caught reading, lest I should pass for being studious or affected, and therefore instead of making a display of books, I always try to hide them.
Patrick Madden's New Book
Quotidiana site founder Patrick Madden has just published a book of his own personal essays, including pieces formerly published in the Best American Spiritual Writing and Best Creative Nonfiction anthologies.
If you enjoy the classical essays on this site, you'll enjoy these contemporary ruminations as well. Soon there'll be a web page here with further information, but for now, you can find out more (and perhaps purchase a copy) at Amazon.com.
"Patrick Madden is an essayist of verve, passion, wit, and dependable moral compass. Quotidiana drew me in powerfully, from page to page and from pleasure to pleasure." —Ian Frazier
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Quotidiana is an online anthology of "classical" essays, from antiquity to the early twentieth century. All essays and images are in the public domain. Commentaries are copyrighted, but may be used with proper attribution. Special thanks to the BYU College of Humanities and English Department for funding, and to Joey Franklin and Lara Burton, for tireless research assisting.