Fanny Burney

Biography

(1752-1840)

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.

(Compiled by Joey Franklin)

See also

Essays by Fanny Burney

Curiosity regarding the author of Evelina

What strange ideas are taken from mere book-reading!

Evelina and the mystery attending its publication

I doubt not but this memorable affair will, in future times, mark the period whence chronologers will date the zenith of the polite arts in this island!

A learned man on Evelina

I almost panted with extreme agitation, from the dread either of hearing some horrible criticism, or of being betrayed: and I munched my biscuit as if I had not eaten for a fortnight.

Suggested husbands for Fanny Burney

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 by Patrick Madden
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