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Evelina by Fanny Burney

Evelina (original 1778; edition 1967)

by Fanny Burney, Lewis Gibbs

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1,639304,400 (3.78)1 / 171
Authors:Fanny Burney
Other authors:Lewis Gibbs
Info:Everyman's Library, No. 352
Collections:Your library, Everyman's Library
Tags:own, 2nd

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Evelina by Frances Burney (1778)


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English (29)  French (1)  All languages (30)
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
What a wonderful book! It was so well conceived from beginning to end. There was never a dull moment. Every turn added another new piece to the puzzle, another mystery or entanglement, but without any hint as to its final outcome. At no time previous have I found myself so intensely rooting for a heroine’s good fortune. Whether I did so in vain, I will not disclose here. I will share this, the ending concludes perfectly. Not because it is happy or sad, but because it was handled superbly. A novel’s finale often leaves me disappointed. So much thought is given to the first two-thirds, or more, of a novel and then…poof!...it is as if the author was too exhausted with all other efforts to attend properly to his or her ending. I was not disappointed with Evelina, such was the strength of Burney’s emotionally charged drama. Unquestionably brilliant!

http://biibliophilebeth.blogspot.com/ ( )
  BALE | Mar 8, 2015 |
Delightful, satirical, melodramatic, comical....all of these adjectives accurately describe Frances Burney's feminine 18th century coming of age tale. Our protagonist, the naive, pure Evelina enters the brash, hypocritical, backstabbing, and often dangerous society world after a very sheltered childhood. The plot unfolds via correspondence between characters and moves rapidly between settings, plot twists, appalling behavior and satirical commentary of the social mores of the time. Wonderful read. It's one of those during which 400 pages fly by! ( )
  hemlokgang | Feb 24, 2015 |
I rated this a solid "B" after I read it. Now, less than 2 years later, I cannot recall a single thing about it. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
Evelina does not wear well with time, unlike Austen heroines. In fact, Evelina herself is very wearing. She is prone to tongue-tied shyness (which comes across as vapidity); she is utterly dependent on others for her opinions (Elizabeth Bennett would kick her to the curb); she prefers to faint, blush, weep, and vacillate between humiliating embarrassment and embarrassing humiliation than assert herself or withstand an importunity (Emma would wash her hands of her).

What possessed Ms Burney to ever try to make a heroine out of such unheroic material, I don't know. How she contrives to get (or if she ever does get) Evelina, the perpetual ingenue into competent adulthood I don't know either, because I'm 70% through the book and am feeling the feelings that Elizabeth and Emma would feel.

I am not surprised that the world of literature did little note nor long remember Evelina's entrance into it when the likes of Elizabeth and Emma made their respective entrances. ( )
1 vote Limelite | Jun 28, 2014 |
I'll admit that reading 18th century fiction is sometimes harder than I'd like it to be. The authors either don't know, or just don't abide by, the rules of fiction that we're all used to. But more and more often I'm struck instead by the sheer joy and verve that animates 18th century novels, and that often seems to have gone missing in the twentieth century--and, obviously, this very much the case with Evelina. There's not a whole lot of unity to the tale, and there are plenty of scenes that Burney includes for no reason other than that they're funny and or mortifying (e.g., random monkey attack towards the end of the novel. No, really.) But it turns out that the funniness, sentiment and mortification of these scenes is more than enough justification. Burney is funnier than Fielding, more touching than Richardson, and a better writer than everyone but Swift at his best--and this is her first novel. I'm looking forward to the others. If you're really into Austen, and can handle some rougher edges and a more satirical narrator, this is a great book for you: Evelina herself is the Great English Heroine a few years after Clarissa, and a few years before Lizzie Bennett.

The most interesting part of this book, though, is the way Burney plays with the modes of eighteenth century fiction: she gives us satire, sentiment, farce, social commentary, bawdy wit, and sententious BS in almost equal doses. And most impressively of all, you can sense that Burney is in total control of all of them, recognizes that each mode lines up well with a way of life as much as with a literary fashion (sometimes this is made obvious in the novel, as Mrs Selwyn stands for satire and Villars stands for sententiousness), and is willing to give each a say--before, ultimately, coming down on the side of Selwyn's satire and Evelina's proto-LizBennettian irony (which itself develops throughout the book rather than being, as in Austen, constant from the start of P&P). She wields a kind of authorial control that very few twentieth century anglophone authors can (Anthony Powell, William Gaddis, J. G. Farrell and Muriel Spark come to mind as possible comparisons).

PS: this edition is great, too--lovingly and helpfully annotated and introduced. ( )
1 vote stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Frances Burneyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bloom, Edward A.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Doody, Margaret AnnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Doody, Margaret AnneEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, VivienIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nickolls, JosephCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomson, HughIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Can anything, my good Sir, be more painful to a friendly mind, than a necessity of communicating disagreeable intelligence?
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0192840312, Paperback)

Frances Burney's first and most enduringly popular novel is a vivid, satirical, and seductive account of the pleasures and dangers of fashionable life in late eighteenth-century London. As she describes her heroine's entry into society, womanhood and, inevitably, love, Burney exposes the vulnerability of female innocence in an image-conscious and often cruel world where social snobbery and sexual aggression are played out in the public arenas of pleasure-gardens, theatre visits, and balls. But Evelina's innocence also makes her a shrewd commentator on the excesses and absurdities of manners and social ambitions--as well as attracting the attention of the eminently eligible Lord Orville.

Evelina, comic and shrewd, is at once a guide to fashionable London, a satirical attack on the new consumerism, an investigation of women's position in the late eighteenth century, and a love story. The new introduction and full notes to this edition help make this richness all the more readily available to a modern reader.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:14 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

This is the story of a young woman's education in the ways of the world in 18th century England. Commentary, notes and a reading group guide is included.

(summary from another edition)

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Average: (3.78)
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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140433473, 0141198869

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