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Alethea Hayter, 14 September 1989

Frances BurneyThe Life in the Works 
by Margaret Anne Doody.
Cambridge, 441 pp., £30, April 1989, 9780521362580
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... feminist for the cheerful little Augustan chatterbox’ which is the conventional picture of Fanny Burney. Stimulated to anger by past biographers who see Fanny Burney as sunny and shallow, ‘dear little Burney’, who class her with, but below, Jane Austen, who are ...


Brigid Brophy, 6 October 1983

Murasaki Shikibu: Her Diary and Poetic Memoirs, A Translation and Study 
by Richard Bowring.
Princeton, 290 pp., £21.70, August 1982, 0 691 06507 1
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by Fanny Burney.
Oxford, 421 pp., £2.50, April 1982, 0 19 281596 2
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The Journals and Letters of Fanny Burney 
edited by Peter Hughes and Warren Derry.
Oxford, 624 pp., £37.50, September 1980, 0 19 812507 0
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by Joanna Richardson.
Methuen, 276 pp., £12.95, June 1983, 0 413 48780 6
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Letters from Colette 
translated by Robert Phelps.
Virago, 214 pp., £7.95, March 1982, 0 86068 252 8
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... unfair tracks by the memory that in fact something very like Murasaki’s experience did happen to Fanny Burney. She was swept, as Second Keeper of the Robes, into the train of Queen Charlotte, George III’s wife, when she too was in her thirties and famous as the author of two bestsellers, Cecilia and her rumbustious, read-on first novel, Evelina, which ...

Female Heads

John Bayley, 27 October 1988

Woman to Woman: Female Friendship in Victorian Fiction 
by Tess Cosslett.
Harvester, 211 pp., £29.95, July 1988, 0 7108 1015 6
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Sentiment and Sociability: The Language of Feeling in the Eighteenth Century 
by John Mullan.
Oxford, 261 pp., £25, June 1988, 0 19 812865 7
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The Early Journals and Letters of Fanny Burney. Vol. I: 1768-1773 
edited by Lars Troide.
Oxford, 353 pp., £45, June 1988, 9780198125815
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... And it is ironic that Charlotte Brontë and George Eliot, themselves ignoring predecessors like Fanny Burney and Jane Austen, should have taken their feminine image from Richardson-Clarissa. As John Mullan shows in his useful and scholarly book, the early prestige of Richardson went underground, his ‘fairer and better sex’ taking on its vulgar ...


John Mullan: Fanny Burney, 23 August 2001

Fanny BurneyA Biography 
by Claire Harman.
Flamingo, 464 pp., £8.99, October 2001, 0 00 655036 3
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Fanny BurneyHer Life 
by Kate Chisholm.
Vintage, 347 pp., £7.99, June 1999, 0 09 959021 2
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Faithful Handmaid: Fanny Burney at the Court of King George III 
by Hester Davenport.
Sutton, 224 pp., £25, June 2000, 0 7509 1881 0
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... In March 1815, Madame d’Arblay, the woman we know better as Fanny Burney, was forced by the arrival of Napoleon from Elba to flee Paris and to leave behind almost all her possessions. ‘Books – Cloaths Trinkets – Linnen – argenterie Goods – MSS!!! All!’ When she reached Brussels, she wrote to her brother Charles: ‘Unless some speedy happy turn takes place, in public affairs here, we have lost all we possessed in France ...

Gentleman Jack from Halifax

Elizabeth Mavor, 4 February 1988

I know my own heart: The Diaries of Anne Lister, 1791-1840 
edited by Helena Whitbread.
Virago, 370 pp., £7.95, February 1988, 0 86068 840 2
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... age, but one in whose affectionate and uncritical company he felt more at peace than with anyone. Fanny Burney, who commenced a journal at the age of 15, gave as her reason that ‘when the hour arrives at which time is more nimble than memory’ she might have a record of her thoughts, manners, acquaintances and actions. It was to be a ...


Frank Kermode, 8 October 1992

Sacred Country 
by Rose Tremain.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 365 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 1 85619 118 4
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... book of life, or quite came up to the standard set, unless Jane Austen is way over the top, by Fanny Burney. It is generally assumed that these lofty claims have little relation to run-of-the-mill fictions of the kind that Booker judges have lately been ploughing through. And yet it can be argued that even in the present state of things the novel may ...

Too Many Pears

Thomas Keymer: Frances Burney, 27 August 2015

The Court Journals and Letters of Frances Burney 1786-91, Vols III-IV: 1788 
edited by Lorna Clark.
Oxford, 824 pp., £225, September 2014, 978 0 19 968814 2
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... When​ Frances Burney’s journals were published by her niece in a seven-volume series of highlights (Diary and Letters of Madame d’Arblay, 1842-46), they were savaged by John Wilson Croker in the Tory Quarterly Review. Hatchet jobs were Croker’s speciality: it was his review of Endymion that Byron joked was the cause of Keats’s death in Don Juan (‘’Tis strange the mind, that very fiery particle,/Should let itself be snuff’d out by an article ...

At the National Portrait Gallery

Peter Campbell: Thomas Lawrence, 6 January 2011

... merely the wonder of his family but of the times, for his astonishing skill in drawing’, Fanny Burney wrote. A detail from ‘Mary Hamilton, Later Mary Denham’ (1789) The drawings in the exhibition include one of Thomas Holcroft and William Godwin, as spectators at the trial of fellow radical John Thelwall, that shows every sign of being ...

At the V&A

Peter Campbell: Among the Artefacts, 13 December 2001

... to have such things as these is the visual equivalent of a paragraph from Pepys or Fanny Burney. Without the explanations they would be as pretty and intriguing, but much less amusing and interesting. Although the whole four hundred years from 1500 to 1900 are here, they are, more often than not, represented mainly by rich and highly ...

Leaf, Button, Dog

Susan Eilenberg: The Sins of Hester Thrale, 1 November 2001

According to Queeney 
by Beryl Bainbridge.
Little, Brown, 242 pp., £16.99, September 2001, 0 316 85867 6
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... to bewilder. It is easy enough to close the drawer. We have read Boswell’s anecdotes and Fanny Burney’s and Mrs Thrale’s. We know that, half-blind, hot-tempered, scrofulf-scarred and melancholic, Johnson laughed like a rhinoceros and talked like a whale, that he ‘had sometimes fits of reading very violent’, ‘like a Turk’, that ...

In Russell Square

Peter Campbell: Exploring Bloomsbury, 30 November 2006

... can indicate places which once were beside open country. The squares ate into that; the view Fanny Burney liked of the hills of Hampstead, seen across the fields through the open end of Queen Square, did not long survive her ...

Burnished and braced

Alethea Hayter, 12 July 1990

A Second Self: The Letters of Harriet Granville 1810-1845 
edited by Virginia Surtees.
Michael Russell, 320 pp., £14.95, April 1990, 0 85955 165 2
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... men and women of her day – from Lord Shaftesbury to Queen Caroline, and from Wellington to Fanny Kemble – but in describing them she excelled at the vivid vignette rather than the comprehensive landscape. She pins down Talleyrand at a Tuileries reception, ‘crawling past me last night like a lizard along the wall’. She pictures Lady Holland ...


Pat Rogers, 7 August 1986

Mothers of the Novel: One Hundred Good Women Writers before Jane Austen 
by Dale Spender.
Pandora, 357 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 86358 081 5
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Scribbling Sisters 
by Dale Spender and Lynne Spender.
Camden Press, 188 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 948491 00 0
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A Woman of No Character: An Autobiography of Mrs Manley 
by Fidelis Morgan.
Faber, 176 pp., £9.95, June 1986, 0 571 13934 5
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by Fanny Burney.
Virago, 919 pp., £6.95, May 1986, 0 86068 775 9
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Millenium Hall 
by Sarah Scott.
Virago, 207 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86068 780 5
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by Susan Ferrier.
Virago, 513 pp., £4.50, February 1986, 0 86068 765 1
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by Maria Edgeworth.
Pandora, 434 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 074 2
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by Mary Brunton.
Pandora, 437 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 9780863580840
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The Female Quixote: The Adventures of Arabella 
by Charlotte Lennox.
Pandora, 423 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 080 7
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... Richardson. Spender quotes a much deeper critic, Ellen Moers, to the effect that Austen studied Fanny Burney more attentively than she did Richardson: this is a half-truth at best, and abundant testimony exists to show that Grandison lay at the centre of Austen’s sense of the novel. For most readers Clarissa was central, and innumerable women in the ...

Mr Lion, Mr Cock and Mr Cat

Roger Lonsdale, 5 April 1990

A Form of Sound Words: The Religious Poetry of Christopher Smart 
by Harriet Guest.
Oxford, 293 pp., £35, October 1989, 0 19 811744 2
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... from the emotional intimacy dramatised in Young’s Night Thoughts. (The ‘Mr Fairly’ with whom Fanny Burney had what is for Guest a paradigmatic conversation about Young at Court in the 1780s was Col. Stephen Digby, the Queen’s Vice-Chamberlain.) It is a tribute to Guest’s powers of perceptive analysis that some less promising 18th-century writers ...

‘Cancer Girl’

Mary Beard, 6 July 1995

The Diary of a Breast 
by Elisa Segrave.
Faber, 287 pp., £9.99, April 1995, 0 571 17446 9
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... For sheer terror, one of the earliest precursors of this particular genre has never been beaten. Fanny Burney was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1810, and wrote a long account to her sister (only published years later), detailing her illness, treatment and recovery. She was operated on at home without anaesthetic, apparently fully conscious through ...

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