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Cecilia [Kindle Edition]

Frances Burney
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Cecilia Beverely is a young woman who is set to inherit a fabulous fortune but there is a stipulation: she only receives the money if she marries a man who agrees to take her surname. While waiting to come of age and collect her inheritance Cecilia is put under the care of three guardians with their own agendas and encounters a series of suitors only interested in her money. A scathing satire of upper-class society in 18th century England, Cecilia is a funny, thoughtful book celebrated in its time and continuously read ever since even inspiring the works of Austen and Thackeray.

Product Description


'scholarly edition ... a welcome addition to the roster of available eighteenth-century texts ... Scholars will undoubtedly prefer this edition of Cecilia for its textual accuracy and will appreciate the help that the various appendices and the annotation will give to students' Elizabeth Brophy, College of New Rochelle, Eighteenth-Century Fiction

About the Author

Peter Sabor is Professor of English at Queen's University, Ontario. Margaret Anne Doody is Professor of English at Princeton.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2657 KB
  • Print Length: 325 pages
  • Publisher: Joe Books (29 Oct. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FDS98J8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #94,544 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Long, but worth the effort. 4 Aug. 1999
By A Customer
Extraordinarily long (over 900 pages) but gripping story of a girl who appears to have everything - wealth, beauty, brains and financial independence. Upon Cecilia's first arrival in London society the novel has a satirical tone, not inlike Jane Austen, but as the story progresses it becomes much darker and grimmer. Cecilia is exposed to the shallowness of her friends, the untrustworthiness of her guardians, the weakness of her lover, the snobbery of his relations and the decietful manipulation of the one man she thinks she can trust. The injustice and frustrations of her situation drive her to mental breakdown and her prized freedom turns out to be largely illusory. Well worth reading, and look out for her miserly but good-hearted and vivacious guardian, Mr Briggs.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An engaging and thought-provoking read 5 Nov. 2003
Despite its length, the dramatic tensions of the story are maintained very well all the way through, making this a very readable novel. The emotional and moral blackmail inflicted on the heroine by Mr Harrel throughout the first part of the book is especially good, and the almost unstable character of young Delvile makes for an uneasy romance.
The characterisation is clever (Lady Honoria Pemberton is a gem) and there are no straightforward good or bad characters, which is refreshing for an 18th century novel. The breakdown of Cecilia’s character at the end is particularly moving.
For anybody who enjoyed Evelina, this is a more thought-provoking read, and some of the themes are an obvious influence on Jane Austen’s works, particularly Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poor dear Cecilia! 10 Jan. 2014
By Didier TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Rarely have I felt as sorry for a fictional character as I have for Cecilia!

At the beginning of this wonderful novel, Cecilia seems to have everything going for her: she is young, intelligent, charming, good-looking, and to top it all of: as soon as she will come of age (which is at the beginning of the novel just a matter of months away), she will inherit a large fortune. There is however one condition: she cannot give up her name, should she marry and take her husband's name she loses her inheritance. To us this may appear at first to be a minor detail, but in the patriarchical society England then was, it will turn out to make all the difference. Until she will come of age Cecilia is placed under the care of three guardians, none of whom she has ever met: Mr. Harrel, married to a childhood friend of Cecilia, Mr. Delvile, and Mr. Briggs. So at the beginning of the novel Cecilia travels to London to stay with Mr. and Mrs. Harrel until she comes of age...

So where and how does it all go wrong for Cecilia? Well, there's nothing much I can say without this review turning into a spoiler so I can only urge you to find out for yourselves, and hope you'll enjoy this novel as much as I did. Admittedly, it's long (941 pages) but it's never boring or long-winded, with lively dialogues and captivating characters, with action ranging across all layers of society, and you'll find yourself rooting for Cecilia from the very start. At times this novel reminded me of Vanity Fair (Wordsworth Classics), with its depiction of how 'man is wolf to man', and it is definitely a very critical study of the high cost to women (even young and wealthy ones) of a patriarchical society. As one of the characters early one in the novel says to Cecilia: 'Poor simple victim! (...) knowest not that thou art destined for prey!'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too lengthy but still an alright read 29 Dec. 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book on the back of 'Evelina', which I enjoyed. In the introduction it says that Burney wanted to edit the book to make it less lengthy, but wasn't given the time to do so. This really shows throughout the book and I did find myself wishing that it would get to the point from time to time, which is a shame as otherwise it's quite a good read. The characters are as ridiculous and annoying as the authoress intended and the story is good, although I found the central 'difficulty' a bit weak to hang an entire storyline on and found the hero of the book rather cowardly, so only 3 stars this time.
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