To her contemporaries Burney was the author of Evelina and Cecilia, the most celebrated novelist of her generation: to posterity she became the diarist of dinner-party small-talk among London's literary set, but to a new generation of biographers, among whom Harman stands out as one of the most balanced and insightful, Fanny Burney is a great deal more than simply the "little character-monger" so beloved of Dr Johnson. --Mark Walker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
‘A superb, highly intelligent, readable study…if a biography can claim perfect pitch, this one can.’ Eileen Battersby, Irish Times
‘Excellent..unlikely to be bettered for years to come.’ Kathryn Hughes, New Statesman
‘This scholarly, judicious and entertaining book is all that a biography should be.’ Ian McIntyre, The Times
‘A great achievement.’ Andrew Marr, Observer
‘Excellent.’ Miranda Seymour, Sunday Times
‘A thoroughly entertaining as well as scholarly book.’ Allan Massie, Daily Telegraph
From the Back Cover
An authoritative, beautifully written biography of the first truly literary woman novelist in English, who exercised a profound influence on Jane Austen and whose own life, spanning the years 1752 to 1840, embraced the worlds of music, literature, politics, English Court life and the French Revolution.
On 13 June 1767, her fifteenth birthday, Fanny Burney decided her career as a writer was over, and made a bonfire of all her works in the yard of her father's house in Poland Street, London, 'with the sincere intention to extinguish for ever in their ashes her scribbling propensity.' Fanny Burney was genuinely worried that she might turn into an author, a fate incompatible – for a woman – with respectability.
Her hope was in vain. Not only was she to write four novels ('Evelina', 'Cecilia', 'Carnilla' and 'The Wanderer') all of which are still in print, but she also kept a voluminous diary for the next 70 years and was a prolific letter-writer. Daughter of the eminent music historian Dr. Charles Burney; editor of his famous 'Memoirs'; friend of Sheridan, Garrick, Burke, Boswell and Johnson; second keeper of the robes to George III's Queen Charlotte; wife to General d'Arblay, a French refugee aristocrat; detained for ten years in revolutionary France; victim of masectomy without anaesthetic…Fanny Burney's life was as eventful as any novel.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Claire Harman's first book, a biography of the novelist Sylvia Townsend Warner, was published by Chatto & Windus in 1989 and won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for 'a book of value from a writer of growing stature'. Her second, a life of Fanny Burney (2000), published by HarperCollins, was shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize. She has edited Warner's Collected Poems (1982) and Diaries (1994) as well as works by Robert Louis Stevenson, a new biography of whom she has just completed. Harman worked for the literary periodical PN Review in the 1980s and has taught at the universities of Manchester and Oxford. She has written for all the major British literary papers and currently teaches a course in creative writing at Columbia University's School of the Arts.