A diary, and a collection of observational essays which follows her life as an authoress, as a member of the Court, and as an intimate of the eighteenth century literati. There are interesting accounts of frequent meetings with Samuel Johnson, Goldsmith, Joshua Reynolds, and many others. Contemporaries were always deeply impressed with the maturity and depth of her novels, for one so young. By the way, Evelina and her other novels are excellent reads, still. The book is worth buying solely for her description of a mastectomy, performed with no anaesthetic- a portrayal which leaves the reader shaking, and apalled, and also grateful for 21st. Century medicine. One would have thought that womens' lib would be interested in such a staggeringly intelligent and interesting author, but alas, she holds ultra conservative views on the family, and social and political problems of the age. This has disqualified her as a literary heroine to PC academia.
She gives such an interesting picture of life in her times, which included the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. She was in Brussels at the time of the Battle of Waterloo. HER DESCRIPTION OF THE EXCITEMENT AND THE ATMOSPHERE OF Brussels on the Eve of Waterloo has remained with me since I first read it, when I was 14 years old.
I thoroughly enjoyed these letters and journal entries. Fanny was undoubtedly a snob who sought out the good and the great. She was sometimes quite critical of these demigods but seems to have kept such comments for her diary or the letters to her sister lest they affect her social acceptance.
You'll will certainly not find much here about early feminism but you will find a woman of spirit and charm and she moved in the very best circles in 18th century London, meeting and often befriending almost every significant author, playwright, painter, musician, actor, thinker and politician you can think of who was active in that dawn of the modern world. She also had great courage, coping with the long time she was stranded in revolutionary France and enduring a dreadfully painful mastectomy.
Certainly read this to learn about Fanny herself , but also to discover the private characters of all those 18th century literati.