Cover image for Frances Burney : a literary life
Frances Burney : a literary life
Thaddeus, Janice Farrar, 1933-
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xi, 263 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.
Personal Subject:
Format :


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PR3316.A4 Z795 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Emphasizing Frances Burney's professionalism and her courage, Janice Farrar Thaddeus shows the protean writer who recognised her abilities and exercised them, always carefully shaping her career. Though now frequently depicted as retiring, even fearful, Burney forced on her reading public themes they were scarcely ready for, flamboyantly mixing genres, writing comically about intimate violence. Not content in old age to be merely a literary icon, she privately recorded with increasing clarity the moments when the world lacerates the self.

Author Notes

Janice Farrar Thaddeus is emerita Senior Lecturer and Director of Studies of History and Literature at Harvard University

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

This unique, scholarly collection of essays painstakingly examines the writing of Thoreau, comparing him with other environmental writers and stressing literary scholarship within environmental studies. In this lofty collection of essays edited by Schneider (English, Wartburg Coll.), critics and followers of Thoreau break apart his writing to investigate, word by word, the biocentric and anthropocentric nature of his works. The collection emphasizes four distinct themes on place: relating, imagining, socially constructing, and saving. It compares Thoreau!s writing to that of such other authors as Annie Dillard and Edward Abbey. Fascinating discourses compare the poetry of Wendell Berry as well as the paintings of the first generation of the Hudson River School of landscape painters. Recommended for academic libraries."Joyce Sparrow, Juvenile Welfare Board Lib., Pinellas Park, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Thaddeus (Harvard) has written a page-turner that puts into question predictions that literary biography might well be a moribund genre. Emerging as a struggling woman for whom reading, writing, and speaking did not come easily, Thaddeus's Burney yearns for sexual fulfillment as well as critical praise, and to some degree she achieves both (the author notes that Burney's husband, Alexandre d'Arblay, wrote a poem about a man and woman enjoying mutual masturbation). Thaddeus is particularly good at characterizing the vicissitudes of Burney's early career, romantic as well as professional, which culminated in her nearly dying of inanition as Second Keeper of the Robes in the court of George III. The author takes the risk of unpacking the critical layering of previous Burneys from earlier scholarly moments--usually a turn-off for nonacademic readers--and she does so without sacrificing narrative pace. As a result, Thaddeus's treatment, like Margaret Anne Doody's Frances Burney: The Life in the Works (CH, May'89), should go some way toward displacing that tiresome perpetual ingenue known as Fanny, who might just as well not have written anything after the excruciating, unlooked-for-success of Evelina and who has never been allowed to grow up. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. D. Landry; Wayne State University

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. viii
List of Abbreviationsp. x
Genealogical Tablep. xii
1 Writing as Compulsion and the Redefined Audience (1752-78)p. 1
2 Publishing Anonymously: the Early Diaries and the Intricacies of the Mask (1773-79)p. 18
3 Evelina: the 'Male' Author and her Boisterous Book (1778-79)p. 32
4 Open Authorship: The Witlings, Cecilia, and the Unruly Text (1779-84)p. 52
5 Sufferer, Tragedian, and Witness (1784-92)p. 91
6 Camilla and the Family (1792-1802)p. 109
7 Independence, Marriage, and Comedies without Fetters (1792-1802)p. 136
8 The Wanderer: Financial Success, Commercial Failure, and the Untamed Spirit (1802-28)p. 148
9 Memoirs of Doctor Burney: Circumscribing the Power (1814-40)p. 180
10 Fiction and Truth: All the Unpublished Wordsp. 203
Notesp. 225
Indexp. 255