18th Century Celebrities…Frances ‘Fanny’ Burney

27 Feb

Fanny Burney, daughter of Dr. Charles Burney, was born in 1752. From the time she was a small child, Fanny loved writing her own stories and had aspirations to become a published author. But Fanny lived in a time when a woman’s career was caring for her family, not expressing herself through words or even daring to publish said thoughts. The idea of female writers was outright scandalous which is why when Fanny was 15, she set fire to all of her manuscripts and stories (including a novel), due to strong ‘suggestions’ from her step-mother who thought writing a highly unladylike activity.

However, such a set-back did not stop Fanny from continuing to write and she finally published her first novel, Evelina in 1778. Burney was in her mid-twenties when the book was published. It was done so anonymously so that her family would not fall into disgrace for having a female writer among them.

The book became widely popular, especially when it was discovered that its author was indeed a woman. After Evelina, Burney went on to publish other books (Camilla, Cecilia, The Wanderer) and all were received with equal praise. Bureny paved the way for female writers and created lasting literature that is still enjoyable today.

I recently purchased the Kindle edition of her complete works which you can find here, and I find them extremely fun reads!


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