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The Burney Society
History and Goals of the Burney Society
The Burney Society honours Frances Burney d'Arblay (1752-1840), a woman who recorded everything from Johnsonian wit to George III's fits, from Evelina's entrance into the world to Napoleon's last stand. Her acute observations about her family, friends, and 18th-century society show us how much, and how little, life and literature have changed in two centuries.
Her works played an essential role in the development of the novel and made writing women respectable. Her four novels--Evelina, Cecilia, Camilla, and The Wanderer--influenced and inspired a generation of writers, led by Jane Austen, who repaid her predecessor with a tribute in Northanger Abbey. Burney's father suppressed all but one of her plays in her lifetime, but since the plays were first published as a collection in 1995, her ability as a playwright can now be appreciated. As we read her novels and diaries, we find ourselves drawn into her life, which spanned five reigns. We understand her, suffer with her (her account of a mastectomy without anaesthesia made medical history) and rejoice with her. Her powers of expression and observation make it seem as if she herself has stepped off the page and into the present.
For all these reasons, The Burney Society was founded in New Orleans by Paula Stepankowsky, Lucy Magruder, and Dr. Jacqueline Reid-Walsh. Membership now numbers about 120 in Great Britain, the United States, Canada, and Australia. The purpose of the society is to promote the study and appreciation of Burney's works and of the life and times of her and her family.
NEW: The CFP for the Burney Society's 2016 Conference can be found here.
The Burney Society UK has a new website.
15 Rosehip Way
The Hemlow Prize will be awarded in October of every year. Two copies of the essay (one appropriate for blind submission) should be sent, by email attachment, to the Chair of the Prize Committee, Dr. Ann Campbell, anncampbell[at]boisestate[dot]edu, or by mail to Dr. Ann Campbell, English Department, Boise State University, 1910 University Drive, Boise ID, 83725-1525. Submissions must be received by September 1 of that competition year.
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