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.
Membership in the Burney Society is available for $30 (U.S.) annually in the United States and Canada, and £15 (student membership), £20 (single membership), or £25 (couples living at the same address) annually in Great Britain. The dues year runs from June 13 to June 13, in honour of Frances Burney d'Arblay's birthday. Membership includes subscriptions to The Burney Letter, the semi-annual newsletter of the society, and The Burney Journal, the society's annual literary journal.
To request membership information, or to notify the society of a change in address:
The United States and Canada:
3621 - 9th ST Drive NE
Hickory, NC 28601
27 Wood Lane
The Hemlow Prize will be awarded to the best essay written by a graduate student (registered within the last year) on any aspect of the life or writings of Frances Burney or members of the Burney Family. The essay, which can be up to 6,000 words, should make a substantial contribution to Burney scholarship. The judges will take into consideration the essay's originality, coherence, use of source material, awareness of other work in the field, and documentation. The winning essay will be published in the Burney Journal and the recipient will receive an award of US $250, as well as a year's membership in the Burney Society.
The Hemlow Prize will be awarded in October 2014. Two copies of the essay (one appropriate for blind submission) should be sent, by email attachment, to the Chair of the Prize Committee, Dr. Laura Engel, firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Dr. Laura Engel, English Department, Duquesne University, 600 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15282. Submissions must be received by September 1, 2014.
[ Download Hemlow Prize poster (PDF) ]
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