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Fanny Burney: Selected Letters and Journals (Edited by Joyce Hemlow)

Fanny Burney: Selected Letters and Journals
Edited by Joyce Hemlow
Oxford University Press, 1986

From the dustjacket:

Fanny Burney's life was a notably colourful and adventurous one; happily, it was also one which she recorded in detail in journals and in numerous letters to family and friends. These personal writings, like her novels, show her to be an acute observer of men and manners, sensitive, perceptive, and often humorous.

This selection, drawn from The Journals and Letters of Fanny Burney (Madame d'Arblay) 1791-1840, follows her career from her romantic marriage to the impoverished French émigré General d'Arblay to her death some forty-six years later. The idyllic happiness of their early married life in Surrey was disrupted in 1800 by political unease, travels to France, and the outbreak of wars that kept Fanny an exile in Paris for ten years and, later, a fugitive in Brussels for the months preceding the battle of Waterloo. With journalistic skill she set down her impressions of the personages she met and the events she witnessed or took part in: the flight of the royalists on Napoleon's return from Elba; her escape from France in an American ship that was seized in the Downs, the mastectomy she underwent, before the discovery of anaesthetics, at the hands of Napoleon's renowned army surgon, Baron Larrey; her daring journey through occuped France in 1815. In her more settled years in Bath and Mayfair, as 'the famous Madame d'Arblay', she continued to write with observation and esprit of all that came within her view.

The extracts are presented chronologically and, linked by brief editorial passages, they form a continuous narrative of a remarkable life.

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