By Frances Burney
Edited by Margaret Doody, Robert Mack, and Peter Sabor
Oxford World's Classics, 1991
From the back-cover:
The Wanderer; or, Female Difficulties is set in England during the period of the French Revolution. The story exhibits the ordeal of a penniless émigrée escaping from the France of the guillotine and the Terror, and trying to earn her living while guarding her own secrets. Burney's tough comedy offers a satiric view of the complacent insularity of English middle-class society; she follows Godwin's and Wollstonecraft's examination of English social structure in showing her heroine's progress through a social cross-section of working life. The heroine's first disguise as a black woman suggests the racial conflicts within the French and English empires. The problems of the new feminism and of the old anti-feminism are aired, especially in the relationship between the émigrée heroine and her English patroness and rival, the Wollstonecraftian Elinor Joddrel. Burney transforms motifs suggested by the Gothic novel of Radcliffe and by the newly emerging historical novel to create her own extraordinary final work of fiction.
The Wanderer is here presented fully annotated, with appendices dealing with the French Revolution in the novel, Race Relations, Amusements, and Geography. This edition, with an Introduction by Margaret Anne Doody setting the novel in the context of Burney's career, also includes a previously unpublished manuscript revealing the relationship between Camilla and The Wanderer.
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