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ENGL 200 Lecture 26 - Fanny Burney.docx

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McGill University
English (Arts)
ENGL 200
Wes Folkerth

Fanny Burney, From The Journal and Letters Introduction  Frances Burney, 1752-1840  She was born into an immensely talented family, father was musician and historian who wrote well received works on music history  Her early life exposed her to high society and she thus became adept at identifying and engaging high society, this ability to size people up made her quite an acute observer of human nature  Her mother died when she was 10  At 15, she begins to start keeping a journal Page 2811 To have some account of my thoughts, manners, acquaintance and actions, when the hour arrives in which time is more nimble than memory, is the reason which induces me to keep a journal: a journal in which I must confess my every thought, must open my whole heart! But a thing of this kind ought to be addressed to somebody - I must imagine myself to be talking - talking to the most intimate of friends - to one in whom I shall take delight in confiding, and remorse in concealment: but who must this friend be? - to make choice of one to whom I can but half rely, would be to frustrate entirely the intention of my plan. The only one I could wholly, totally confide in, lives in the same house with me, and not only never has, but never will, leave me one secret to tell her. To whom, then, must I dedicate my wonderful, surprising and interesting adventures? - to whom dare I reveal my private opinion of my nearest relations? the secret thoughts of my dearest friends? my own hopes, fears, reflections & dislikes? - Nobody! To Nobody, then, will I write my journal! since to Nobody can I be wholly unreserved - to Nobody can I reveal every thought, every wish of my heart, with the most unlimited confidence, the most unremitting sincerity to the end of my life!  Her first journal entry. She does this in order to remind herself and to remember things that happened to her in your youth  Therefore, she decides to write to nobody, and it enables her to write freely  We get a sense that a voice is important to her, even though she only writes it to her herself, even in her first instance of her writing  She is going to keep on writing these entries for the next 70 years  This is tremendously long  Because of how well she kept up with them, they are the most important source of knowledge of certain milieu in England in the 18th century.  This is of interest to literary scholars, and she writes on writers like Samuel Johnson, and he is known differently among men, and she offers a different kind of perspective  The way he acts towards her is different  She had published novels by the time she met him  His treatment of her is somewhat different from how he rubbed antlers with other people during that period  This is also an immensely important resource for the English monarchy  She reluctantly accepted a position at court o It was the queens second dresser o She was quite agitated by the prospect of having this job, because it would be an end of the life she had known since your life would change quite a bit  She does write about people there an her experiences in her milieu  We also have a gut wrenching recollection of her surgery for breast cancer, some kind of carcinoma, and she describes how doctors come in and cut her breast without any kind of drugs that alleviate pain, and it is the most griping thing ever  Her encounter with the king is weird, and it offers the generosity which she writes in, and it gives you a purview of the world of the monarchy Page 2819 What an adventure I had this morning! One that has occasioned me the se
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