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Frances Burney's first and most enduringly popular novel is a vivid, satirical, and seductive account of the pleasures and dangers of fashionable life in late eighteenth-century London. As she describes her heroine's entry into society, womanhood and, inevitably, love, Burney exposes the vulnerability of female innocence in an image-conscious and often cruel world where social snobbery and sexual aggression are played out in the public arenas of pleasure-gardens, theatre visits, and balls. But Evelina's innocence also makes her a shrewd commentator on the excesses and absurdities of manners and social ambitions--as well as attracting the attention of the eminently eligible Lord Orville.
Evelina, comic and shrewd, is at once a guide to fashionable London, a satirical attack on the new consumerism, an investigation of women's position in the late eighteenth century, and a love story. The new introduction and full notes to this edition help make this richness all the more readily available to a modern reader.
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About the Author
Frances Burney (Fanny Burney) was a British novelist who wrote four novels, eight plays, and one biography in her lifetime, and left behind 20 volumes of journals and letters after her death. Self-educated, Burney began writing at the age of 10, and published her first novel, Evelina, anonymously in 1778. Burney followed Evelina's success with Cecilia, Camilla, and The Wanderer, all of which explored the lives of English aristocrats and the role of women in society. Burney's novels were enormously popular during her lifetime, inspiring both Jane Austen and William Makepeace Thackeray, and her journals are recognized for their uncommonly accurate and candid portrayal of 18th-century England. Burney died in Bath, England, in 1840.
John Gay (b. Barnstaple, Devon, 1685) was an English poet and playwright. Hugely successful in his own time, he is now best remembered for "The Beggar's Opera" (1928), a ballad opera satirizing the then Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole. "The Beggar's Opera", and its sequel "Polly", earned Gay fame, infamy and a healthy fortune. After his death at the age of47, he was buried in Westminster Abbey.