Rhetorical analysis of Frances Burney's Evelina and select journal entries

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1992
Authors
Walter, Kerry
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Abstract

The first issue discussed in Burney scholarship--and dealt with in this work--has to do with her importance as a novelist and as a diarist. Margaret Arme !body notes in her Frances Burney: The Life in the Works that Burney's fame (in the twentieth century) has been "to a large extent that not of a novelist but of a diarist" ( 1). The novels, often similar in style 'and content to the journals, have been treated as less important or less impressive than the journals. !body writes the biography partly as a way of counteracting "the popularity of the diary material" ( 2) • "A reading of her novels as if they were diaries (rather than vice versa) is fundamentally mistaken. Burney's remarks have long suffered from a lack of literary reading. The novels simply need to be read as if they mattered, and as if they were novels" (3). Thus, a major issue in Burney scholarship appears: the exact relationship between the journals and novels and, by extension, the literary importance of each.

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