#Classics club spin lands on Evelina

The latest Classics Club spin has landed on number 19.

EvelinaThat number on my spin list is allocated to one of the oldest books on my original Classics Club list: Evelina by Frances Burney. Strictly speaking the book is called Evelina, or the History of a Young Lady’s Entrance into the World. 

It was first published as a three volume novel in 1778 but Burney’s authorship became known.

Told in epistolary style, it traces the experiences of an unacknowledged but legitimate daughter of a dissipated English aristocrat who lives a secluded life in the countryside until she is seventeen.  She gets her guardian’s consent to visit London for a holiday, an adventure which opens her eyes to the perils and pitfalls of  18th-century society. The novel  is a satire on Georgian society.

I included it on my Classics Club because it’s been described as a significant precursor to the work of Jane Austen and Maria Edgeworth and deals with some of the same issues.  It’s the first – and the best known – of Burney’s published novels.

I’ve found an interesting article by Chloe Wigston Smith on the British Library website which casts light on Burney herself and the origin of the novel. Interesting to discover that she was very anxious to keep her identity a secret because she was worried about the public reaction. She didn’t even tell her father until six months after the novel was issued and she’d received positive reviews.

I was rather hoping to have landed a more recent novel from my spin list since my last venture into eighteenth century literature (via The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith) wasn’t a great success. I hope this one proves more enjoyable.

About BookerTalk

What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

Posted on April 22, 2019, in British authors, Classics and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. I read and reviewed Evelina last year and enjoyed it – somewhere between Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer (and I’m fans of both), ie. a bit more melodrama than JA, and very illustrative of London life at the end of the C18th and especially explicit about the perils for young ladies.

  2. I am considering putting Vicar of Wakefield on my next Classics Club list. Maybe not?

    • It depends if you like eighteenth century fiction I suppose…. It has some good points and is relatively short so maybe give it a go and decide yourself

  3. I love this book, I have read it twice! I hope you enjoy it.

  4. Oh, that should be fun. Enjoy!

  5. I hope this proves less onerous than you suspect. It’s not a book I’ve ever considered reading but as a precursor to Austen I might have to give it some thought.

  6. I’m not a fan of eighteenth century literature, either, maybe because I know very little about that period in history or the arts. Perhaps I should educate myself .

  7. Don’t know anything about this one, but I hope it turns out to be a good reading experience for you! I got Nevil Shute’s On the Beach which I’m looking forward to… 😀

  8. You are the second blogger I am checking out today for what your Spin number gave you. Such mixed reviews in the comments! I hope it is a good read for you.

  9. This is not a book I’ve ever really considered reading as I’m not a huge fan of 18th century literature either. I have read some very positive reviews of it, though, so hopefully you’ll enjoy it more than The Vicar of Wakefield!

  10. Ooh I’ve read Evelina twice, and loved it. I found it much more readable than I expected. I hope you enjoy it.

  11. Hi, Karen!
    I have to say that I read this book for the first time 3 months ago, and I loved it! It is funny, witty, and I found it more enjoyable than Pride and prejudice (I guess I’ll gain some enemies with this statment, haha!). AND you’ll see that lord Orville is far more better than Mr. Darcy.

  12. Karen, I am sorry you didn’t get a more recent classic off your list – I really hope you enjoy this one more than The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith.

  13. I read this for an 18th century British literature course in college. It has some points to recommend it, but I’ve always struggled with reading that era of literature. I think if you can find a good reading guide it might help, I got more out of it being able to discuss it in class. Interested in hearing your thoughts on it and seeing if I remember anything about it!

  14. Good luck! I sense you aren’t *entirely* convinced about reading this one… 😉

We're all friends here. Come and join the conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: