#Classics club spin lands on Evelina
The latest Classics Club spin has landed on number 19.
That 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.
26 thoughts on “#Classics club spin lands on Evelina”
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.
Hope its more Austen than Heyer whom I’ve never really taken to…
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
I love this book, I have read it twice! I hope you enjoy it.
golly, well it must have been good. there are few books I re-read ….
Oh, that should be fun. Enjoy!
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.
I hope it has even a smidgeon of Austen’s skill…..
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 .
I havent found an 18th century one Ive enjoyed yet either. Tried Ann Radcliffe but had to give up on her….
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… 😀
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.
I’m not that hopeful I enjoy my selected book…
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!
Ooh I’ve read Evelina twice, and loved it. I found it much more readable than I expected. I hope you enjoy it.
That’s reassuring Ali. I’m looking at it and wondering why I put it on my list….
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.
Wow, better than P&P?? Now I shall have to read it…..
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.
Hopefully next time we have one of these spin things I get something a little more modern
Fingers crossed! 🙂
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!
I think my edition has an introduction which could be helpful…
Good luck! I sense you aren’t *entirely* convinced about reading this one… 😉
you guessed right!