Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
Dr. Elisabeth R. Gruner
This year was ushered in by a grand and most important event,—for at the latter end of January, the literary world was favoured with the first publication of the ingenious, learned, and most profound Fanny Burney!—I doubt not but this memorable affair will, in future times, mark the period whence chronologers will date the zenith of the polite arts in this island! This admirable authoress has named her most elaborate performance “EVELINA, OR A YOUNG LADY’S ENTRANCE INTO THE WORLD.” (Ellis 212)
When 1778 dawned, twenty-five-year-old Frances Burney was not the egotist this pronouncement in her diary might suggest. She was nervous. Burney was a timid, prudish young woman who was concerned with her reputation and propriety. Though not even the publisher of Evelina knew her identity, she trembled, overcome by anxiety: Would the public know it was she who dared such an undertaking? Would they laugh? Scold? Would it be savored and applauded, or would it fall into ignominy, become three volumes of discarded ephemera? And what would the father she idolized say of his daughter’s secret venture?
Taylor, Brittany, "Of horror and humor : the transformation of the grotesque into the gothic in the novels of Frances Burney" (2010). Honors Theses. 171.