(New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1892). 206 x 140 mm. (8 1/8 x 5 1/2"). x, [ii], 331 pp.Edited by L. B. Seeley. Fourth Edition.
Very attractive contemporary dark blue three-quarter morocco by Tout (stamp-signed on verso of front free endpaper), raised bands, spine lavishly gilt in compartments with central oval medallion containing a floral spray, the medallion within a frame of entwined volutes, floral tools, and stippling, marbled boards and endpapers, top edge gilt, other edges untrimmed and LARGELY UNOPENED. With nine illustrations after Reynolds, Gainsborough, Copley, and West. Front pastedown with bookplate of William Eyres Sloan. A FINE COPY, the binding very bright and virtually unworn, and the obviously unread text especially clean and fresh.
Burney (1752-1840) achieved considerable literary success with her first two works, "Evelina" (1778) and "Cecilia" (1782), and after she became personally known to Johnson and his circle, she was the object of much vigorous praise from some of the most prominent literary and political personalities of her day. As DNB indicates, her novels are credited with influencing the course of English literature: she gave "the first impulse to the modern school of fiction which aims at a realistic portrait of society . . . . She was, in some degree, a model to the most successful novelists in the next generation," particularly Maria Edgeworth and Jane Austen, who took the title "Pride and Prejudice" from the last pages of "Cecilia" and who speaks with admiration of Burney in a remarkable passage in "Northanger Abbey." Today, however, her diary is considered more interesting than her novels; DNB opines that her descriptions of Johnson, Boswell, and Mrs. Thrale rival Boswell's own work. The excerpts here are framed by the amusingly condescending Mr. Seeley's commentary: after quoting Burney's account of a flirtatious conversation with Sheridan and Reynolds, he remarks, "Some readers may be tempted to think that, with all her coyness, she was enraptured by the pursuit of her admirers. This is only to say that she was a woman." (ST11462a-147)
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