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«A thesis submitted to McGill University in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. © Hilary Havens 2012 Table ...»

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“Reflection and Revision in the Novels of Frances Burney”

Hilary Havens

Department of English

McGill University, Montreal

August 2012

A thesis submitted to McGill University in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the

degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

© Hilary Havens 2012

Table of Contents







Chapter 1 – Evelina: Reflections on “faultless Monsters” and Faulty Mentors


Chapter 2 – Cecilia: From “unhuman happiness” to “chearfullest resignation” 62 Chapter 3 – Camilla: Revising the “prose Epic” 94 Chapter 4 – The Wanderer: Reviews and Revisions 143 Chapter 5 – Caleb Williams and Persuasion: Revised Endings and Dangerous Reflections 179 Afterword: Beyond Burney 212 Appendix: Frances Burney’s Novel Manuscripts, Proofs, and Later Revisions and their Locations 215 Bibliography 216 1 Abstract “Reflection and Revision in the Novels of Frances Burney” constitutes the only comprehensive portrait of this major author as novelist at work (active 1778-1832), incorporating analysis of her revisions in manuscripts, proofs, and subsequent editions.

Burney’s Evelina, Cecilia, and Camilla are among a very small number of eighteenth- century novels with surviving manuscript drafts. The term “revision” is thus essential for my study, and I use it to describe Burney’s process of composition, which is closely connected to the other key term in my study, “reflection.” Reflection, a reflexive act often synonymous with self-awareness, is an important characteristic of the novel of development, or Bildungsroman, and Burney is mindful of the term’s philosophical roots.

In chapters devoted to each of Burney’s four novels, I trace the tropes of revision and reflection, which often indicate the necessary process of repentance and reform that Burney’s heroines must undergo before the end of her novels. Burney’s eponymous heroines are transformed between the different editions of her novels: Evelina becomes slightly more mature; Cecilia loses some of her hasty sarcasm; Camilla, remarkably, becomes more thoughtful; and Burney’s mysterious heroine from The Wanderer becomes less secretive. The final chapter of my dissertation goes beyond Burney to discuss the drafts and later editions of William Godwin’s Caleb Williams and Jane Austen’s Persuasion, as my archival and contextual work on Burney’s novels opens up a new interpretive framework through which late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century novelists with surviving manuscripts, proof drafts, and published revisions can be understood.

–  –  –

« Réflexion et révision dans les romans de Frances Burney » constitue le seul tableau complet de cette importante auteure (productive de 1778 à 1832). Je présente une analyse de ses révisions dans les manuscrits, les épreuves, et les éditions subséquentes.

Ses romans, Evelina, Cecilia, et Camilla, sont parmi un très petit nombre de romans du dix-huitième siècle dont le manuscrit existe encore. Le mot « révision » est donc essentiel pour mon étude, et je l’utilise pour décrire le processus d’écriture de Burney.

Ce mot est étroitement associé avec l’autre mot important de mon étude, soit « réflexion. » Réflexion, défini comme étant un acte réfléchi, est souvent synonyme de connaissance de soi. C’est une importante caractéristique du roman de formation ou Bildungsroman. Burney est attentive aux origines philosophiques de ce mot. Dans les chapitres consacrés à chacun des romans de Burney, je poursuis les thèmes de révision et de réflexion, qui indiquent souvent le processus de repentance et de réforme suivi par les héroïnes de Burney avant la conclusion du roman. Les héroïnes éponymes sont transformées au cours des différentes éditions de ses romans : Evelina devient plus mûre;

Cecilia perd de son sarcasme précipité; Camilla, remarquablement, devient plus pensive;

et l’héroïne mystérieuse de The Wanderer devient moins secrète. Le dernier chapitre de ma thèse va au-delà de Burney pour discuter des manuscrits et des éditions de Caleb Williams, par William Godwin, et de Persuasion, par Jane Austen. Ma technique d’analyse des romans de Burney, qui incorpore des recherches documentaires au contexte littéraire, ouvre une nouvelle base interprétative qui permet une meilleure compréhension des romanciers des dix-huitième et dix-neuvième siècles dont les manuscrits, épreuves et éditions révisées existent encore.

–  –  –

My dissertation has been a project in the making ever since I took Lynn Festa’s “Women in the Novel to Jane Austen” class in the fall of 2004. James Engell and Eric Idsvoog from Harvard University and Freya Johnston from Oxford University have been excellent mentors in my early studies of Burney and the eighteenth century.

I refer to a large amount of archival material in my dissertation, and I am indebted to a number of librarians and libraries across the world for their aid in finding materials.

The special collections and manuscripts librarians at the British Library and the Houghton Library have been very helpful. I’d like to acknowledge in particular Anne Garner, Stephen Crook, and Rebecca Filner, who were nothing but kind and generous during my many visits to the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library.

I would like to thank the librarians at McGill University, especially Ann-Marie Holland in the rare books department and the whole Interlibrary Loans staff. I’d also like to extend a special thanks to Allan Hepburn, for coming to the rescue with the only identified Canadian copy of a little-known, but important article.

McGill University has been a wonderful place to study eighteenth-century British literature and Frances Burney. I have been fortunate to belong to the English department, home to some of the nicest and brightest professors, graduate students, and undergraduates in the world. I am fortunate, as well, to have had a work space in the Burney Centre, located in the McLennan Library.

I have nothing but gratitude for my colleagues at the Burney Centre over the past four years: Elaine Bander, Laura Cameron, Stefanie Cardarelli, Noelle Gallagher, Katie Gemmill, Joanne Holland, Anna Lewton-Brain, Holly Luhning, Sarah Skoronski, and

–  –  –

neighbor, who is always on hand to answer questions about Burney’s life and share pleasant conversation. This is one of the best places in the world to study the eighteenth century.

I am also indebted to various conversations I have shared with other Burneyites, including Elaine Bander, Louise Curran, Jan Fergus, Marilyn Francus, Fiona Ritchie, Betty Schellenberg, and members and participants at the Burney Society conferences and ASECS Burney panels.

Two of my committee members, David Hensley and Tom Mole, generously read and commented on sections of my dissertation shortly before initial submission. My great friend and colleague, Sarah Skoronski, read a couple of my chapters as well and provided invaluable feedback. I’d also like to thank Emily Carson for answering some small philosophical queries. My committee, composed of Professors Hensley, Mole, Carson, Ned Schantz, and especially Jane Spencer from the University of Exeter, provided invaluable suggestions for revisions.

Je veux remercier mon équipe de traducteurs formidables, Marie Legroulx, ma belle-mère Camille Marcotte et André Marcotte.

Above all, I am grateful to my supervisor Peter Sabor for his generosity and patience over the past four years. Little did he suspect that his answer to an email of 30 September 2005 from a young, keen American undergraduate would lead to so much work. He has fearlessly guided me through the dissertation process and continually pushes me to improve and polish my writing. I could not have had a better supervisor, mentor, and friend.

–  –  –

I’d like to thank the “ladies who brunch” – Emily Essert, Karen Oberer, Jennifer Pangman, and Sarah Skoronski – for the many pleasant Sunday afternoons I’ve spent in their company while at McGill.

I’ve had tremendous love and support from Joe and Lanie Havens, the “authors of my being,” and my two brilliant sisters, Jackie and Steffi, who have been brave enough to read both Evelina and Cecilia. Thanks are due as well to the wonderful aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents of the Havens and Kulczycki families.

In particular, I’d like to thank my fiancé, André Marcotte, who has now learned more about the eighteenth-century than he has ever wanted to know, though I haven’t sold him yet on Burney and Evelina. He is the most kind and loving partner a gal could have, and I am thankful to have him in my life.

Lastly, I would like to dedicate this to the memory of my grandfather Anthony Kulczycki, who passed away earlier this month. He was an intrepid WWII bombardier, a brilliant engineer, and one of the first firm believers in the importance of women’s education. Were it not for his support, I would not have been able to go to McGill for graduate school. это для тебя, дед – я тебя люблю.

–  –  –

I first discovered Frances Burney in 2004, during my sophomore year of college.

I remember my instant admiration for her witty first novel Evelina (1778); my astonishment, that such a talented author could remain obscure, was even stronger.

Burney has never been obscure to literary scholars, who, for some time, have considered her to be one of the most important novelists of the eighteenth century. 1 Her novels, which bridge the gap between the work of Samuel Richardson and Jane Austen, feature characters of remarkable psychological depth. Burney’s prose is by turns elegant and satiric, and she pioneers virtuosic prose techniques, such as idiolect and free-indirect discourse. Her first two novels, Evelina and Cecilia (1782), were frequently reprinted, translated, and adapted. Burney published her third novel, Camilla (1796), by subscription, and it was generally well regarded, though not as enthusiastically received as her first two novels. Her final novel, The Wanderer (1814), was published to great expectations, but negative reviews deterred many readers, until its recovery by feminist scholarship late in the twentieth century. 2 Burney’s novels attracted more imitators than any others in the later decades of the eighteenth century, 3 and her work was admired by 1 She is one of only six eighteenth-century novelists to receive a discrete entry in the recent Oxford Bibliographies Online series. The others are Daniel Defoe, Henry Fielding, Samuel Johnson, Samuel Richardson, and Laurence Sterne.

2 See St Clair 584-85.

3 James Raven notes, in his introduction to the first volume of the seminal The English Novel 1770-1829, A still more remarkable feature of the following listings is the rediscovery of a flock of imitators of Frances Burney. Harcourt: A Sentimental Novel (1780: 3) was falsely claimed to be ‘by the authoress of Evelina’. The Critical’s reviewer identified Oswald Castle (1788: 25) as ‘a production of the Cecilia school’. Other Burneyana for the season included Anne Hughes’s Henry and Isabella (1788: 59) and Anna Maria Mackenzie’s Retribution (1788: 63). A year later, the anonymous Self-Tormentor (1789: 26) was marked out as of the Burney-school 7 many famous writers of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, including Samuel Johnson and Jane Austen.

In addition to her novels, Burney is known for her dramatic writing and her journals and letters. Since 1972, a large editorial project devoted to publishing a complete edition of her journals and letters has been underway. In 1995, Pickering & Chatto published an annotated critical edition of her eight plays, which have been the subject of several recent articles and a monograph by Barbara Darby. My concern is exclusively with Burney as a novelist. Current critical energy on Burney’s novels has been very specialized, as evidenced by the two newest monographs, Francesca Saggini’s Backstage in the Novel: Frances Burney and the Theater Arts (2012) and Catherine M.

Parisian’s Frances Burney’s Cecilia: A Publishing History (2012). Saggini exclusively focuses on theatrical elements within Burney’s prose. With chapters on Evelina, The Witlings, Cecilia, and The Wanderer, she covers only some of Burney’s novels and plays, though she provides a valuable appendix on the actors and the theatrical and musical performances mentioned in Burney’s writings between 1768 and 1804. Parisian’s illustrated book on the publishing history of Cecilia surveys fifty-three editions and translations of Burney’s second novel from 1782 to the present. Erudite and revelatory concerning reader reception and print history, Parisian’s work nonetheless has a very narrow focus. While both of their studies are useful, neither Saggini nor Parisian provides a comprehensive approach to Burney as a novelist.

and in Darnley Vale (1789: 34) even Mrs Bonhote, according to her Critical reviewer, ‘steps too nearly in the steps of Cecilia’. The wanderings of Anna Maria Mackenzie’s Calista (1789: 53) were compared to Cecilia, and the anonymous Matilda Fitz-Aubin (1792: 20) was said to resemble both Burney and Charlotte Smith. (Raven 34-35) 8 Enduring critical work on Burney’s novels was written from the mid-1980s, long before I first read Evelina. Kristina Straub’s Divided Fictions: Fanny Burney and Feminine Strategy (1987), Julia Epstein’s The Iron Pen: Frances Burney and the Politics of Women’s Writing (1989), and Margaret Anne Doody’s Frances Burney: The Life in the Works (1988) are the three prominent studies, all heavily influenced by feminism.

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