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Evelina (1778)

por Frances Burney

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2,510396,011 (3.74)2 / 273
Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

Evelina is the daughter of an English aristocrat, but is brought up in the country until her seventeenth birthday, because she is of dubious birth and unacknowledged. Once out in London and Bristol-Hotwells, Evelina learns through a series of humorous events how to navigate society, and a nobleman falls in love with her. This sentimental novel with its satirical remarks on society significantly influenced later, similar works, such as those by Jane Austen.

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Mostrando 1-5 de 39 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Read for a Romantic Women's Writers graduate seminar. While some of the satire is beyond me, I found this to be an entirely joyful read. Never a dull moment in the life of Evelina - and though a reader might mistake this for another cautionary tale of a young lady in the late 18th century, it is anything but. Give it a go, my lovelies! I don't think you'll be at all disappointed! ( )
  BreePye | Oct 6, 2023 |
I did not love Evelina as much the third time around. Also, it's been a number of years since I read it, and I think my tastes and level of tolerance has changed a little. This is a really, really long book, and though I enjoyed the last section, where Evelina and Lord Orville (who is honestly a little too idealized) actually get a chance at figuring each other out, my patience ran thin for all of the horrible people Evelina has to hang out with. The main thing I came away with was pity for the helplessness of young women back in the day. And even though Evelina is a person of sense and good judgment, she has to hide it most of the time in order to be polite. I'm not saying we don't do something similar nowadays, but the language of excessive decorum got a little tiring. And then it swung to the other extreme of spending way too much time on scenes where vulgar people are making mischief. There was hardly anybody ever talking sense. Even Evelina's guardian, who is supposed to be the ultimate voice of reason, mostly just talks about how he is looking forward to dying in her arms. I have to wonder, was all this kind of thing common in letter-writing and speech of the day? Or is it an exaggerated reality that people were supposed to aspire to?
As a reader, I always felt like Evelina was a bit of an enigma to me, in spite of the fact that nearly all of the hundreds of letters were written by her. I think it's because, though she is describing what happens to her in society, one gets the sense that she never really participates in it. Mostly she just watches and then feels appropriately disturbed or contented. No doubt she was seen as a paragon of womanly virtue at the time of publication, but it's hard to read without feeling the injustice of it.
It is interesting to view this as a prototype of women's literature. Jane Austen's novels, which came a few decades later, show society as still a mix of posh and crass, but with more of an insistence that there is a middle ground, and her heroines, while still polite, are less afraid to express their thoughts in conversation. She has also nicely pared down her dialogue and descriptions, so that they are not nearly as high-flown as Mrs. Burney's. ( )
  Alishadt | Feb 25, 2023 |
A novel of letters with its bits of humor, sensitivity of relationships, and a bit of satire of the manners of both the privileged and the lower classes. ( )
  snash | Dec 12, 2022 |
A delightful read! A mix of Wilde's humor, Austen's perception, and Collins' intrigue. Even in those moments where I suspected exactly where the story was going, I felt so much pleasure in watching it unfold that it was not a moment's concern.

Poor Evelina, thrust upon the world without any armor but her good character to save her from the assaults of unscrupulous men, wanton women, ignorant relations and downright cruel associates, plods her way through the maze with a grace that makes you laugh when you ought to cry. Her innocence causes her to make some remarkably bad choices, but it could not be more obvious that she will need to trust to it for her deliverance. Even the well-intended in this story fall short of offering the assistance Evelina needs to navigate this world of pot-holes.

It is said that Burney was an influence on Austen, and I can certainly see that she was. Her character development and story line puts you in mind of Miss Jane right away. During some of the bantering between characters, I caught glimpses of that sharp humor that is so typical of Oscar Wilde and makes his plays such a joy. Example: "O pray, Captain," cried Mrs. Selwyn, "don't be angry with the gentleman for thinking, whatever be the cause, for I assure you he makes no common practice of offending in that way." Zing! She paints her buffoons and her true gentlemen with a broad brush, and she gives us every degree of coarseness and gentility side-by-side.

I find nothing to complain of in Ms. Burney's writing or style. My only disclaimer would be that it is very 19th Century (which I love), but if you are aggrieved by the state of a woman's lot during that time, you will find this frustrating. I kept wanting to advise Evelina myself to take the next carriage heading in the opposite direction! I give this a 4.5, only because I am very stingy with 5-star awards. Read it. You will be glad. ( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
In all candor, it's been a while since I was "swept off my feet" by a fictional character. The last one was probably Freddy from Georgette Heyer's Cotillion. But Orville, like some prehistoric Darcy, did just that. And, indeed, if he had been matched with someone his equal, this would have been less of a hidden classic. But, alas!, Evelina faints, bursts into tears, and (spoilers) lacks a sense of humor. In fact, if the tears she shed were real you could probably drown in them. So dull witted was she, that I didn't get the jokes... until the marvelous Mrs. Selwyn shows up.

Similarly, certain areas of the plot feel contrived. She goes to London with Mrs. Duval to meet her father... but then he isn't even mentioned again until the last 10 or so letters? Seems fishy to me.

But Orville! Read it for him. And be glad that Jane Austen (apparently) got inspiration from Fanny. ( )
1 vote OutOfTheBestBooks | Sep 24, 2021 |
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» Adicionar outros autores (24 possíveis)

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Frances Burneyautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Bloom, Edward A.Editorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Doody, Margaret AnnIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Doody, Margaret AnneEditorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Gibbs, LewisIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Jones, VivienIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Nickolls, JosephArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Rhys, ErnestIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Thomson, HughIlustradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

Evelina is the daughter of an English aristocrat, but is brought up in the country until her seventeenth birthday, because she is of dubious birth and unacknowledged. Once out in London and Bristol-Hotwells, Evelina learns through a series of humorous events how to navigate society, and a nobleman falls in love with her. This sentimental novel with its satirical remarks on society significantly influenced later, similar works, such as those by Jane Austen.

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