Frances Burney was one of the most popular English novelists of the late 18th century and an important chronicler of English manners, morals, and society. Her literary apprenticeship was much influenced by her father’s friend Samuel Crisp, a disappointed author living in retirement. At age 16, she began the diary that would chronicle personal and public events from the early reign of George III to the dawn of the Victorian age. Her first novel, Evelina, published anonymously in 1778, at once by its narrative and comic power, brought her fame, and, through Mrs. Thrale, she made the acquaintance of Dr. Johnson, with whom she became a great favourite.
Appearing under her married name novel -“The Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay, Vol. 1” is a great representation of her witty and candid journals and correspondence, from her breakthrough until her final years. The book covers all manner of topics, including her literary success, an episode in which an unbalanced George III chased Fanny through Kew Gardens, and matters of marriage and bereavement. But after all, it is a fascinating glimpse into 18th century life among the English upper classes!