eBook Frances Burney ✓ Cecilia, or Memoirs of an Heiress eBook ´ or Memoirs ✓

First published in 1782 this novel interweaves comedy humanity and social analysis In its satirical picture of the heroine's dismaying encounter with the gilded fashionable world while also enjoying the attractions of an unusual love story it caused controversy in its time


10 thoughts on “Cecilia, or Memoirs of an Heiress

  1. says:

    One of my first reactions on finishing this long and melodramatic 18th century saga was relief that such unlikely plots and histrionic characters are no longer in vogue in literature—though we still have plenty of melodrama in the form of soap opera Yes the I think about it the parallels between this book and a soap opera occur to me there are a set number of characters some of whom turn up again and again serving new and unlikely plot purposes every time on each occasion that the main character goes somewhere she shouldn't go she invariably crosses paths with someone who draws the wrong conclusions about her activities each time she has an opportunity to explain herself something happens to prevent her in spite of often meeting the hero in the wrong place at the wrong time when she really needs to find him he has frustratingly just left the place she's arrived at and not once but again and againAs you can guess ridiculous hindrances and interferences abound and they become and farcical as the pages turn But having said all that I have to admit that this novel from the 1780s has a lot going for it than your average soap opera It is Frances Fanny Burney's second novel the first Evelina was written in secret but recognised as worth publishing once she dared to show it to her family and friends She next wrote a play but her father didn't approve and encouraged her to save her talent and her material for novel writing view spoilershades of Shakespeare's sister? hide spoiler


  2. says:

    I little thought when I first picked this book up with a sense of duty than anticipation how extraordinarily fun it would prove to be not least because I managed to convince my wife that ‘Fanny Burney’ was eighteenth century slang for thrush For the last week I have been rushing through work in order to enjoy my train ride home in the company of Cecilia and going to bed early to get some extra reading time in Which hasn't happened to me for a whileMy main worry after the first couple of hundred pages was that there was still so much of the book left for things to go downhill And it is true – let's say this up front – that the ending is the most disappointing part of the novel; the last volume collapses into melodrama and feverish exclamations and in general resolves the problems of the plot in ways that are bound to be unsatisfactory for a modern reader But I don't want to let that overshadow the rest of the book too much because the first seven hundred pages were pure joy for me which for a book this size is than anyone had a right to expectCecilia and her love interest are endearing enough but the real fun comes from the amazing cast of supporting characters whom Burney sketches as a series of hilarious caricatures The flighty socialites proto gossip girls sleazy men and haughty toffs are so recognisable that I found myself dreaming of how this could be remade as a high school movie Miss Larolles in particular – ‘the inimitable Miss Larolles’ as one of Austen's heroines calls her – is an absolute delight to spend time with and I could listen to her breathless chatter all day – But only conceive what happened to me Was that not horrid provoking? etcMuch of the enjoyment here comes from the snapshot the book offers of everyday contemporary society Unlike so many other novelists of the time who were writing Gothic tales set in exotic France or Italy Burney is deliberately capturing in an almost documentary way the daily life of 1779–80 London including fashionable events and soirées of the period There are so many fantastic details in here concerning how people got around what kind of etiuette was involved in mixed sex socialising who handed whom into carriages how you called on acuaintances how you made travel arrangements and so forth I suppose some people may find this boring but I was absolutely captivated There are so many scenes that we can't properly ‘read’ often someone will say something innocuous which occasions total outrage while at other times they'll come out with something apparently awful which everyone seems to find perfectly agreeableAnd surprisingly through all of this Burney's focus is very much on what we might now call social justice; rather than the ballrooms and beau monde that I was expecting there is a consistent effort here to range through different classes of society and indeed to challenge socio economic structures in and of themselves One character disgusted by the prevailing demands of politeness points out that ‘The bow is to the coat the attention is to the rank and the fear of offending ought to extend to all mankind’ and this is something that the book tries to explore on a large scaleCecilia herself is placed in a position that for modern readers can only be seen in pointedly feminist terms she is an heiress but can only inherit if her husband agrees to take her surname Weirdly this is something that seems to have been less uncommon then than now But the man she loves is from a very old and proud – though not very wealthy – family The plot therefore takes these ideas of female autonomy financial muscle and patriarchal tradition and clashes them together with extreme violence to see what breaksIt is customary to see Frances Burney as a sort of John the Baptist figure ‘The whole of this unfortunate business’ someone exclaims during the dénouement of this one ‘has been the result of PRIDE and PREJUDICE’ and one hears the sound of someone frantically taking notes in Bath I had expected to find that Austen brought wit and skill to a rather hidebound genre but that's not at all what I feel now This is every bit as funny as anything in Austen I see Austen's importance now a bit differently what she did was I think to get rid of the melodramatic silliness that Burney still leant on for her conclusion and also to find a way to achieve these effects in three hundred rather than nine hundred pages which is certainly no small achievementEven so there are things in here that you just don't get in Austen Proper action for one thing Cecilia includes such set pieces as a public suicide in St James's Gardens which I really was not expecting And for another thing moral ambiguity – there are many characters here who are sympathetic but seriously flawed and it is very hard to know on reflection what we are supposed to think about the way things conclude The ‘happy ending’ if such it is is a very ironic one At first I thought this was just a problem for modern readers but it's clear from contemporary reactions that people at the time were disturbed by it as well The world of Cecilia is in the end a disturbing and a dark one but I absolutely loved spending time there


  3. says:

    I happen to love this book than the combined works of Jane Austen blasphemy I know While lacking Austen's sparkling style I find this book has emotional connection and focus on social issues than I find lacking in Austen's works It's probably my favorite 18th century novel in factThe story revolves around Cecilia a young woman who has inherited an enormous fortune but who can keep it only if upon marriage her husband agrees to take her name Unfortunately Cecilia has fallen for Delville a dashing young aristocrat whose proud family would never agree to a name change I confess that I adore Cecilia and have a crush on Delville Cecilia is smart strong and full of common sense Delville is a dutiful young aristocrat who finally has enough and defies his psycho Mom for the love of Cecilia in my favorite scene in the book The book is chockful of funny scenes passionate declarations of love misunderstandings jealousy elopment and every other good thing I never understood why Burney's Evelina with the really annoying secondary characters insipid heroine and patterncard of perfection hero is better known


  4. says:

    We need to get a couple of things out of the way before I get to the proper review i This is too long ii This shouldn't be read the way you'd read a Hemingway novel sitting down and intensely fretting through the intense pages of intensity This should be read the way you watch a TV series a few chapters here a few there letting the various plots lines wrap themselves up taking a pause while the next one gets going all the while keeping in mind that there is an overarching point to the thing but not expecting that overarching point to be the focus of every chapter let alone every sentence Now having said all that this is fabulous stuff Burney gives you exactly what you want from a late eighteenth century novel heart rending sentiment burning satire and intelligent sociology The characters are well drawn and don't 'develop' because they are people not characters in a fiction writing workshop and people don't develop like that But they do get entangled in plot and that's what Burney gives us incident after incident all leading us towards a crisis point whether local as when Cecilia finally moves out of her first guardian's house or general as at the end of the novel Mr Gosport is an interesting innovation if you're interested in that kind of thing he's the intelligent voice of the novel but he's not particularly involved in anything In fact he's really there to let Burney write satirical sociological essays about the upper class and they are wonderful things perhaps the best parts of the book Burney was well known to Austen 'Pride and Prejudice' is a phrase from this very book and that might have skewed some readers' expectations for the worse Austen is a wonderful novelist who made genuine advances in the art but Burney was working in a very different form from a very different perspective It's best to know this before diving into this monster of a book; this is not Our Jane But if you give up looking for Austen you're likely to find any number of other novelists in there the Delviles feel like something from late James for instance and Mr Monckton would find himself uite at home in a Trollope novel In short then Burney was a writer of genius who had the misfortune to write just before another writer with a very different genius changed our expectations of the novel so that Burney can now feel excessive and even unartistic But there are real rewards to reading Cecilia


  5. says:

    Cecilia Beverly is a young orphan whose relatives left her with a large fortune three uarelling trustees and a mind of unsurpassed delicacy and gentility The first volume is set during the tumultuous time Cecilia spent with one trustee who borrows huge sums of money from her and eventually kills himself to avoid his debts Cecilia moves back the country but her Love Interest a man of good character but very proud parents follows her there and begs her to marry him ALAS According to her uncle's will whoever marries Cecilia must either take her surname or relinuish her vast fortune Since neither is acceptable to either Cecilia or the man who is supposedly desperately in love with her they languish apart for a year or so Eventually the Love Interest's mother agrees to allow a secret marriage and in exchange Cecilia will give up all her money Cecilia agrees they are married in the most hurried unexciting ceremony in literary history it takes less than a paragraph to describe the entire wedding of two characters who have spent 900 pages pining for each other and then Love Interest gallops off to France He'd shot a man again described singularly bloodlessly and needed to escape the law Love Interest returns accuses Cecilia of betraying him Cecilia goes mad Love Interest feels guilty Love Interest's proud parents feel guilty Cecilia magically regains her senses and everyone forgives each other Cecilia and Love Interest live happily ever after especially after another relative never before mentioned decides to give them a fortune to replace the one Cecilia gave upThis was an infuriating book Entire plots are forgotten about what about the lawsuit against Cecilia? Doesn't Love Interest ever get in trouble for shooting Monckton? and a dozen characters exist only to provide comic relief and cautionary tales Cecilia and Devile are witty characters with a wealth of common sense until they fall in love at which point the book rapidly devolves into a laughable melodrama Here's a randomly chosen sample of Burney's style complete with sixteen commas in a single sentence As she was no longer as hitherto repairing to a temporary habitation which at pleasure she might uit and to which at a certain period she could have no possible claim but to a house which was her own for ever or at least could solely by her own choice be transferred she determined as much as was in her power in uitting her desultory dwellings to empty her mind of the transactions which had passed in them and upon entering a house where she was permanently to reside to make the expulsion of her past sorrows the basis upon which to establish her future serenity Holy crap


  6. says:

    Cecilia or Memoirs of an Heiress is the second novel by English author Fanny Burney published in 1782 Burney was a novelist diarist and playwright She wrote in all four novels eight plays one biography and twenty volumes of journals and letters Fanny was the third child in a family of six Fanny's sisters Esther and Susanna were favored over Fanny by their father for what he perceived as their superior attractiveness and intelligence I'm not sure how he felt about the rest of his children but he shouldn't be favoring one over another at all At the age of eight Fanny had not yet learned the alphabet and some scholars suggest that Burney suffered from a form of dyslexia By the age of ten however she had begun to write for her own amusement Esther and Susanna were sent by their father to be educated in Paris while at home Fanny educated herself by reading from the family collection including Plutarch's Lives works by Shakespeare histories sermons poetry plays novels and courtesy books I'd rather be at home reading by myself than going to school in Paris Come to think of it I'd rather be home reading alone than going to school anywhere But back to Burney she drew on this material along with her journals when writing her first novels Burney kept a diary or a lot of diaries I guess all through her life and I do the same thing although hers' were probably much interesting The first entry in her journal was made on March 27 1768 addressed to Miss Nobody see right there mine aren't addressed to anybody just day date and start writing Burney's diary writings were to extend over 72 years Burney wrote these diaries as a form of correspondence with family and friends recounting to them events from her life and how she felt about them Fanny and her sister Susanna were particularly close and it was to this sister that Fanny would correspond throughout her adult life in the form of such journal letters I wonder if my children will publish my diaries once I'm gone perhaps with the title One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest but I'm pretty sure that's already taken Then there is Cecilia the novel I'm supposed to be talking about Cecilia Burney's second novel is twice as long as the first Evelina I read that one too but I can't remember a thing about it although I suppose the heroine was named Evelina Evelina had been so popular that rumors of a new book being published created long waiting lists for the book at circulating libraries even before it was published I didn't know they had things like waiting lists way back then The first edition sold out almost immediately Burney spent about a year and a half starting in 1780 composing Cecilia while staying at the home of her family friend Samuel Crisp Burney then spent six months copying and correcting the draft and the book was published in 1782 According to her letters Burney wrote under tremendous anxiety and familial pressure but Crisp's home provided a respite and he highly encouraged her work A highly successful novel Cecilia went through 51 known editions and there were at least 25 international editions in places such as the US Belgium Germany Ireland Sweden and Russia during Burney's own lifetime The first and subseuent editions of Cecilia sold out uickly and at Burney's death in 1828 there were 27 editions The novel is about the trials and tribulations of a young upper class woman named you guessed it Cecilia who must negotiate London society for the first time There are a lot of people in this book so if you decide to read it be prepared I'm never going to remember them all One character I can remember is Cecilia Beverley Miss Beverley is extremely wealthy or at least she will be when she becomes of age twenty one I think until then her uncle the one who left her all the money has chosen three guardians for her I can't remember how he came to choose these three guys but he did Oh one thing that becomes rather important to everyone in the book except me if I would have been in the book that is is that Cecilia can't get married unless the man she marries agrees to take her surname that is become Mr Beverley Now I suppose her uncle did this so his family name wouldn't be forgotten or some such thing but it seems dumb to me it's not like you are going to be here to notice whether or not your name is still around and when I get to heaven I'm going to be way too busy decorating for Christmas for all eternity than pay any attention to who is named what down here However that is the rule and if Cecilia marries without her husband changing his name then her fortune goes to the next relative some second cousin or some such person Since she is or will be wealthy once she is of age she manages to get in with the wealthy or at least the higher class of society people The problem with them is that not too many of the men who are Lord this or Lord that are willing to change their names unless they have managed to spend all the money their high society family ever had in which case they only want to marry Cecilia for her money anyway So it seems like her choices will be to marry someone she loves but who refuses to change his family name so she loses her fortune or to marry a man willing to change his name in which case he probably doesn't love her just her money or do the safest thing just don't marry anybodyI'm not telling you who marries who or who doesn't marry who I wonder if I should use the word who or whom? Anyway here are some of the other main characters first the extremely unlikeable Mr Monckton he isn't one of her guardians but he certainly acts like he is he follows her around everywhere and knows everything about her and is just creepy and annoying Mr Harrel is the husband of Cecilia's childhood friend Priscilla and one of the three guardians That is where Cecilia goes when she arrives in London she is to live with them She finds however that her friend isn't the same girl she remembers but now only cares about going about in society and keeping up appearances On her arrival Mrs Harrel presents her to her “friends” and every day is filled with parties and London amusements whether they can afford them or not which soon tire Cecilia And it is during all this society that we meet most of our characters Mrs Harrel's brother Mr Arnott I liked him Mr Briggs another guardian you would think he was down to his last cent the way he lives uite a strange guy There is also Mr Delvile her last guardian who never said a word that wasn't about himself I could start naming people who try to win Cecilia's hand in marriage but that would take too long longer than I want to think about it anyway One of the main contenders for her hand at least he thought he was is Sir Robert Floyer he was on almost every page of the first half of the book then just seemed to drop out of exsistance why I'm not sure but I don't miss him One of my very favorite characters is Lady Honoria Pemberton she came along just when I was getting a little bit tired of the story and I welcomed her She is a relative of the Delviles whom Cecilia meets during her stay at Delvile Castle Now Mr Delvile just loves his castle almost as much as he loves his family name Come to think of it his list of loves would probably go himself his name his castle his family Hmm odd man Anyway Lady Honoria is uick and very high spirited but without discretion or delicacy for others She enjoys infuriating the haughty Mr Delvile by giddy remarks on his castle such as calling it a gaol Here's a glimpse of Honoria You think then the uarrel amusing than the reconciliation? O a thousand times for while you are uarrelling you may say any thing and demand any thing but when you are reconciled you ought to behave pretty and seem contented Those who presume to have any pretensions to your ladyship said Cecilia would be made happy indeed should they hear your principles O it would not signify at all answered she for one's fathers and uncles and those sort of people always make connexions for one and not a creature thinks of our principles till they find them out by our conduct and nobody can possibly do that till we are married for they give us no power beforehand The men know nothing of us in the world while we are single but how we can dance a minuet or play a lesson upon the harpsichord And what else said Mr Delvile who advanced and heard this last speech need a young lady of rank desire to be known for? your ladyship surely would not have her degrade herself by studying like an artist or professor? O no Sir I would not have her study at all; it's mighty well for children but really after sixteen and when one is come out one has uite fatigue enough in dressing and going to public places and ordering new things without all that torment of first and second position and E upon the first line and F upon the first space Your ladyship must however pardon me for hinting said Mr Delvile that a young lady of condition who has a proper sense of her dignity cannot be seen too rarely or known too little O but I hate dignity cried she carelessly for it's the dullest thing in the world I always thought it was owing to that you were so little amusing;—really I beg your pardon Sir I meant to say so little talkative I can easily credit that your ladyship spoke hastily answered he highly piued for I believe indeed a person of a family such as mine will hardly be supposed to have come into the world for the office of amusing it O no Sir cried she with pretended innocence nobody I am sure ever saw you with such a thoughtThere are many many things I could tell you of the story and many many people I haven't even mentioned people central to the story but I'm not going to I'm ending right now you'll have to read the book to find out the rest Make sure you have some free time though the book is over 900 pages long Happy reading


  7. says:

    The author of this book is believed that had a great influence on later writers and this becomes even apparent in this which is known amongst others because of this comes the phrase pride and prejudice that I believe something reminds you Of course the influence is not limited to one phrase so reading the book is also an exploratory experience for the history of literatureOf course the value of this books is not high only for their historical character it is high because they are very nice novels After her excellent first book Evelina that impressed me very much the writer seems to want to go one step further It is of course a book that moves in the same context with the story of a woman of the upper classes approaching adulthood visiting the bustling London and confronted with situations that show everything about the British society of the time falls in love but finds many difficulties in fulfilling it but there are several variations The size of the book is almost double with its story going through many stages and the writer moves the social critiue a step further talking about the issues of wealth utilization social ineuality the position of the woman and her need for some degree of independence Another distinction is that the tone of the book is much emotional especially in the second half of the book that dominates the subject of love that has difficulties which to return to the subject of the influence of the writer is part of the literary climate of the era but at the same time announces a seuel that eventually ends up in the Gothic novelAll this in a very interesting story with an adorable heroine that it is easy to identify with her as she tries to do the right thing to help her fellow human beings to find true love is drifting away is falling victim exploitation making countless mistakes finds happiness loses it and in general is a woman who is upset by the injustice and superficiality that seems to dominate around her and thus becomes the mean for the author to express her views and hopes for a better society On the other hand the size of the book and the fact that the author devotes too many pages to analyze things and talk about what she wants makes the book somewhat tedious and gives the reader the impression that there is a continuous repetition which makes me appreciate this book less than her first The patient reader however will be rewarded in the end by understanding that this is a very good book that makes much than telling a beautiful storyΗ συγγραφέας αυτού του βιβλίου θεωρείται ότι είχε μεγάλη επιρροή σε μεταγενέστερους συγγραφείς και αυτό γίνεται φανερό ακόμα περισσότερο σε αυτό το οποίο είναι γνωστό μεταξύ άλλων γιατί από αυτό προέρχεται η φράση υπερηφάνεια και προκατάληψη που φαντάζομαι κάτι σας θυμίζει Φυσικά η επιρροή δεν περιορίζεται σε μία φράση και έτσι η ανάγνωση του βιβλίου είναι και μία εμπειρία διερευνητική για την ιστορία της λογοτεχνίαςΒέβαια η αξία των βιβλίων δεν είναι υψηλή μόνο για τον ιστορικό τους χαρακτήρα είναι υψηλή γιατί πρόκειται για πολύ ωραία μυθιστορήματα Μετά το εξαιρετικό πρώτο βιβλίο της το Evelina που με είχε εντυπωσιάσει σε αυτό η συγγραφέας φαίνεται ότι ήθελε να πάει ένα βήμα παρακάτω Είναι φυσικά ένα βιβλίο που κινείται στο ίδιο πλαίσιο με την ιστορία του να αφορά μία γυναίκα των ανώτερων τάξεων που πλησιάζοντας την ενηλικίωσή της επισκέπτεται το πολύβουο Λονδίνο και έρχεται αντιμέτωπη με καταστάσεις που δείχνουν όλα για την Βρετανική κοινωνία της εποχής γνωρίζοντας παράλληλα τον έρωτα και πάρα πολλές δυσκολίες στην εκπλήρωση του υπάρχουν όμως αρκετές διαφοροποιήσεις Το μέγεθος του βιβλίου είναι σχεδόν διπλάσιο με την ιστορία του να περνά από πάρα πολλά στάδια και τη συγγραφέα να πηγαίνει την κοινωνική κριτική της ένα βήμα παραπέρα μιλώντας για τα θέματα της αξιοποίησης του πλούτου τις κοινωνικές ανισότητες τη θέση της γυναίκας και την ανάγκη της για κάποιο βαθμό ανεξαρτησίας Μία άλλη διαφοροποίηση είναι ότι ο τόνος του βιβλίου είναι πολύ περισσότερο συναισθηματικός ιδιαίτερα στο δεύτερο μισό του βιβλίου που κυριαρχεί το θέμα του έρωτα που έχει δυσκολίες κάτι που για να επιστρέψουμε στο θέμα της επιρροής της συγγραφέως εντάσσεται στο λογοτεχνικό κλίμα της εποχής αλλά παράλληλα προαναγγέλλει μία συνέχεια που θα καταλήξει τελικά στο γοτθικό μυθιστόρημαΌλα αυτά μέσα σε μία πολύ ενδιαφέρουσα ιστορία με μία αξιολάτρευτη ηρωίδα με την οποία είναι εύκολο να ταυτιστείς μαζί της καθώς προσπαθεί να κάνει το σωστό να βοηθήσει τους συνανθρώπους της να βρει τον αληθινό έρωτα παρασύρεται πέφτει θύμα εκμετάλλευσης κάνει αμέτρητα λάθη βρίσκει την ευτυχία την χάνει και γενικότερα είναι μία γυναίκα που αναστατώνεται από την αδικία και την επιπολαιότητα που φαίνεται να κυριαρχούν γύρω της και έτσι γίνεται το μέσο για να εκφράσει η συγγραφέας τις απόψεις της και τις ελπίδες της για μία καλύτερη κοινωνία Βέβαια από εκεί και πέρα το μέγεθος του βιβλίου και το γεγονός ότι η συγγραφέας αφιερώνει πάρα πολλές σελίδες για να αναλύσει τα πράγματα και να μιλήσει για αυτά που θέλει κάνουν το βιβλίο κάπως κουραστικό και δημιουργείται η εντύπωση στον αναγνώστη ότι υπάρχει μία συνεχόμενη επανάληψη κάτι που με κάνει να εκτιμώ αυτό το βιβλίο λιγότερο από το πρώτο της Ο υπομονετικός αναγνώστης όμως θα επιβραβευτεί στο τέλος καταλαβαίνοντας ότι πρόκειται για ένα πολύ καλό βιβλίο που περιλαμβάνει πολύ περισσότερα πράγματα από την αφήγηση μιας όμορφης ιστορίας


  8. says:

    Cecilia is a young heiress entrusted to three guardians; the spendthrift Mr Harrell who only cares about keeping up social appearances at parties the rich miser Mr Briggs who lives in sualor and won’t give Cecilia a penny of her fortune until she comes of age and the haughty Mr Delville who is determined to keep Cecilia away from his handsome son Mortimer After growing up in the country Cecilia must learn to navigate the demands of London society and guard her heart against the numerous suitors who are only interested in her vast fortune She looks forward to the day when she will come of age and be able to control her finances and living situation by herself But the moment she is no longer a minor all her circumstances become even complicated and her relationships spiral out of control Cecilia must rely on her own inner wisdom and her good heart to salvage a happy life from the wreckage of her youthI adored this book The characters are incredibly real and fascinating The plot is full of astonishing surprises and dramatic turmoil There is a duel and a suicide financial ruin mystery betrayal secrets madness grief and love and a lot of hilarious humor I was laughing and crying and gasping in shockThe writing is intelligent and weaves a complex tapestry of moods and ideas Once I reached the end I was interested to look back and recognize several foreshadowing themes and characters that connect in unexpected ways Many of the ideas are universal subjects that reflect social interactions and anxieties in any century and are still applicable today It was strange and funny to see how people never really change despite the hundreds of years of historyCecilia herself is a wonderful main character I was completely invested in her story emotionally attached to her and engaged with every aspect of her life She is generous to a fault and that gets her into trouble She values her honor and integrity than anything willing to sacrifice her happiness in order to fulfill her duty She is sensitive and smart preferring the uiet of the country to the bustle of the city She is also trusting and naïve believing in the wrong people who take advantage of her but later in the book she learns some wisdom and begins to take charge of her own life She is resourceful in the face of tragedy sensible when others are foolish and forgiving when people hurt her She suffers so much in all the drama of the book but remains strong no matter what happens and finds purpose and comfort in assisting the poor donating to good causes and personally connecting with worthy people who are grateful for her help Oh I just love her The supporting characters both men and women are complex and well developed They are memorable and uniue with their own style their own way of talking and looking and moving The details are what make these characters so specialOne of my favorite scenes was a masuerade event in London where Cecilia tries to guess who the masked people are and meets some wild characters Some of the masked revelers are easy to distinguish because their personalities are so vibrant and uniue and others are shrouded in mystery until later chapters when we learn their true identities I was intrigued to find that many of the characters reveal their deepest personalities when their identity is safe behind a mask The masuerade was like seeing all the madness of society without the thin veneer of refinement Seeing society as it truly is without the restraints And we see the characters as they truly are without their masks of politeness as they wear a physical mask to hide their faces and their identities The characters are revealed by their behavior when they think no one knows who they are There are no conseuences because in the morning no one will know who was who Brilliant writingMy one complaint is that many of the plot devices dragged on for too long It could have been a much shorter book without losing any of the power of the writing A shorter story would have kept the momentum going much betterI loved this book and I can’t wait to read from Fanny Burney


  9. says:

    In short Cecilia is an heiress of great fortune who is also blessed with a wealth of beauty native refinement and intelligence She is a year or so from reaching her majority Until then she must reside with one of her three guardians These all prove to be a problem While Jane has told us that an unmarried man of fortune must be in want of a wife Cecilia's case proves the same for unmarried young ladies From the minute she is introduced into London society she is beset with the mostly unwanted attentions from conniving suitors and their supporters The terms of Cecilia's uncle's will does little to dissuade the rank of suitors expect one These terms that her husband must take her surname seems peculiar to us but was in fact not uncommon in those days Cecilia provides 90 part delight to 10 parts vexation Any reader with knowledge of 18th century tropes can well guess the source of the vexation Yet Cecilia is a wonderful story of amorous suspense abetted by Pride and Prejudice Janeites get your pinafores out of a twist; it was Cecilia's Dr Lyster who coined the phrase Our Jane would be the borrower The novel's length the vacillations of will and fortune might provide fatiguing to the modern reader to say nothing of the comic characters and their humours Burney was writing in an era in which many popular novels revolved around the exploits of a man of humour some prevailing fancy affinity or bigotry Take the works of Tobias Smollett Such character were much enjoyed and prevailed as minor characters into the 19th century heavily relied on by writers such as Dickens Modern readers however weary of this sort of humor though seem to love it in short dose in the form of situation comedies The best advice to those who find characters like Hobson irksome is to skip their bits They rarely add to the plot though sometimes to the confusion Absolutely no one says anything in 5 words when 50 are to be found Once again this is something modern readers often scorn Cecilia Mrs Devile and Mortimer's vexing vacillations are understandable when the 18th century context is given full weight Yes the end stoops to a bit of melodrama but for all this all 1000 pages of Cecilia are a worthy delight if you like this sort of thing and I do It is hard to pinpoint why this doorstop of a novel is as appealing as it is The themes of self knowledge and remaining true to ones own code are part of the allure The feeling of being so thoroughly drawn into the ethos of another era the era just as in absolutely just after the colonies that became these United States had won their liberty is another Cecilia's sense of self direction in an era where most women had little is yet another Then there is the humor though sprightly in the first volume which helps to propel one onward Mr Gosport's unfailing guidance of Cecilia as she navigates her new social circles is especially fun Other characters added for comic relief are also enjoyable Lady Honoria Mr Meadows The suspense of Cecilia's romantic dealings is uite intriguing as well The modern reader might be annoyed with the depiction of Cecilia as a paragon of perfection but please be kind here Some of us just can't help being practically perfect Don't judge My favorite character aside from the beleaguered Cecilia is Mr Albany At first he figures as a cypher then becomes instrumental to the denouement There are many delightful characters that I will not soon forget


  10. says:

    Jane Austen was inspired by Fanny Burney To such a degree that the famous phrase Pride and Prejudice first appeared in Cecilia Austen later made that particular phrase immortal Catherine Morland the wonderful heroine of Austen's Northanger Abbey even reads Cecilia and praises it to the skiesIt's easy to see whyWhile Cecilia is a melodramatic tale filled with ill timed declarations of love suicidal moneylenders pretentious lords many faintings and even nights spent in fever induced ravings it is at its core a very forward thinking novel about a woman who cannot marry because she needs to keep her last name in order to inherit her fortuneWhat does a last name signify? uite a lot if you read through this novel Cecilia is almost denied love entirely because a last name not only is associated with identity or family history; but honor and the obligation to immortalize the man's family as well Cecilia is almost obliged to throw all of this and her inheritance away in order to satisfy society's expectationsThis powerful message lies beneath a satiric portrait of the upper class in 1800's London Burney paints London in vivid colours and creates an absolutely mesmerizing view of a metropolitan city in the middle of the industrial revolution The characters that populates this London of the past are eually hilarious and infuriating Burney masters this comic balance to perfectionThe title character Cecilia is a true saint; a little too naive for her own good and uite prone to fainting but as a symbol of purity she works uite well She is surrounded by such a comic cast of characters; the silly minded Mrs Harrell the even naive Mr Arnott the raving and almost unintelligible Mr Briggs and the brilliant Delvile family lead by the young Mortimer who is as passionate as Cecilia is pure God I loved them all After all I did spent a 1000 pages in their companyBurney doesn't master the depth of her characters as well as Austen; but she is able to invent and describe them as well as DickensWhile Cecilia is a rather long novel it is worth every single page It could certainly have been concluded faster – but what's the fun in that? I enjoyed every single page; it's one of those book you live in while you read“ Her next solicitude was to furnish herself with a well chosen collection of books and this employment which to a lover of literature young and ardent in its pursuit is perhaps the mind's first luxury proved a source of entertainment so fertile and delightful that it left her nothing to wish”