The next chapter in Fanny Burney's adventures, following the publication of her acclaimed novel Evelina, during which she ventured into the great world.
Volume IV of The Early Journals and Letters of Fanny Burney, covering the years 1780-1781, will be of particular interest to students of Burney as it marks the young author's introduction into the world following the astonishing success of her novel Evelina (1778) and includes her visits to Streatham and her encounters with Hester and Henry Thrale and Dr Johnson. It was an exciting period in her life, which she managed to enjoy despite struggling to repeat her first success while avoiding the often unwelcome attention it brought. But it was also a difficult period in her family life as she dealt with jealous interference by her stepmother, the courtship of her sister Susan by a man she considered untrustworthy, and the misbehaviour of her brothers.
Burney's enthusiasm makes the most of her experiences and she describes characters and scenes with all the genius displayed in her novels. Her descriptions contain the four great attributes that distinguish her novels: brilliant handling of detail, total and full recall of conversations characteristic of the speaker, sensibility and empathy for others, and great relish for the ridiculous wherever it occurred.