Other literary forms

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)
ph_0111207065-Burney.jpg Fanny Burney Published by Salem Press, Inc.

In addition to editing the memoirs of her father—the noted organist, composer, and music historian Dr. Charles Burney (1726-1814)—Fanny Burney wrote diaries that were published after her death: Early Diary, 1768-1778 (1889) and Diary and Letters, 1778-1840 (1842-1846). Her Early Diary contains pleasant sketches of such well-known figures as Samuel Johnson, James Boswell, David Garrick, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan. Notable figures from government and the arts march across the pages of this work, which scholars have claimed surpasses Burney’s fiction in literary quality. The seven volumes of her latter diary and correspondence are notable for the record of the writer’s meeting in her garden with the insane King George III of England, the account of her glimpse of the French emperor Napoleon I, and the recollections of her chat with the weary King Louis XVIII of France.

Of Burney’s eight works of drama, three are worthy of mention: The Witlings, written in 1779 and never performed or published in Burney’s lifetime; Edwy and Elgiva, written in 1790, performed at Drury Lane on March 21, 1795, and withdrawn after the first night; and Love and Fashion, written in 1799, accepted by the manager at Covent Garden, but never performed. (All of these plays were published in 1995 in The Complete Plays of Fanny Burney.) Burney also published, in 1793, a political essay titled Brief Reflections Relative to the French Emigrant Clergy, an address to the women of Great Britain in behalf of the French emigrant priests.