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Camilla

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  1,507 ratings  ·  52 reviews
This is a reissue of the previous World's Classics edition in the new, larger format and with the series name changed to 'Oxford World's Classics'.
Paperback, 992 pages
Published October 28th 1999 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1796)
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Elizabeth Why is that question so important? Why are adults paranoid about being corrupted by novels? How 200 years ago! Haven't we moved on to being paranoid…moreWhy is that question so important? Why are adults paranoid about being corrupted by novels? How 200 years ago! Haven't we moved on to being paranoid about video games and internet pornography?

The book was written by a lady in the 1700s, I don't think it contains anything "unclean" but I don't know what your standard is. Tell your mom it was Jane Austen's favorite, she'll let you read it unless she's offended by Jane Austen(less)
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan SwiftRobinson Crusoe by Daniel DefoeCandide by VoltaireThe Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von GoetheLes Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
Best Books of the 18th Century
71st out of 150 books — 592 voters
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Oxford World's Classics
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lori
I am not enjoying this book as much as I enjoyed The Female Quixote, which was really, really funny, but I'm trying to keep an open mind.

Burney, was an 18th century novelist who influenced Jane Austen, and if you read this book, you can see how. However, you can also see, if you read, that Austen was clearly the superior writer. Over 900 pages, the author seems to drag out the plot more than is necessary, but once you get past the melodrama of parts of the book, it is interesting enough that yo
...more
Virginia
Jan 20, 2009 Virginia rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: hard-core fans of austen, burney, edgeworth, gaskell, lennox, etc.
I loved (really loved) the writing in Camilla. Yes, even the sentences that stretched, it seemed, for paracraphs. Like other similar literature, I loved many of the themes of honor (or "honour" ;-) and duty and family. I liked Camilla and LOVED Eugenia. I also despised Lionel and Indiana and the horrid governess, as I was meant to. The secondary characters were marvelous. But I tired of the same misunderstandings over and over again. It also struck me that Camilla's supposed key character flaw, ...more
Kate S
I'd really like to give it three and a half...I'm torn. Lots of great Dickens-esque characters and the provision of a real understanding of the perils of women during the time period push it to four. The social commentary is important and something so alien to us now that it's definitely worth reading if only for that. But it needs a good edit in the middle - I would have gotten the point with a little less fainting and tearfulness on Camilla's part - and fewer long tangents. Was Burney paid by ...more
Scarlettfish
In my opinion, Burney's least successful novel, but this is still a great read. The secondary characters in this steal the show, especially Eugenia, who might just get the prize for the most sympathetic female character in 18th century fiction. Camilla would come a close second, though, given what she has to put up with from the various men in this novel. This is a very interesting study of the way men were able to control women so completely. Very psychologically interesting, but the male chara ...more
Suzanne Moore
Probably the longest book I've ever read, other than the Bible. It took me over a year of stops and starts to get through it! I'd have to say it was fun reading parts aloud … full of fancy wording of the Victorian era. Reminded me of a soap opera. Camilla,her sister Eugenia, and cousin Indiana were followed from childhood into their young adult years. There is a beau involved, Mandlebert, He is attracted to Camilla and she to him, but the modesty of the day keeps the relationship moving along ra ...more
Mirela
I'm a sucker for classical English authors, always tempted to rate them with non-existing 6* just for this reason. Burney's colofurness and vivacity in painting of the society traits would diserve it as well. In real life, a book needs to whack me off my verbal feet to give it even a 5*-rating. "Camilla" did not do that, but: (1) it kept me sealed to an armchair for three days, (2) it fed my lust for the stylish writing, (3) made me think about what I've read later on, (4) made me in love with C ...more
Vincent Rivas-Flores
It's a great read, but for the length that it is, I just didn't find it captivating enough to warrant so much of the story. Burney's previous novel, Cecilia, was miles greater and completely worth the four-digit page length. The problem with Camilla was that it re-tread much of the same material as Cecilia, but with less on the characters as people. It dealt primarily with the bad luck that falls on a loving, caring, close-knit family in Hampshire, which is less captivating that the emancipated ...more
Monty Milne
Flashes of humour, an absorbing narrative, and a real desire to read on to see the characters get their just deserts (both good and bad) - these attributes kept me turning the pages. I enjoyed this more than the author's other novels I've read (Evelina and Cecilia) and in some ways I think Burney preferable to Austen: Burney has a bit more earthiness, and there is more of a sense of violence and pathos. But the faults are many: like Austen, the mannered artificiality of style (at least to my tas ...more
Ada
Aug 12, 2015 Ada added it
I read 'Camilla' to find out why Jane Austen wanted to kill off Dr. Marchmont at the end of it. By Book III, I had already solved the mystery, but I kept reading on.
Fanny Burney provides a fascinating cast of characters from the 'incomparable' (though sometimes rather silly) Camilla, through the amusing Sir Sedley to the mercenary Mrs Mittin. 'Camilla' depicts a world that is shaped by avoidable distress and almost fatal misinterpretations. The morally victorious happy-ending comes unexpectedly
...more
Nicole
(from my blog)

Camilla is the story of Camilla Tyrold and the drama that ensues as she, her sisters, and her cousin reach marrying age. Camilla is the middle daughter of the Tyrold family and the favorite of her wealthy bachelor uncle Sir Hugh Tyrold. The tale starts with her early adolescent escapades with her circle of family and friends, follows through her coming out into society, and culminates in our heroine on the verge of losing everything she hold dear.

As far as early novelists go, Fanny
...more
Leya
It took me a while to get into this novel, I found that it started off a little slow but it gained my full attention after the first hundred pages. Like the synopsis says it's the story of Camilla, her sisters and her cousin Indiana and their pursuit of matrimony. I enjoyed the way the author described the events and the way each individual girl took in that experience.

Like any other novel, I had my favourite characters. I enjoyed Camilla but my favourite was Eugenia - Camilla's younger sister.
...more
Jessica


Burney's writing style seems to even improve as the book goes along. I loved Evelina but Camilla is very drawn out and not as interesting. The characters are all likeable or interesting which kept me reading until the end. Definitely a good summer read if you are not in a hurry. I figured out the plot midway (or before) and it pretty much ended just as I thought it would. Edgar and Camilla's suppressed communication drove me crazy and if there is any valuable lesson to take away from the story
...more
Nicholas Ennos
Camilla is Fanny Burney's masterpiece. It contains some of her funniest characters such as Mr Dubster and Mrs Mittin. There are also beautiful portraits of other memorable characters such as Camilla's uncle and Camilla's friend Mrs Arlbery and the dreadful governess, Miss Margland. The writing style is superb. It is better written than some of Jane Austen's novels.

If you read Jane Austen's novels you will find that Camilla was Jane Austen's favourite novel of the 18th century and is often praise
...more
Monique
I enjoyed this even though it was painful to read. At times I was so frustrated with the idiocy of the characters that I was shouting at my computer and slamming my hands on the table. Yet the world of the 18th C. is so seductive, the intelligence and humour of the author didn't fail to come through despite the ridiculousness of some of the plot lines and the intensity of its over-riding moral strictures.

Interestingly, what became clear to me when reading this book was the inevitability of femi
...more
Angelina
It didn't take three years to read (though it sometimes felt like it), I just forgot to update. The whole story was way too drawn out, even for its time. Cecilia was about as long but it didn't feel like the story dragged on, whereas Camilla could have been told in half the story length. Also, I found the title character less appealing and kind of annoying, I didn't like her the way I did Cecilia. In CE I looked forward to true love overcoming the obstacles but in CA I got to a point where I sai ...more
Philip Lane
I was really enjoying this for the first two thirds and then it seemed to start getting silly. I wonder whether Burney came under pressure to make it more exciting.. Camilla seemed a very sensible girl to start off with but I suppose if she had continued to be sensible then all the drama would have been avoided. Unfortunately it meant that I ended up totally unconvinced by her behaviour. I did understand to a certain extent her inability to understand some of the complications of personal financ ...more
Melodee
This is a long-winded telling of the exhaustive exploits of a young lady and her extended family. Read this book when you have plenty of time set aside. It got a bit frustrating to me when time and time again, I thought I saw a resolution to her problems, but realized the book was only 50% done. I think the author intended for Camilla to be enchanting and lovely and artless, but to me she was kind of an airhead, twisting this way and that according to how the wind blew. And there are any number ...more
Serena
Camilla and Edgar were both very well developed! Both are obviously flawed too. For Edgar, it's mostly learning to trust Camilla, and to be kind rather than just judgmental and uptight. I liked how Edgar was NOT the "suave, debonair" type. He's a moral prig and so deadly virtuous, but still I like him very much. For Camilla, I was so mad that she was such a people-pleaser, almost a doormat. But she must be a really approachable and friendly person, so that it would be quite pleasant to interact ...more
Marilyn J
Good story line but far too involved. You could skip whole sections and still follow the prevailing idea of the book.
Elizabeth
A nice coming-of-age novel. The characters and the family dynamics are well-developed but the plot itself is a little thin (so much relies on confusions that three well-timed words could have cleared up--and the excuses the characters have for keeping silent seem a little lame).
Daniel
Enjoyable, Camilla is really a naive young lady, intrinsically good, but overtly sanguine in temper. Edgar Mandlebert tends to jump to conclusions.
Sir Hugh along with several other minor characters are very dickens-esque.

The plot is repetitive, and yet varied enough to retain interest.
Katie
I thought this book was extremely annoying. I liked the characters and story enough to finish it, but most of the time I felt like I was just enduring it to get to the end. Most of the situations and misunderstandings could have been so easily avoided, and I was upset with pretty much every character at one time or another throughout the book. The climax was extremely melodramatic, but the end was fairly satisfying.
Denise
I enjoyed this book. It reminded me of a soap opera, but without the annoyance that you sometimes get when looking at them because of something the character has done. I think for the time frame in which it was written that the characters are right on target and entertaining. If you like classics and want an fun read then read this even though it is long and may take a couple of weeks to read. Give it a try.
Nicole
Camilla also known as the book that would never end. I love her writing but it did go on FOREVER!
Ramona
While acknowledging this book was one of of the early concepts of the fictional novel, as well as inspirational for Jane Austen & others, this still had to seem contrived even for the time. I really wanted to enjoy more of the plot, but kept getting caught up in thinking "really?". Still, I persevered and enjoyed much of the nuances, but still was glad to have said "it's done".
Nathan
Started slow in the first 100 or so pages. Redeemed itself, but was still a bit of a slog until the last couple hundred pages.
Alisha
I enjoyed this to some degree just because I'm a friend to 19th century literature in general. There were high points and low points in the story. I liked secondary characters better than the main characters, and was unhappy with the length of time it took to resolve things that should have been very simple. Lack of communication between the main characters became frustrating.
Allison
I can't stand it any more. I've been on page 300 and something for the last year and I just need to accept that's where I'm staying. Sorry Fanny Burney, Camilla ain't no Evelina. Not enough old lady races to keep me interested. It's not exactly a bad book and it's not exactly boring, it just doesn't interest me enough to pretend like I'll ever finish reading it.
Anabelee
Demasiado recargada para mi gusto actual
Lynne-marie
I read this in my quest to understand what books were being read at the time Jane Austen was reading and writing. I think I'll have to give up my plan, this was just too tendentitious to stand and long-winded at that. I kept thinking of Madame Bovary to top it all off, so I felt it was a knock-off. I wouldn't recommend it. Really.
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Also known as Frances Burney and, after her marriage, as Madame d’Arblay. Frances Burney was a novelist, diarist and playwright. In total, she wrote four novels, eight plays, one biography and twenty volumes of journals and letters.
More about Fanny Burney...
Evelina Cecilia The Wanderer: or, Female Difficulties Journals and Letters The Complete Novels of Fanny Burney (Annotated)

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“The world...is too full of real evil for me at least, to cause one moment of unnecessary uneasiness to any of its poor pilgrims. 'Tis strange...that this is not more generally considered, since the advantage would be so reciprocal from man to man. But wrapt up in our own short moment, we forget our neighbour's long hour! and existence is ultimately embittered to all, by the refined susceptibility for ourselves that monopolizes our feelings.” 2 likes
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