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Evelina

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  10,061 Ratings  ·  515 Reviews
Frances Burney's first and most enduringly popular novel is a vivid, satirical, and seductive account of the pleasures and dangers of fashionable life in late eighteenth-century London.

As she describes her heroine's entry into society, womanhood and, inevitably, love, Burney exposes the vulnerability of female innocence in an image-conscious and often cruel world where so
...more
Paperback, 455 pages
Published July 18th 2002 by Oxford University Press (first published 1778)
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Catherine Uler This is book is more than clean, it's very moral and pure. I agree that a high school student who likes Jane Austen would probably like this book, but…moreThis is book is more than clean, it's very moral and pure. I agree that a high school student who likes Jane Austen would probably like this book, but this kind of book is pretty subtle and sophisticated, not like a modern YA story.(less)

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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Bill  Kerwin
Apr 30, 2016 Bill Kerwin rated it really liked it

This is a very good 18th century epistolary novel. The prose is precise and elegant, the voices of the various letter writers are well delineated and individualized, and the author makes us admire the heroine and fret over the difficulties which obstruct her happiness. The two lovers—the naive Evelina and the elegant Lord Orville—exhibit sentiment and good sense even in the midst of misunderstandings in a way that looks forward to Austen, and the misunderstandings themselves are both credible an
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Sara Steger
May 15, 2016 Sara Steger rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, bingo-2016
A delightful read! A mix of Wilde's humor, Austen's perception, and Collins' intrigue. Even in those moments where I suspected exactly where the story was going, I felt so much pleasure in watching it unfold that it was not a moment's concern.

Poor Evelina, thrust upon the world without any armor but her good character to save her from the assaults of unscrupulous men, wanton women, ignorant relations and downright cruel associates, plods her way through the maze with a grace that makes you laug
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Wealhtheow
Jul 01, 2013 Wealhtheow rated it liked it
Shelves: historical
Written more than thirty years before Austen’s first novel was published, it concerns eighteenth century society rather than nineteenth century. As such, I found myself constantly at a loss. Before reading this book, I thought I had a good handle on the manners of the period. I know the difference between a barouche, a phaeton, and a curricle, and that a lady would never stand up and leave a conversation, and that men knew classical languages and women, only modern. And yet, I was utterly confus ...more
 Carol ♔ Type, Oh Queen! ♔
3.5

This is the oldest work I have ever read by a female writer.

I enjoyed this book at the start & 18th century life (particularly in London) really came alive for me! & I admired Evelina's courage when she was left vulnerable in so many situations.

the way through & my enjoyment started to ebb. This is because Evelina was left vulnerable in so many situations! By this time I had realised ( duh!) that I was reading a satire, but a lot of it felt quite repetitive & I was thinking,
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Yamini
Nov 13, 2015 Yamini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-print, classics, 50-ww
The only thing that halts this from being a 5 star read is that while this book is clearly very satirical, there were some parts of the novel that somewhat made me uncomfortable. (view spoiler)

However, I do wish more novels such as these e
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Alex
Feb 18, 2016 Alex rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014, rth-lifetime
Saw With Manners

"How in the world can you contrive to pass your time?"
"In a manner which your Lordship will think very extraordinary; for the young lady reads."

First the good news: Evelina is a story about introverts in love, and it has moments that are lovely. I recognized my introverted wife in several passages. Burney has an insightful touch with characterization, and an engaging writing style. Evelina is rarely compelling to read, but it's usually pleasant.

Now for the bad news: unfortunately
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Ellen
Jul 13, 2010 Ellen rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels


If you think about the heroines in 18th century literature, most of them have a rather arduous time, e.g., Moll Flanders’ hard knock life (Defoe), Clarissa’s determination to endure and persevere (Richardson), Pamela’s dull, methodical virtue (Richardson), or Emily’s inability to understand the floor plan (Radcliffe). In contrast, Evelina's character exudes spontaneity, and the book—particularly set against the darker novels of this age—seems sunny in comparison.

Her novel is a true bildungsroman
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Shala Howell
Jan 29, 2009 Shala Howell rated it liked it
I read this because I was curious to know more about the novels Jane Austen herself read. And I must say that while this book has its strong points, its main effect is to increase my respect for how Austen reshaped the novel form. Burney's book is amusing, but the characters seem to be defined almost entirely by a single characteristic. They are either all good or all bad, entirely proper or thoroughly vulgar, fully conscious or fainted dead away. There is little development of character through ...more
Sherwood Smith
Jan 25, 2011 Sherwood Smith added it
Shelves: fiction
This reread struck me with just how thin the veneer of civilization is. Burney was in her mid-twenties when she wrote this (and had probably been writing versions of it for ten years); the central romance is very nearly bloodless, Evelina and Lord Orville being such paragons. Their relationships is only interesting when Evelina thinks he wrote her an offensive letter, but one can just make out some human interest in the two when Orville keeps coming across Evelina in the most surprising places. ...more
Justin Evans
Mar 05, 2013 Justin Evans rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I'll admit that reading 18th century fiction is sometimes harder than I'd like it to be. The authors either don't know, or just don't abide by, the rules of fiction that we're all used to. But more and more often I'm struck instead by the sheer joy and verve that animates 18th century novels, and that often seems to have gone missing in the twentieth century--and, obviously, this very much the case with Evelina. There's not a whole lot of unity to the tale, and there are plenty of scenes that Bu ...more
Abigail Bok
Mar 31, 2015 Abigail Bok rated it really liked it
Fanny Burney is like Jane Austen in pupal stage. Her novels use the same marriage plot as the frame for social satire; but what was in Burney’s writing the promise of this premise was only elevated to high art by Austen. Evelina is supposed to have been Jane Austen’s favorite novel, and indeed one can often find echoes of familiar Austen characters or phrases in the book, betraying how deeply familiar it was to her (it was published in 1778, when Jane Austen was a toddler). One can’t read “Remem ...more
Brad
Mar 22, 2008 Brad rated it really liked it
I read Evelina for a class examining the British novel. The epistolary nature of this novel makes it an interesting read because everything communicated has already happened. I found the social customs and faux pas' of the era to be somewhat fascinating. The story is both funny and serious, sweet and sour, and happy and sad. It has twists that you would never expect to see. If you enjoy books like Pride and Prejudice, you would extract much enjoyment from Evelina.
Summer
Jan 15, 2008 Summer rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone with a romantic nature
I know the exact date I read this book because right after I finished reading it - aloud, to my boyfriend - we eloped!!! We've been married seven years and while other couples have a song, we have a book...Evelina.
Seema Khan
3.5-4* for Evelina.

Well to start with, I had higher expectations from Evelina after having read Camilla and Cecilia because those books were outstanding! Maybe the epistolary nature of Evelina is the one thing which I was not comfortable with, because logically thinking it is though not impossible but very difficult to reproduce word to word accounts of the conversations one has had! And making a story flow in this medium was something I personally did not much like.

Then the other thing that re
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Kate
May 31, 2014 Kate rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england, read-in-2014
"Evelina, the first and best of Fanny Burney's novels, tells the story of a young girl, fresh from the provinces, whose initiation into the ways of the world is frequently painful, though it leads to self-discovery, moral growth, and finally, happiness. Hilarious comedy and moral gravity make the novel a fund of entertainment and wisdom. Out of the graceful shifts from the idyllic to the near-tragic and realistic, Evelina emerges as a fully realized character. And out of its treatment of contras ...more
Renee M
Jul 13, 2016 Renee M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are many things I liked about this story of an innocent in London Society, and other things which were quite tedious. The distinctly 18th Century humor is definitely not my thing. But here and there were glimpses of more subtlety. The epistolary style is also one which seems to have been quite popular in the time period. It can be used to great purpose. Here, I found it constricting in many ways... But it certainly underscores the isolation of Evelina in a world where those around her have ...more
Dana Loo
Jan 10, 2016 Dana Loo rated it liked it
Un romanzo di formazione tipicamente settecentesco in forma epistolare che, opportunamente contestualizzato, risulta abbastanza piacevole benché lo stile sia a tratti ridondante. Amato dalla Austen e citato nel suo Northanger Abbey, manca però dell'eleganza e della fine ironia tipica dell'autrice. La Burney estremizza dialoghi, caratteri e situazioni portandoli al limite del grottesco. Evelina è una giovane donna innocente e inesperta che ha sempre vissuto in campagna e che viene catapultata in ...more
Judy
Jan 10, 2011 Judy rated it it was amazing
Just started this, and can see already that I don't want to rush it! Written 1778, capturing the manners and concerns of genteel folk, and their wonderfully observant eyes and well-expressed thoughts...Interesting too to explore an important influence on Jane Austen.

Update: finished - and that was time well spent, I do declare! Mirth and merriment in abundance, though much of the humour has a theatrical/farcical quality, rather than the sophisticated or more intellectual kind which some prospect
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Karly Noelle Noelle
Oct 01, 2011 Karly Noelle Noelle rated it it was amazing
A delightful coming-of-age comedy of manners, Frances Burney's Evelina paved the way for the works of other women writers, such as Jane Austen, to write honestly and humorously about society and relations. This charming story focuses on the innocent young Evelina, who has lived a sheltered life in the country with an honorable old minister. She travels to London for the first time, and finds herself an object of fascination and attention wherever she goes. Told in a series of letters, Evelina he ...more
Sasha
May 14, 2012 Sasha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grad-school
In this 18th century novel (and precursor to Jane Austen's novels), the naïve young heroine, who has been raised in relative social isolation, finds herself exposed to the customs of polite English society on a trip to London with friends. She attends plays and operas, and learns proper etiquette for socializing in public through painful interaction (with gentlemen in particular). Unpracticed in maintaining public composure, Evelina laughs at the affected manners and speech of some gentlemen, an ...more
Lexxie (un)Conventional Bookviews
I own both the paperback and the kindle edition of this book, and I have read and rated both.

I had to read this for class, and while we only read the beginning in class, I found that to be so interesting I decided to write my final essay using this book. Now, I kind of wish I hadn't.

The pacing is frantic, and Evelina is always speaking quickly and loudly, even though everything actually happens in letters. Evelina's naïvete that I found so endearing in the beginning grated on my nerves after a w
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Shiloah
Absolutely delightful. I hope this book comes out from obscurity from which it's been hidden in our day. A well-done epistolary novel, Evelina contains drama, romance, scoundrels, and an unfolding of a parentage unknown. At times I felt I was reading Don Quixote, at times Jane Austen. So many times I wanted to slap Madam Duvall or speak up for Evelina. I'm certainly glad I don't have to suffer through the droll polite and often pretentious conversation of their day nowadays. There's so much more ...more
TL Clark (author of love)
Nov 07, 2015 TL Clark (author of love) rated it it was amazing
Oh, the folly of modesty and reserve; how much confusion is caused falsely in thy name?

I absolutely love this book! I can't believe I've only just discovered it.
It is one of the first romance novels, so do beware of ye olde language. But you do get used to it.

I found it amusing at how much chaos was caused by Evelina's purity and innocence.
How short this novel would have been if she lived today and was at once able to speak her mind!
But this is what makes the book so lovely.

There is absolutely
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Lise Petrauskas
I'm torn. On one hand this is an story about characters who excite very little emotion in my bosom. On the other, it is a novel that influenced my favorite author's own novels and is thus not only part of a literary timeline that intrigues me, but is a form of book I'm particularly susceptible to. I can't tell if the book feels dull for being overly familiar as a result of being a sort of blueprint for Austen or whether I've had one too many epistolary novels (Clarissa) for one little time, or w ...more
Tony
Dec 30, 2014 Tony rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, ebook
Frances Burney, the authoress who inspired the great Jane Austen. For the longest time I found the idea very difficult to accept until I finally decided to find out for myself what she was all about.

Evelina, Burney’s first published novel, written in epistolary form, was also a satire on the oppression of women in society. Evelina, the main character, is very similar to Austen’s Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey, both 17-year-olds at the opening of the stories. Burney succeeded in the use o
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Lucinda Elliot
I’ve finally finished this three volume marathon and I wish I could write a more positive review.

I am particularly sorry to write a largely negative one about a woman who wrote one of the first novels which highlight women’s issues, in however limited a fashion, and who so bravely underwent an amputation of the breast in the days before anaesthetics.

However, I do think that these points I make, which I haven’t found elsewhere, need saying.

I started off with high hopes, and if at first the heroin
...more
Sylvester
Sep 08, 2010 Sylvester rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio-book, classic
This was a well-written and refreshing book - my explanation for the two stars is that the plot was no great shakes, and even though I liked it, I didn't love it. The thing that makes "Evelina" different from the Austen or Bronte-type novels of manners is, well, rudeness. And it's a relief. It was almost modern at points; where Evelina, stuck with her horrible classless relatives, then runs into some of her more refined acquaintances and wants to sink into the ground with embarrassment? Who can' ...more
Kate
May 17, 2016 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, classics
3.75 social navigation stars

A truly fun read, that had me laughing at the ridiculous fops and tricks that happened in Evelina's company. The writing was not a difficulty as I have been exposed to other classics from the mid-late 18th Century, and the epistolary quality was effective. Also the levels of drama and emotion reminded me of Otranto and the coincidences in Victorian novels.
Irum Zahra
Jan 26, 2015 Irum Zahra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful.
This is one of the books I had on my shelf for a long time and I'm glad I read it.
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Women's Classic L...: Evelina 80 35 May 29, 2016 05:29AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please can these be merged/combined? 3 16 Apr 05, 2016 04:14AM  
500 Great Books B...: Evelina; or the History of a Young Lady's Entrance Into the World - Fanny Burney 2 13 Aug 25, 2014 10:40AM  
Just Literature: Evelina 1 9 May 25, 2014 04:21AM  
18th Century Enth...: Evelina by Frances Burney 1 8 Oct 19, 2012 05:06AM  
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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...

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“Unused to the situations in which I find myself, and embarassed by the slightest difficulties, I seldom discover, till too late, how I ought to act.” 25 likes
“Generosity without delicacy, like wit without judgement, generally gives as much pain as pleasure.” 24 likes
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