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Evelina (Oxford World's Classics) 1st Edition

103 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199536931
ISBN-10: 0199536937
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Editorial Reviews


`Fanny Burney's first novel Evelina was the chick-lit novel of 1778 - all about a young girl's adventures in London, and one of the best of its kind ever written...the Oxford World's Classics edition has a knowledgeable preface by Edward A. Bloom' Derwent May, the Times

From the Publisher

The Broadview Literary Texts series is an effort to represent the ever-changing canon of literature in English by bringing together texts long regarded as classics with valuable, though lesser-known literature --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (December 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199536937
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199536931
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 1 x 5.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Gwyn Gwyrdd on July 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
The mention of Ms. Burney in Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey is what originally drew me to this book and it has, without a doubt, become a personal favorite.
Evelina is our heroine, sent to town by her guardian to enter society. Her guardian, who raised her after her mother faced an unfortunate early demise, is a country parson. Evelina's father, of noble blood, is guilty of denying his legal marriage to her mother and essentially putting her out on the streets, and has refused to acknowledge or support Evelina through the years. She has now grown to a great beauty and has been raised with a very innocent and gentle disposition.
When thrown into the midst of a worldly London society, she faces one embarrassing circumstance after another. Surrounded by nothing less than idiots, she is faced with many situations which require wisdom and guts. Not unlike Bridget Jones's Diary, Evelina's story is told through letters, which may make this period novel easier to read for some, but may also at times be confusing if you forget who is writing to whom. This letter format can also seem unrealistic at moments but is forgiven as easily as we forgive some of the unrealistic format of "Bridget Jones". Another note, there are so many passes in this book that singletons could almost use it as a field guide to the world of men.
There are some twists throughout to keep your mind turning and your heart flying and sinking. At times, this lighthearted novel is incredibly moving (i.e. Evelina's reunion with her father)and of course, the ending is sweet and satisfying.
Overall, Jane Austen's inspiration is a marvelous, lovely, and surprisingly modern read.
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By tobb delow on July 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
Fanny Burney was a big influence on Jane Austen, but she has significant differences. Burney was an urban sophisticate, sexually aware, and with a taste for slapstick humor--and far less sentimental.

The beginning of Evelina is a little hard to get through, but once the title character appears it will have been worth it. Evelina is a country girl who comes to the big city and makes every possible faux pas. Along the way she faces near incest, a bitch of a grandmother, other embarrassing relatives, near rape, clinging prostitutes, and a mischievous monkey. The book is full of unforgettable scenes that stick with you long after you close the cover.

But for all the humor, the book is also moving as Evelina it traces Evelina's moral growth.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Emily Snyder on February 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
As part of a group read, I picked up a week late"Evelina" from my local library. I wasn't quite sure whatto expect - certainly this would be no Tom Jones, but it wouldn't be Austen either - however what I found was a pleasant epistolary jaunt through a young girl's first season out. A jaunt, which, although begun a week late was quickly finished two weeks early! Customary to 18th century novels, Evelina's history is somewhat romantic, both her guardian and the hero impossibly good (a refreshing novelty, if a little sappy in places. They were apparently active members in the Mutual Admiration Society), and the secondary characters ridiculously vulgar. As Burney's first novel, the work shows some awkwardness in construction, but is otherwise excellent. Readers of modern romances may find the heros a bit formal, and fans of Jane Austen may find the epistlotary form unbelievable, but both they and lovers of historical fiction would do well to invest in this book, which provides an excellent glance into the end of an era, and one charming heroine's attempt to muddle through it. END
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By dependableguy on August 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
Like another reviewer, I too was introduced to "Evelina" through a college course. Naturally I recommend this book to those who enjoy the novels of Jane Austen, though I'd imagine her fans would already be familiar with Burney since she was Austen's predecessor and inspiration. But specifically, as a male reader, I'd like to point out what men could gain from reading a novel about "a Young Lady's Entrance into the World."

First, the novel is written as a collection of letters--mostly Evelina's, though we do get to read many of the replies--which allows us to experience the story through the mind of a young woman in a personal, intimate way. Male readers, both in Burney's time and ours, are given a vivid picture of how women experienced the social world of eighteenth-century England. I must admit that at several points in the novel I was embarassed to witness things I have said and done to "court" a woman today done pretty much the same way toward Evelina--and realized how ridiculous it looks from the other end. The experience has been educational, to say the least.

Secondly, the plot is well-developed and keeps your interest throughout. The two big mysteries of the novel are whether Evelina will be officially acknowledged by her biological father and be reunited with him (he refused to raise her, and her mother died during childbirth), and which of her suitors she will end up with. A note on the two principal suitors: one could be seen as Burney's picture of a man who knows how to treat women right, and the other is quite the opposite. I certainly learned much from both examples.

Thirdly, Burney was one intellectually sharp lady and no man should think this novel is a sappy romance. Far from it.
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