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Cecilia: or Memoirs of an Heiress [Paperback]

Fanny Burney
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 9 2008 Oxford World's Classics
Cecilia is an heiress, but she can only keep her fortune if her husband will consent to take her surname. Fanny Burney's unusual love story and deft social satire was much admired on its first publication in 1782 for its subtle interweaving of comedy, humanity, and social analysis. Controversial in its time, this eighteenth-century novel seems entirely fresh in relation to late twentieth-century concerns.

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Product Description


'scholarly edition ... a welcome addition to the roster of available eighteenth-century texts ... Scholars will undoubtedly prefer this edition of Cecilia for its textual accuracy and will appreciate the help that the various appendices and the annotation will give to students' Elizabeth Brophy, College of New Rochelle, Eighteenth-Century Fiction

About the Author

Peter Sabor is Professor of English at Queen's University, Ontario. Margaret Anne Doody is Professor of English at Princeton.

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Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly Modern Dec 4 2001
Oh what a treat! Don't be dismayed by the length, this is delightful! Unlike most authors of long fiction, Burney actually manages to stay on task and not wander into thoughts of war and whatever. This book is 941 pages because 941 pages of things happen. This is the story of Cecilia, a young heiress from the country. When her family dies she is left with three guardians: the proud Mr. Delvile, the miserly Mr. Briggs, and the husband of her childhood friend, Mr. Harrel. She moves in with the Harrels and is escorted into the London high life - parties, visiting, the opera, and scores of gentleman anxious to make the acquaintence of a beautiful heiress. Cecilia is not impressed. The commentary on 18th Century London life is scathing - and remarkably apropos to modern life as well.
One night at a masquerade ball she is saved from the devil, or a partier dressed as such, by a charming man in a domino, the first real person Cecilia has met. He knows who she is, where she comes from, and who her guardians are, but Cecilia cannot even discover his name. At the end of the evening he disappears, but the seeds of love are planted - if only Cecilia knew who he was! Thoughts of her new acquaintence are interrupted though, as she realizes that the Harrels are quickly going in to more debt than they will every be able to pay off, and their party train is not slowing down for the emminent crash to come.
The most amazing thing about this book is how modern it is. Though set in the late 18th century, the problems and scenarios transfer easily into our modern conscious. One of the central issues in the novel is that Cecilia will lose her inheritance if whoever she marries does not take her last name. Have we as a society yet gotten over this? Not by a long shot.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Burney's Best July 14 2004
By Elvera
The first book i read by this authour was Evelina and I decided when i finished it that it was definetly the best book she wrote (even though i hadn't read any other book by her then) but my mind surely changed after I read this absolutley AWESOME book Cecilia!!
I would recomened this book to people who liked her other books and who adore Jane Austen's.
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4.0 out of 5 stars My favorite Burney! June 15 2004
This is my favorite of Burney's works, because the heroine has a mind of her own, and Burney doesn't insist that we feel sorry for her the entire novel.
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