Classic English Literature.

Evelina by Frances Burney

I’ve finished it at last!

This book has been my companion during many babysitting escapades, and I have enjoyed reading it.

Now, I am not likely to return to it for a second reading anytime soon. But that’s not to say that it is not a good book. Set about 50 years before Pride and Prejudice, we see a story very similar to do with a young lady called Evelina Anville who is 17 years old and has to navigate London / Bath society while also trying to catch the eye of a Lord Orville and deter other ardent suitors.

Written in letter form, this book is a gem; a window into London society with its peculiarities. Some of it was difficult to dredge through, but it is not a quick read at over 400 pages long!

The characters are interesting, although some seem little more than ciphers to further develop Evelina’s character. I wasn’t sure about Lord Orville, her eventual husband, at the start of the book but by the end he clearly adores her and its always nice to end a book with a wedding.

If I had to study this book for university or A-Level then I don’t think I could. Its probably one of the books that everybody has in their old dusty library; but never actually read.
The fact that it is written in letter form shows us the wonderful use of language that is lost to us now as the internet and the maelstrom of cultures has taken over our language and volcabulary. I can almost imagine if someone decided to rewrite this book by using the Twitter 120 characters (per letter) then it will surely be a challenge. We barely write letters anymore. Maybe we should all give it a try.

It also hasn’t been made into a movie. If there are any filmmakers who are brave (or foolish) enough to take up the challenge of making it, then it would certainly be a thing to see but in our modern society do we have the mental space for yet more films based on comedies of manners?

I sleep now.


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