An authoritative biography of the first truly literary woman novelist in English whose life, spanning the years 1752 to 1840, embraced the worlds of music, literature, politics, English Court life and the French Revolution.
In 1767, on her 15th birthday, Fanny Burney decided her career as a writer was over, and made a bonfire of all her works in the yard of her father's London house. Fanny Burney was genuinely worried that she might turn into an author, a fate incompatible - for a woman - with respectability.
Her hope was in vain. Not only was she to write four novels - 'Evelina', 'Cecilia', 'Camilla' and 'The Wanderer' - but she also kept a voluminous diary for the next 70 years and was a prolific letter-writer. Daughter of the eminent music historian Dr Charles Burney, editor of his famous 'Memoirs'; friend of Sheridan, Garrick, Burke, Boswell and Johnson; second keeper of the robes to George III's Queen Charlotte; wife to French refugee aristocrat, General d-Arblay; detained for 10 years in revolutionary France; victim of mastectomy without anaesthetic . . . Fanny Burney's life was as eventful as any novel.