Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Evelina, or the History of a Young Lady - Fanny Burney

Evelina is a young woman, well educated yet sheltered from the ways of the world. She is raised in rural seclusion, the unacknowledged but legitimate daughter of a dissipated English aristocrat. When she is seventeen she is allowed to spend time in London and there quickly finds herself immersed in the world of the English aristocracy, frequenting balls, becoming familiar with lords and visiting all the fashionable establishments. When her poor cousins insist on her spending time with them she is then exposed to a completely different world occupying the same topography but further away from her previous existence than a foreign country. This leads to some humorous moments (it seems there were more prostitutes wandering the Covey gardens then I had previously thought, something Jane Austin never mentions.)

Told through a series of letters, this book was much better than I was anticipating. Evelina seemed like an adorable younger sister that still has a lot of growing up to do, but her faults are from inexperience rather from lack of trying. She is altogether too malleable and could have done with a little more backbone on occasion, but all in all she was a worthy protagonist. I think if anything the moments of "satire" were a little too much. In this sense Evelina was a foil for the satire to take place around her while she went about her business of being a reliable, estimable heroine. The satire, I guess, was most evident in a couple characters never ending desire to make fun of the aristocracy with endless jokes, pranks and melodrama. I could have done with a bit less/none of it...

 After my second book now told through the exchange of letters maybe I'll finally be brave enough to attempt Clarissa (all million, zillion pages of it.) 

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Henry V - William Shakespeare

In this essay, I will examine the rhetorical and dramatic effectiveness of King Henry’s speech to the Governor of Harfluer in Act 3 Scene 4 ...