Novelist and playwright Frances (Fanny) Burney, 1752-1840, was also a prolific writer of journals and letters, beginning with the diary she started at fifteen and continuing until the end of her eventful life. From her youth in London high society to a period in the court of Queen Charlotte and her years interned in France with her husband Alexandre d'Arblay during the Napoleonic Wars, she captured the changing times around her, creating brilliantly comic and candid portraits of those she encountered - including the 'mad' King George, Samuel Johnson, Sir Joshua Reynolds, David Garrick and a charismatic Napoleon Bonaparte. She also describes, in her most moving piece, undergoing a mastectomy at fifty-nine without anaesthetic. Whether a carefree young girl or a mature woman, Fanny Burney's forthright, intimate and wickedly perceptive voice brings her world powerfully to life.
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