History and Goals of the Burney Society
The Burney Society honours Frances Burney d'Arblay (1752-1840), a woman who recorded everything from Johnsonian wit to George III's fits, from Evelina's entrance into the world to Napoleon's last stand. Her acute observations about her family, friends, and 18th-century society show us how much, and how little, life and literature have changed in two centuries.
Her works played an essential role in the development of the novel and made writing women respectable. Her four novels--Evelina, Cecilia, Camilla, and The Wanderer--influenced and inspired a generation of writers, led by Jane Austen, who repaid her predecessor with a tribute in Northanger Abbey. Burney's father suppressed all but one of her plays in her lifetime, but since the plays were first published as a collection in 1995, her ability as a playwright can now be appreciated. As we read her novels and diaries, we find ourselves drawn into her life, which spanned five reigns. We understand her, suffer with her (her account of a mastectomy without anaesthesia made medical history) and rejoice with her. Her powers of expression and observation make it seem as if she herself has stepped off the page and into the present.
For all these reasons, The Burney Society was founded in New Orleans by Paula Stepankowsky, Lucy Magruder, and Dr. Jacqueline Reid-Walsh. Membership now numbers about 120 in Great Britain, the United States, Canada, and Australia. The purpose of the society is to promote the study and appreciation of Burney's works and of the life and times of her and her family.
For more information on the upcoming Burney Society of North America Conference, see our Conferences and Events page.
Burney Society UK Research Bursary 2021-2022
This Bursary is open to post-graduate students, recent graduates, and independent researchers who wish to undertake research on the Burney family and their wider circle. Research should be based on, but need not be restricted to, UK archives and records.
An award of £300 will be made towards any justifiable expenses incurred during the research. Expenses could include access to archival and other research materials, photocopying, scanning, childcare, travel, and accommodation expenses. The Bursary includes complimentary membership of the Burney Society UK for 2021-2022.
The successful candidate will be expected to undertake this research by early September 2022 and write a paper for the Burney Society AGM in late September 2022. This paper will also be considered for our Newsletter and website.
Application form and additional information available from https://burneysociety.uk/research-bursary
The deadline for applications is 30th April 2021 and the winner will be informed in June 2021.
For further information or queries please email Gillian Skinner at ukburneysociety [at] gmail.com