Book Launch | Frances Burney’s “Evelina” : The Book, its History, and its Paratext
Join author Svetlana Kochkina for the launch of the book Frances Burney’s “Evelina”: The Book, its History, and its Paratext. All McGill faculty, students, and staff members are welcome.
About the book
Evelina, the first novel by Frances Burney, published in 1778, enjoys lasting popularity among the reading public. Tracing its publication history through 174 editions, adaptations, and reprints, many of them newly discovered and identified, this book demonstrates how the novel’s material embodiment in the form of the printed book has been reshaped by its publishers, recasting its content for new generations of readers. Four main chapters vividly describe how during 240 years, Evelina, a popular novel of manners, metamorphosed without any significant alterations to its text into a Regency “rambling” text, a romantic novel for “lecteurs délicats,” a cheap imprint for circulating libraries, a yellow-back, a book with a certain aesthetic cachet, a Christmas gift-book, finally becoming an integral part of the established literary canon in annotated scholarly editions. This book also focuses on the remodelling and transformation of the paratext in this novel, written by a woman author, by the heavily male-dominated publishing industry. Shorter Entr’acte sections discuss and describe alterations in the forms of Burney’s name and the title of her work, the omission and renaming of her authorial prefaces, and the redeployment of the publisher’s prefatorial apparatus to support particular editions throughout almost two-and-a-half centuries of the novel’s existence. Illustrated with reproductions of covers, frontispieces, and title pages, the book also provides an illuminating insight into the role of Evelina’s visual representation in its history as a marketable commodity, highlighting the existence of editions targeting various segments of the book market: from the upper-middle-class to mass-readership. The first comprehensive and fully updated bibliography of English and translated editions, adaptations, and reprints of Evelina published in 13 languages and scripts appears in an appendix.