The construction of family in Frances Burney's Evelina

Date
2003-12-30
Authors
Randall, Brittany
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Abstract

In Frances Burney's Evelina, the heroine searches for a family in an effort to secure social, mental, and emotional stability. Ultimately, she constructs through her experiences and affiliations a meaning of family dependent on past, present, and future relationships and circumstances. This thesis explores one, familial references in eighteenth-century primary texts and the roles and relationships of studied family members; two, the strands apparent in both Burney's life and her novel, which center on the themes of abandonment, familial conflict, and worldly influence and demonstrate the author's close identification with her text; and three, Evelina's family units (Mirvan, Branghton, Villars, Duval, Belmont, and Orville) and the various ways each impacts the heroine's “entrance into the world.”

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Keywords
Social sciences, Language, literature, and linguistics, British and Irish literature, Womens studies, Frances Burney
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