History: E211_Burney

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Assigned: from Journals and Letters (2783-2805).

From Journals and Letters

1. In the selection "Mr. Barlow's Proposal" (2812-15), how does Burney capture the "genre-like" quality of proposal and rejection? What things generally -- one might almost say universally -- happen when one person professes love for another person who cannot accept it?

2. In the selection "Down with Her, Burney!" (2815-16), how does Burney's account of Samuel Johnson compare to the characterizations we find in Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D? Is Burney's Dr. Johnson much like Boswell's, or are they different? Explain.

3. In the selection "A Young and Agreeable Infidel" (2816-19), what exactly makes the woman Burney describes an "infidel"? How does Frances manage the conversation to bring out the woman's opinions and qualities, and what judgment does she make of them?

4. In the selection "Encountering the King" (2819-21), what symptoms does George III (who suffered from porphyria) show during his chance meeting with Frances? But more particularly, what is it about Burney's narrative style that makes her account so effective in conveying a sense of her encounter with the King?

5. In the selection "A Mastectomy" (2822-2827), how does Burney accomplish the difficult task of making readers understand what it felt like to undergo a radical mastectomy without anesthesia? (See the offsite excerpt Surgery Before Anesthesia. It is difficult even to imagine this sort of experience today -- but what is it about Burney's "life writing" that makes it to some degree accessible?

Edition. Greenblatt, Stephen et al., eds. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 8th ed. New York: Norton, 2006. Package 1 (Vols. ABC) ISBN 0-393-92833-0.


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