A Tale in Two Cities : Fanny Burney and Adele, Comtesse de Boigne
by Brian Unwin
Editor: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.
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Fanny Burney and Adèle, Countess de Boigne, were two of the most remarkable female writers of the late 18th and early 19th centuries: one famous novelist, the other an aristocrat from one of the oldest families in France.It was the tumultuous era that saw the French Revolution, the Napoleonic years and the July 1830 French Revolution; and in England the “madness” of George III and the period of extravagant regency.Fanny and Adele were strong characters in the same way – both were fiercely intelligent and closely involved with the social and political issues of the day – but came from very different backgrounds.While Adele was born in the French aristocracy – and grew up in Versailles – Fanny came from a rather less favourable, but extremely cultured family and made her name as one of the best-selling novelists of the day.The two women used memoirs, journals and newspapers to document their lives in the high spheres of society in England and France, commenting with sparkling wit and acariatre observation on their encounters with several of the great figures of the time – including Napoleon’s Family, Wellington, Talleyrand, Castlereagh, Chateaubriand, Dr Johnson, David Garrick, Madame de Staël and theAlthough both women have lived for long periods of time in different countries (mainly Paris and London) and live in the same social circles, surprisingly they never meet in person.Yet they meet the same people and comment on the same eventsThrough the observations of these extremely well-served and brilliant writers, Brian Unwin offers a fresh and fascinating insight into some of the major events and people of one of the most seminal and turbulent periods in modern European history.
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