Friday, 11 October 2013

11 death

Make your nine lives last and last
For I cannot face your death

page 31 eleventh word death
Fanny Burney, A Biography
Claire Harman

I'm usually drawn to biographies of authors because I loved their books. That wasn't the case here. I'd heard about Fanny up and down the years in connection to different strands of literary history and jumped into this book without reading any of her work. A later look at her novels showed her to be funny,  incisive and  highly satirical, and no doubt a great influence on later writers such as Jane Austen ( to whom she had some connections). She was a prolific journal writer, giving us an authentic insight into 18th century politics, society and culture. And quite simply, she had an extraordinary life. In her 40's she had a lump removed from her breast - without an anaesthetic- which she later wrote about with great dramatic flair and in great detail, sparing us nothing. It probably wasn't cancerous, as she lived to be 87. There are three or four accounts of womens' lives that I have read and re-read and would recommend to anyone. This is one of them.

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