London: T. Payne and Son, 1782. First Editions. 12mo. Item #022113
In five volumes. (1)pp. advertisement after title page. The author's second book. Evelina, her first book was written anonymously but became surprisingly popular. Burney laid the ground work for female novelists to come. She improved the respectability of the female writer. The contents of her books were considered proper even for the eyes of young ladies, and she displayed modesty in her personal life. Burney’s works have more in common with Samuel Richardson’s Pamela than Eliza Haywood’s Love in Excess, but Burney’s novels depict more realistic female heroines. Anne Radcliffe, Maria Edgeworth, and Jane Austen were all subscribers to the serialization of Burney’s Camilla, and all owe Burney a debt for advancing the popularity of the courtship novel and the possibility of women being considered as novelists of worth. In total, she wrote four novels, eight plays, one biography and twenty volumes of journals and letters. In one of her journals, she described in detail the horrendous mastectomy she underwent during a time of no anesthesia, miraculously she survived the ordeal. The surgery was done in 1811 and she eventually died in 1840. An exceptionally nice set, earlier rebacking to style retaining the original marbled endpapers, raised bands with black and maroon spine labels gilt, neat contemporary owner's name, only an occasional spot of foxing. A beautiful set. Scarce.