The History of Caroline Evelyn

The History of Caroline Evelyn had a very short life. Unfortunately for us Fanny Burney fans there is no existing copy and there hasn’t been since 1767 the year of its creation and the year that Fanny burnt the manuscript.

When Fanny Burney was fifteen her father remarried. She began to feel pressure to give up her writing according to her own diaries of the time. Fanny believed that writing was making her “unladylike. She was also concerned that it “might vex Mrs. Allen” her fathers new wife. Despite this rejection of her creativity, Fanny kept writing her diaries and she gives an account of her emotions at the time.

On the plus side Fanny did make use of her ideas and characters when writing her masterpiece, the novel Evelina. In Evelina, we follow the life of the fictional Caroline Evelyn’s daughter.

Fanny Burney also destroyed many of her diary entries from this period. Its a temptation for any diarist after all. Fortunately, despite her savage editing,  Lars Troide and Joyce Hemlow recovered much of the obscured material while researching their late 20th-century editions of the journals and letters.