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In the last decade of her life Fanny Burney (now Madame d'Arblay, widow of the French émigré General Alexandre d'Arblay), having finished her revision of her father's memoirs for publication,1 turned her attention more exclusively to the 10,000 pages of her own manuscript journals and letters.2 Her concerns in this massive undertaking were both prudential and artistic. Her primary aim was to excise from the manuscripts any passages that might give offence to persons, or the family of persons, mentioned in them, or that might show herself or her own family in an unfavourable light. A second aim was to cut out material that she judged to be trivial or repetitious or too personal to be of interest to the general public. A final goal, with special regard to the early journals, was to smooth out the occasional bad grammar and stylistic inelegancies of her youth, clarifying the writing where it was needed, tightening or unifying the narrative for greater dramatic effect, and sometimes inserting new passages of fine writing (which as often as not have no real relevance to the original text).

Madame d'Arblay's depredations on the text, though bad throughout, are especially evident in the so-called 'juvenile journals' (her own term) of 1768–77, written before the publication of Evelina. The entire journal for 1776 and half or more of 1772 and 1777 have been destroyed totally. The pages remaining from these years, about 800, contain 4,000 lines heavily obliterated by Madame d'Arblay. On the other hand, she has retraced the writing on many pages where the original ink has faded to near-illegibility. In some instances it is evident that the 'retracing' is in fact a substitution for the original writing, which has virtually disappeared. (The present editor has tried to be alert to these deceptive passages, reading beneath the substitutions where possible.)

pg xxviOn her death, in January 1840, Madame d'Arblay left all her own manuscripts to her niece and literary executrix, Mrs Charlotte Barrett.3 Mrs Barrett soon entered into an agreement with Henry Colburn for their publication and undertook the further editing of them. At first it was intended that the journals and letters be published from the very beginning, that is, from 1768. Editorial notations on the manuscript indicate that the journals for 1768 and 1769 were actually in the printing office, and the rest of the juvenile journals were also marked to be sent there. After a while, however, it became apparent to Colburn and Mrs Barrett that there was far too much material for all of it to be included in the edition. Consequently, as part of a way of reducing this material, the decision was made to drop the juvenile journals entirely. In a note to the Diary and Letters (i. 2), Mrs Barrett explained this decision as follows:

… it has been thought right to withhold [the juvenile diary]—at least for the present;—for though it is, to the family and friends of the writer, quite as full of interest as the subsequent portions, the interest is of a more private and personal nature than that which attaches to the Journal after its writer became universally known as the authoress of 'Evelina', 'Cecilia', &c.

Mrs Barrett's edition, focusing largely on the Streatham and Court Journals of 1778 to 1791, came out in seven volumes between 1842 and 1846. Following the death of Colburn, in 1857, Mrs Barrett bought back, at the sale of his stock and copyrights (25 May 1857), 'the original manuscript of Madame d'Arblay's Diary and Correspondence' which she had given to Colburn and which, she claimed, he had kept illegally. She also purchased 'The Juvenile Journal of Miss Fanny Burney, (Madame d'Arblay). A Transcribed Copy, Prepared for the Press: and, also, the original manuscript from which the transcribed copy was made… .'4 Upon Mrs Barrett's own death in 1870 these materials passed to her son, the Revd Richard Arthur Francis Barrett (d. 1881), and thence to his niece Mrs Etta Chappel, who turned them over to her sister, Mrs Julia Caroline (Maitland) Wauchope (1843–90), wife of the Revd David Wauchope (1825–1911).5

pg xxviiIn June 1885 the publisher George Bell approached the Wauchopes about the possibility of publishing the juvenile journals, proposing as editor Mrs Annie Raine Ellis,6 the author of Sylvestra, who had edited Evelina and Cecilia for him. The Wauchopes, with Mrs Chappell's consent, quickly gave their permission and by September had sent the manuscript of the juvenile journals to Mrs Ellis at her summer home in Berkshire. For the next two years Mrs Ellis worked industriously on the journals, using first the original manuscript and later also the transcribed copy noted above, which she received belatedly from Mrs Chappel. In the course of her labours she consulted the whole range of the Burney materials in the Wauchopes' possession and employed the resources of the Bodleian and British Libraries. In July 1887 she sent to Bell the last of her edited copy, but publication was delayed until January 1890, when The Early Diary of Frances Burney appeared in two octavo volumes (with the imprint date of 1889).7

In editing the juvenile journals Mrs Ellis ignored the copious deletion marks made by Mrs Barrett, choosing instead to print the entire manuscript as far as possible. In pursuit of this aim she apparently, with the Wauchopes' permission, steamed off a number of blank paste-overs which Mrs Barrett had imposed on the manuscript, though some seventy of these remained for the 'float-off operation mentioned below. In preparing her copy, however, Mrs Ellis failed to distinguish between the original text and Madame d'Arblay's later additions and substitutions. A later, anonymous editor largely remedied this defect in a 1907 reprint of The Early Diary by enclosing Madame d'Arblay's passages in square brackets. Still undeciphered, pg xxviiihowever, were the 4,000 lines in the manuscript which had been obliterated by Madame d'Arblay.

The Early Diary was reprinted again, this time without revisions, in 1913.8 In 1924 the manuscript of the juvenile journals, along with Fanny's later journals and most of the miscellaneous correspondence not inserted by her in the journals, was sold by the Wauchope family to a London bookseller, who in turn sold it to the lawyer-industrialist Mr Owen D. Young of Van Hornesville, New York, and of New York City. These manuscripts were transferred in 1941 to the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library, where they now remain. The residue of Fanny's manuscripts belonging to the Wauchopes was sold in 1952 by Ann Julia Wauchope (1866–1962) to the British Library.


1 The Memoirs of Doctor Burney, mostly FBA's narrative with excerpts from CB's memoirs, was published in 3 vols., 8vo in 1832.

2 For a detailed history of the Burney manuscripts and their editing by FBA, Mrs Barrett, and Henry Colburn, the reader is referred to Professor Hemlow's introduction to JL i, pp. xxi-lvi.

3 CB's manuscripts were left to her nephew Charles Parr Burney. Most of these eventually found their way to the Osborn Collection of Yale University.

4 Sale catalogue, items 1015 and 1016, cited in JL i, p. xlv.

5 See Joyce Hemlow, A Catalogue of the Burney Family Correspondence 1749–1878 (New York, 1971), p. xiii. The story of Mrs Ellis's edition of the juvenile journals is contained in the correspondence between the Wauchopes, Mrs Ellis, and George Bell, 1885–90, in the British Library and the Gloucestershire Record Office (D2227, on deposit from the Viner-Brady family).

6 Mrs Annie Raine Ellis (c.1829–1901) was the eldest daughter of the Revd James Raine (1791–1858), historian of Durham and founder of the Surtees Society. She married Edmund Viner Ellis of Sherborne House, Gloucester. Besides Sylvestra: Studies of Manners in England from 1770 to 1800 (1881), she was author of Marie; or, Glimpses of Life in France (1879). Her editions of Evelina and Cecilia appeared in 1881 and 1882.

7 A clipping of a review in The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science, and Art, lxix (1 Mar. 1890), 263–5, is with Mrs Ellis's letters to the Wauchopes in the British Library.

8 As part of Bohn's Popular Library, published by George Bell and Sons. The Diary had been printed in 1907 as part of Bohn's Standard Library. It was reprinted once more in 1970, by the Arno Press (New York).

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