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Evelina, the first of Burney's novels, was published anonymously and brought her immediate fame. It tells the story of a young girl, fresh from the provinces, whose initiation into the ways of the world is frequently painful, though it leads to self-discovery, moral growth, and, finally, happiness. Hilarious comedy and moral gravity make the novel a fund of entertainment and wisdom. Out of the graceful shifts from the idyllic to the near-tragic and realistic, Evelina emerges as a fully realized character. And out of its treatment of contrasts - the peace of the countryside and the cultured and social excitement of London and Bristol, the crowd of life-like vulgarians and the elegant gentry - the novel reveals superbly the life and temper of eighteenth-century England, as seen through the curious eyes of its young heroine. Edward A. Bloom has edited the text from the rare first edition of 1778. [via]