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Written by Rachel G
(3/1/2009 6:30 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Chapter 1: Heroine, penned by Lynn
I think that the description of the heroine at the start of Fanny Burney's novel "Cecilia" (published 1782)is a pretty good example of the sort of stereotypical heroine that JA sought to contrast when she created Catherine Morland as a resolutely normal, unremarkable heroine. I've quoted the first four paragraphs almost full to give you the flavour:
"Peace to the spirits of my honoured parents, respected be their
"Such was the secret prayer with which the only survivor of the
Cecilia, this fair traveller, had lately entered into the one-and-twentieth year of her age. Her ancestors had been rich farmers in the county of Suffolk, though her father, in whom a spirit of elegance had supplanted the rapacity of wealth, had spent his time as a private country gentleman, satisfied, without increasing his store, to live upon what he inherited from the labours of his predecessors. She had lost him in her early youth, and her mother had not long survived him. They had bequeathed to her 10,000 pounds, and consigned her to the care of the Dean of ------, her uncle. .... a few weeks only had yet elapsed since (her uncle's) death, which, by depriving her of her last relation, made her heiress to an estate of 3000 pounds per annum .....
But though thus largely indebted to fortune, to nature she had yet greater obligations: her form was elegant, her heart was liberal; her countenance announced the intelligence of her mind, her complexion varied with every emotion of her soul, and her eyes, the heralds of her speech, now beamed with understanding and now glistened with sensibility....."
Ugh - I hate Cecilia already! Give me an ignorant, almost pretty Catherine Morland and her down-to earth family any day!
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