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Title: Frances Burney's musical inheritance : performance, professionalism and feminine identity in eighteenth-century culture
Author: Ulph, Cassandra Rose
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2012
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Frances Burney's early experiences of performance culture in her father Charles's musical household uniquely informed her own professional identity. The imagined continuity between the authorial body and its textual product parallels the physical exposure associated with performance professions, especially for women in a gender artistic culture. Burney's relationship with the literary hostess Hester Thrale illustrates the perpetuation of gendered models of cultural production and consumption in fashionable literary society. Burney's attempt to maintain an emotional, rather than intellectual, friendship with Thrale resists the cultural commodification that attends literary celebrity. The meritocratic, artistic-professional ethos of the Burney house offers an alternative to the producer-consumer paradigm of the fashionable drawing, room. Burney's correspondence with her sister Susan creates a microcosm of this ungendered, egalitarian creative household, and elevates the privacy of the domestic family as a creative space uninflected by specular relations. Burney's novels increasingly interrogate the eighteenth-century obsession with visibility; her Court Journals relate the infiltration by specular relations of even this most private of spaces, which is manifested in her later novels, particularly The Wanderer. While cultural participation and specialisation offers her heroines the potential for the development of an autonomous identity, the visibility of cultural artefacts invites appropriation of that identity by others. Furthermore, her novels demonstrate the increasing violence with which female authorial bodies are threatened through association with their public, textual product. Memoirs of Doctor Burney is the pinnacle of Burney's separation of private and professional identity. In rendering a public version of her father's life, Burney mobilises her professional persona in order to shield the familial, domestic privacy in which true creativity is possible. Bumey claims narrative authority that both invokes and supersedes her father's. This narration of her own creative origins is the ultimate metaphor for her confident literary autonomy.
Supervisor: Jones, V. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available