Published online by Cambridge University Press: 19 August 2019
Chapter 2 reveals the frustrating and interminable process of revision for Frances Burney in a survey of all of her novels. Her first two novels, Evelina (1778) and Cecilia (1782), reveal that she submitted to the actual and perceived criticisms of family and friends in ways that diminished her initial innovative aims, including the deletion of a scene containing satanic rites in her Cecilia manuscript. Burney’s last two novels evince a reversal in her revision practices and display her later-in-life tendencies toward verbal excess. Her post-publication revisions to Camilla (1796) show her inability to moderate repetitive characterization and Gothicize her text in the case of the tantalizingly unfinished third edition. As with her changes to later editions of Camilla, Burney’s planned revisions to The Wanderer (1814) were motivated by her dissatisfaction with negative reviews and her unwillingness to relinquish control of her novels. Her final revisions demonstrate her recognition of the never-ending potential of the early novel form.