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Record 17593

Reading Experience:

'I have read some very delightful old books lately (for I now have just attained the wisdom to wish to make use of this ample library, and reject all borrowed or hired books) - Amongst others, two collections of letters, Sevigne's to her daughter, and Bussy Rabutin's to her and various others. The celebrity of these letters makes one ashamed to praise them; it is like saying Shakespear was a clever fellow: but I [underlined] will [end underlining] say, that their wit, their facility, their original humour; their arch simplicity, their every possible epistolary merit, surpass even their reputation. Having read a good many French Memoirs of that time, I enjoy the court details, and the scandal and gossip as much as Mde de Grignan could - and the witty stories occasionally inserted are [underlined] impayable [end underlining]. [SHB then describes at length the matter of some of the letters she has been reading, concluding...] It was a bright period for french intellects - Oh, how superior to the bright period of the Encyclopedists. at the time I am reading of, lived & wrote, Moliere, Corneille, Racine, La Rochfaucault [sic], Boilleau, celebrated Divines a million, and who were really good Christians; and Sevigne, and all her witty cluster of friends - and no jargon, & no frippery, & false philosophy among them - but sterling stuff, too good almost to be french'.
Century: 1800-1849
Date: Until: 1 Aug 1811
Country: England
Time: n/a
Place: city: London
specific address: Chelsea College
Type of Experience (Reader):
silent aloud unknown
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown
Type of Experience (Listener):
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown

Reader/Listener/Reading Group:

Reader:Sarah Harriet Burney
Age Adult (18-100+)
Gender Female
Date of Birth 29 Aug 1772
Socio-economic group: Professional / academic / merchant / farmer
Occupation: writer
Religion: n/a
Country of origin: England
Country of experience: England
Listeners present if any:
(e.g. family, servants, friends, workmates)
Additional comments: n/a


Text Being Read:

Author: Marie, marquise de Sevigne
Title: [letters to her daughter - exact title uncertain]
Genre: Autobiog / Diary, letters
Form of Text: Print: Book
Publication details: n/a
Provenance: owned
in her father's library


Source Information:

Record ID: 17593  
Source - Print  
  Author: Sarah Harriet Burney
  Editor: Lorna J. Clark
  Title: Letters of Sarah Harriet Burney, The
  Place of Publication: Athens GA / London
  Date of Publication: 1997
  Vol: n/a
  Page: 132
  Additional comments: n/a

Citation: Sarah Harriet Burney, Lorna J. Clark (ed.), Letters of Sarah Harriet Burney, The (Athens GA / London, 1997), p. 132,, accessed: 27 February 2024

Additional comments:

Letter to Charlotte Barrett, 1st Aug 1811.



Reading Experience Database version 2.0.  Page updated: 27th Apr 2016  3:15pm (GMT)