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The Lady with the Balloon Hat

The Lady with the Balloon Hat

Vagaries and Fancies around "Opening Romanticism: Reimagining Romantic Drama for New Audiences" (Grant agreement ID: 892230)

Death of a Parent

Portrait of Dr Burney Public domain


As I continue my work around the ill and wounded body in Frances Burney, I have been thinking about how she (re)presents the death of people who were very close to her. Starting, of course, with that arch-smothering Daddy, Dr Charles Burney. How different the 3 volume Memoirs of Doctor Burney are from Annie Ernaux’s narrative of her mother’s life and death, A Woman’s Story (96 pp. in large print). I shall work on this topic more, but I have noticed that Ernaux uses a lot the verb ‘was.’ My mother was, my father was, my mother was. I shall run a search to see what verbs mark up the linguistic backbone of Memoirs. My guess is that they are verbs of action, rather than being. A tiny linguistic window on how these two authors chose to imaginatively deal with the long shadows cast by their parents. Definitively worth having another wee think on this.


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