CONFERENCE REPORT: ‘Scandal and sociability: New perspectives on the Burney family’.

On September 1st, Cardiff University hosted the international symposium, ‘Scandal and Sociability: New Perspectives on the Burney Family’. Organizing this event was a high point of my first year in post at Cardiff. For years, I’ve been fascinated with Frances Burney, one of the most successful and influential novelists of the eighteenth century and a central figure in my doctoral research. But ever since I was lucky enough to spend a month in Montreal researching at McGill’s Burney Centre in the second year of my PhD, I’ve also been fascinated with her brilliant, sociable, polymathic and oddly secretive family circle. Between them, the Burneys published dozens of novels, scores of reviews, books on music and naval exploration, and political tracts. They wrote plays, drew popular prints and composed countless pieces of music. They travelled across the world, and knew or corresponded with most British luminaries of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries working in the fields of literature, art, music, politics, botany, exploration, and court and Church circles. Continue reading