Patrick O'Brian Discussion Forum

Re: 9 literary New Year’s resolutions


>It includes this from Fanny Burney*:

>‘ . . 4. Go with the flow: “I opened the new year with what composure I could acquire…and I made anew the best resolutions I was equal to forming, that I would do what I could to curb all spirit of repining, and to content myself calmly—unresistingly, at least, with my destiny.”**

>– In stoic fashion on 1 January 1787, the English satirical novelist resolves to content herself with her destiny. If you’re struggling to retain your composure this January, “be like Burney” and go with the flow . . ‘

I wonder why the writer chose to quote Fanny Burney? Fanny was not giving herself good advice - going with the flow in 1787 was nearly the death of her. She and her father were Tories who were impressed by her position at court as an assistant dresser to the Queen but "after five years slavery...all who saw her pale face, her emaciated figure, and her feeble walk, predicted that her sufferings would soon be over." (Macaulay). Friends of the Burneys agitated to finally get her father to procure her release from this soul-deadening, physically and psychologically debilitating work. She got free and was "allowed" to being writing again.

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