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“Frances Burney's Legacy Duty Account” (1840)

Jones, John Avery and Sabor, Peter (2022) “Frances Burney's Legacy Duty Account” (1840). Eighteenth-Century Life, 46 (3). pp. 1-9. ISSN 0098-2601

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Identification Number: 10.1215/00982601-9955285


In the twelfth and final volume of The Journals and Letters of Fanny Burney, Joyce Hemlow published, for the first time, a transcription of the will of Frances Burney d’Arblay (1752–1840), dated 6 March 1839 and proved on 17 February 1840, six weeks after her death.1 The will provides much valuable information on Burney’s final intentions for the disposal of her effects, including her vast horde of manuscripts, as well as on the state of her finances. Unknown to Hemlow or to subsequent scholars, however, another key document in the National Archives throws new light on these matters: “Burney’s Legacy Duty Account,” dated 19 October 1840, thanks to which we now have complete information about her finances at the time of her death.2 Of particular interest are its valuations of Burney’s literary manuscripts and correspondence, as well those of her father, the music historian and man of letters Dr. Charles Burney (1726–1814). As well as transcribing the “Legacy Duty Account” below, we shall consider why the Burneys received valuations for their manuscripts that are not only shockingly low from a modern perspective, but also significantly lower than those of several of their literary contemporaries.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © Duke University Press 2022.
Divisions: Law
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
D History General and Old World > D History (General)
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2022 10:30
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2022 14:51

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