From humble beginnings as a musical apprentice, Charles Burney (1726–1814), rose to the forefront of the musical world in eighteenth-century London and established a literary reputation through the publication of his musical tours through Europe and his General History of Music (1776-89). He corresponded with a wide circle of acquaintance that included composers, singers, artists, actors, writers, and politicians. Burney inspired members of his family to ‘read, write and be literary’. The Burneys had a ‘scribbling’ as well as a ‘hoarding’ habit, leaving behind more than 10,000 documents spread around the world. Of this archive, the Bodleian holds 31 letters, as well as ‘Memoranda of the Burney Family’ that records family history over 250 years. This remarkable document reveals the rich creative atmosphere that lay behind the professional success of the Burneys in art, music, and literature, and which this lecture will aim to explore.
Lorna J. Clark is the editor of several scholarly editions, most recently a volume in the series of The Memoirs of the Court of George III (Pickering, 2015), two volumes of The Court Journals of Frances Burney (Oxford, 2014), and a novel, The Romance of Private Life (1839) in the Chawton House Library Series. Her current research project is an edition of The Letters of Dr Charles Burney, which completes a project begun forty years ago at Balliol College.
Reception follows in Blackwell Hall, Weston Library.
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