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CFP for 2020 Burney Society of North America conference

CFP for 2020 Burney Society of North America conference

Burney studies began in 1950 when Joyce Hemlow published “Fanny Burney and the Courtesy Books” (PMLA 65.5: 732-761), followed by the 1958 publication of her literary biography The History of Fanny Burney (OUP), and, in 1972, Hemlow’s first volume of Fanny Burney: Journals and Letters (OUP). The Burney Centre is about to celebrate the completion of that monumental project: a modern scholarly 25-volume edition of Frances Burney’s letters and journals. At the same time, the Burney Centre anticipates the publication, long awaited, of volumes two and three of The Letters of Dr. Charles Burney, the first two of five new volumes. This is a moment for Burney scholars to look back with appreciation and to look forward with anticipation.

In recent decades, and particularly after the founding of The Burney Society in 1994, research on Frances Burney’s life, journals, novels, and plays has grown exponentially, while renewed scholarly interest in “other Burneys”---not only musicologist and man-of-letters Dr. Charles Burney but also his other children, particularly novelist Sarah Harriet (“Sally”), musician and letter-writer Susanna (“Susan”), and sailor James---has expanded our knowledge of this remarkable family and of the complex society in which they lived.

The Burney Society of North America, a group of scholars and serious lay readers, invites proposals for 20-minute papers on any aspect of Burney studies, but particularly those that reflect upon the scholarly significance and consequences of the Burney Centre’s publications: how have they changed our perception and understanding of the Burneys, or led to new areas of research? We also encourage papers on “other Burneys,” particularly Charles Burney: proposals from musicologists reappraising Burney’s achievements and influence would be most welcome, as well as talks that situate him within the remarkable intellectual and artistic meritocracy of Georgian London.

Please email one-page proposals (as Microsoft Word files or pdf) to Dr. Catherine Keohane (Montclair State University),, with “Burney Proposal” in the subject line, by January 1, 2020. Submissions from graduate students are especially welcome. Participants will be notified by March 1, 2020. It is not necessary to be a member of the Burney Society to submit a proposal, but presenters at the conference must become members by June 2020. For information about the Burney Society and membership, see

Registration and Accommodations

Registration details will be announced early in 2019. The two-day conference will take place in downtown Montreal in the Rare Books Room of the McLennan Library (home of The Burney Centre) of McGill University (Friday) and at the Best Western Ville-Marie Hotel next door (Saturday), and will cost approximately Can$250 (less for students), including a conference dinner on Friday, and Saturday’s breakfast (Montreal bagels!), lunch, and coffee breaks. Rooms at the special rate of Can$205 per night, plus taxes, for single or double, between July 2 and July 5, 2020, are now available for booking at the Best Western. This special rate will be available until May 2, 2020. Call 1-800-361-7791 and ask for the “Burney Society” room block, or go to, enter your dates and the group code “Burney,” and select your room

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