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Evelina, the title character, is the unacknowledged daughter of a dissipated English aristocrat. She is raised in seclusion and when she grows into a beautiful and intelligent young woman she travels to London to be introduced into society. The novel then follows her growth through a series of sometimes harrowing episodes. Some critics see the novel as autobiographical. Burney originally published the work anonymously in 1778 and only acknowledged authorship when the book became wildly successful.
This was Goethe's first major success, though it also lead to some difficulties. It started "Werther Fever"; some young men so identified with Werther that that they began dress like him. It also lead to more than 2,000 copycat suicides. The problem became so concerning to the authorities that a rival 'happy ending' was published by Friedrich Nicolai, another author. Goethe was incensed and published a poem in which Nicolai defecates on Werther's grave, starting a literary war that lasted all his life.
A defence of one's life presents an autobiographical account of his religious development as a defence against an attack by novelist Charles Kingsley. Newman had begun as an Anglican theologian and later converted to Catholicism, this conversion was very disturbing for many people and marked a turning point in the history of the Church of England and the Catholic Church in England.
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