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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.
Teresa of Avila was major figure of the Catholic Reformation - a prominent mystic, writer, and reformer. At age seven she ran away from home to 'find martyrdom amongst the Moors'. At twenty she joined the Carmelite nuns. She resolved to found a new convent based on the principal of absolute poverty and renunciation of property. This, and the three kinds of ritual flagellation used at services, disturbed the laity. Later, the Carmelites tried to suppress her movement. After Don Quixote this is Spain's mode widely read prose classic.
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