Friday, 3 September 2010

A Case of Mental Courage

David Brooks has written in the New York Times about mental character and rigour in thought quoting Frances Burney as an example of mental fortitude:

To quote Brooks: 'In 1811, the popular novelist Fanny Burney learned she had breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy without anesthesia. She lay down on an old mattress, and a piece of thin linen was placed over her face, allowing her to make out the movements of the surgeons above her.' Burney suffered physically and mentally for months after her operation but forced herself to face it, and write about it with moral fortitude. Brooks presents her as a role model for all of us now in how we should step back and think about our own weaknesses in thinking.

The image above shows a photograph of the Frances Burney books in the collection at Chawton House Library and we also have a developing collection of critical works of and about Burney.