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What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist-the Facts of Daily Life in Nineteenth-Century England Paperback

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What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist-the Facts of Daily Life in Nineteenth-Century England + Inside the Victorian Home: A Portrait of Domestic Life in Victorian England
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Reprint edition (April 21, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671882368
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671882365
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This useful guide to Victorian life enlightens on such subjects as grave robbing, debtors' prison and putrid fever. Illustrations. BOMC, QPB and History Book Club alternates.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This guide to daily life in 19th-centuryEngland is a welcome companion for readers of Austin, the Brontes, Dickens, and Trollope. The first section is a collection of engrossing short chapters on various aspects of British life, including clothing, etiquette, marriage, money, occupations, society, and transportation. For example, customs now lost but very much practiced at the time were primogeniture, which ensured that the great family houses would not be split up, and the avoidance of eating cheese by the middle class, who considered it a food for the poor. The second part of the book is a glossary of commonly used words or phrases that may be unfamiliar to the modern reader; for instance, tar was a colloquial name for a sailor. Although there are many books on the social history of 19th-century Britain (including several companions to Victorian fiction), this volume is useful because of its concise chapters and lengthy glossary. Recommended for general literature collections.
- Caroline Mitchell, Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Brilliant insight in the 19th century England.
Kelsey May Dangelo
It's a help to learn what life was like for the authors who I enjoy reading...I would recommend this book for anyone who enjoys Jane Austen and that part of history.
J.L.M. Inman
As so many other readers have pointed out, there are a number of careless errors in this book.
Peter Stines

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 104 people found the following review helpful By Chrissy1018 on December 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
If you love to read historical novels, whether they be the classics of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters and Anthony Trollope, or historical romances by such authors as Judith McNaught and Julia Quinn, this is a great book for you. It will also appeal to history buffs, and those with just a passing interest in the social customs and etiquette of bygone days.
Accessible and covering a broad range of topics, it's a reference book that touches on everything from social hierarchy (an Earl outranks the eldest son of a Marquis who outranks the younger son of a Duke, the eldest son of a Duke, however, ranks above an Earl and just below a Marquis), how to name your estate (what is the difference between a hall, a manor and a house?), how to play Faro (you need a machine to deal), manage the servants (especially when they're just not getting the silver bright enough) and walk with a member of the opposite sex (a gentleman, remember, always walks on the side nearest the street).
The book also includes an extensive glossary of terms of the period (just what is a costermonger and a mantua-maker?) It is also filled with literary references and citations from the great British 19th-century authors, including those mentioned above. Don't worry if you haven't read any of the books, the references are used to illustrate points, though this book may inspire you to finally pick up a few of those classics you've always been meaning to read.
My one complaint about this book is that it's just not as thorough as I would have liked. It covers a wide range of topics, and in trying to keep the book readable, it only touches the surface rather than becoming deeply involved in any one topic.
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88 of 91 people found the following review helpful By R. Todd Ogrin on July 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up after reading _Everyday Life In Regency and Victorian England_, which I thought did a decent job of describing the mundane details of English life in the 1800's. Daniel Pool's book is immensely more interesting, detailed, and enjoyable.
_What Jane Austen Ate..._ is divided into two parts: a series of essays on daily life in the 19th century, and an exhaustive glossary of words common to the folk of the period, but not to us. Both parts are engaging and
interesting, suggesting all sorts of interesting ideas for characters, scenes, plots, and schemes (Most people will read this for background on other works, but I read it to ensure historical accuracy in something I'm working on). Pool refers to classical works by Dickens, Austen and Eliot when describing a certain facet of life to help pull it all together.
This book gets 5 stars not because it's the greatest book in the world, but because it's clearly the best of its kind. Readers and writers of 19th century fiction would do well to read it.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By sherri j. thorne on August 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
I certainly wish that I had this book before I started reading Jane Austen, because it would have answered many of my questions. I had tried to use the dictionary and was not always successful. Daniel Pool's excellent book changed all of that! Have you ever wondered why Fanny Price was so dizzy after drinking NEGUS? What exactly was the difference between a GIG and a CURRICLE? Where in the Order of Precedence did Sir William Lucas fall as a BARONET? It is all here in this thoroughly engaging and delightful book. It is here that I finally learned about the daily life of 19th-century England, and the overall social structure of the time. Jane Austen is not the only author covered: Charles Dickens, George Eliot, The Brontes, Thomas Hardy, and Anthony Trollope are well discussed. The glossery is excellent, and full of terms that I could not find even when I used The Oxford Dictionary. The only area that needed further clarification was the chapter about Entails and Protecting The Estate. I never quite understood how Miss Ann De Bourgh was able to inherit her father's estate upon his death, since "A girl should not inherit because if she remained single the line could die out and if she married the estate would pass in possession to someone outside the family." (see pg. 90 hardcover edition) Apart from that, I still feel comfortable giving this book 5 stars, and would advise anyone who loves 19th-century English Literature to add it to their collection. It is a great reference guide of the period.
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80 of 90 people found the following review helpful By "noumea3" on September 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
A book which attempts to provide a general background to daily life in 19th century England for readers of 19th century English authors such as Jane Austen (a Regency author) and Charles Dickens (a Victorian author). This book is useful for the beginner to this period but does contains historical misinformation. It is impossible to cover a whole century in a book of this type, and thus the Regency and Victorian periods are not carefully distinguished. My warning for readers of this book is to remember that life in the Regency was often very different to life in Victorian times. For example, Poole categorically states marriage by widower to deceased wife's sister was illegal, actually it was legal in England till 1835. Kristine Hughes and Venetia Murray in their books also confuse the matter. Are they reading each other for reference instead of primary sources? I don't mind a good introductory book to a period, and this could have been one, but I really dislike it when something totally untrue for a period is presented as absolute fact. Marriage to one's sister-in-law was legal in civil law but voidable in ecclesiastical courts if anyone bothered to bring a suit, and many such marriages were made. Until 1835 and Lord Lyndhurst's act. I would double check anything that the author says about the Regency period. This book really tried to do too much to lump the earlier Regency period in with the Victorian period. Over the course of the 19th century many things changed greatly, so if using this book as a guide, remember Jane Austen was a Regency novelist and Charles Dickens a Victorian novelist and laws, social mores and fashions change greatly over a whole century.
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