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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 – April 21, 1994
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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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But this gets one star. Pool never says in one paragraph what he can say in five. It drags on and on, with boring details of the unappealing social conditions in the 1800's. Nothing to attract readers towards the subject, nor to hold their attention.
Small print is hard to read. Maps are so tiny you cannot see names of places or features. I would demand lots of money to pay me to read through this book.
Surely there must be fascinating and interesting books on this same subject. Try to read a sample in one of these types of books before purchase.
Another thing that fascinated me - England of the 19th century was a very class centered structured culture; there were lots of rules and very particular ways in how one interacted with their "peers", "betters" or the "lower classes". The author describes the hierarchy of both the "peerage" and "gentry", but also those in "service". The book is complete in that regard, not only does it describe the manner of living & behavior of the upper class, but the middle and lower classes as well. The author does a great job of explaining why standards of behavior differed among the classes - usually for very convenient & monetary purposes, which might seem strange or mercenary to us today, but provide an understanding of the uncertainty and often times limited opportunities of those in 19th century Britain.
The best part of the book is that it reads very easily; it's not overly academic or verbose. And beyond the more everyday curiosities we might have about safety, grocery shopping and education - it also deals with those very human experiences such as death, sex, marriage - how did our English ancestors view these topics, which even today can be so emotional? Some of their views will be recognizable and leaves one nodding...."Ok, that's why...." and other views will seem completely archaic, and even sad.
If you like history, if you enjoy reading the British classics of the 19th century & even if you are a historical romance fan - you'll find it not just fascinating, but illuminating.
Its a good book for those interested in the era of Regency (also called Georgian) England......the era of Jane Austen, Waterloo, Napoleon, etc......Charles Dickens was a Victorian, which was the era FOLLOWING the Regency era.....not sure why he is included!
In a series of short topical essays and an extended glossary of key terms, Pool examines some relevant facts about the 19th Century. He starts with the basics of currency, the calendar, and measurements, then moves on to the public world with its hierarchies, classes, and customs. He discusses transportation, country living, and the private details of everyday living. This book is not exhaustive in its coverage, but it was certainly both enlightening and entertaining to this Jane Austen fan.
"What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew" is very highly recommended to Brit Lit fans, who can enjoy reading it straight through or using it as a reference for t19th Century terms and conditions no longer obvious to 21st Century readers.