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Inside the Victorian Home: A Portrait of Domestic Life in Victorian England Paperback – November 18, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
Having read Daniel Pool's "What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew", a facially similar account of daily life in Victorian England, I doubt that I would have purchased this prosaically titled work had it not been for its glowing reader reviews. And if anything, the reviews understate this book's delights.
Adopting the clever device of moving from room to room in a "typical" Victorian home, Ms. Flanders uses each setting as a topical springboard to examine every conceivable facet of daily life in more telling detail than Pool's treatment and with a plain but wryly humorous writing style that should be the envy of any author on any subject! Seguing effortlessly from room to room and subject to subject, she paints a portrait of a period so close to ours in time but so far removed in struggle that one can't refrain from pausing every chapter or so to ponder how easy we have it compared with our forebears. Her description of servants' Sisyphean efforts to maintain a home's cleanliness in the age of coal and unpaved streets is alone reason to have you running to hug your Hoover and worship your Whirlpool.Read more ›
"Inside the Victorian Home" takes us through every room in such a house, and describes not only what happened there, but why. For example, the chapter entitled "The Scullery" outlines the multiple steps involved in doing one load of washing. We also learn how hard it was to keep a house clean in a time when coal dust coated everything, the difference between what boys and girls were expected to learn in the school room, and how the Victorians treated illnesses at home. Many of these are taken from diaries and letters, real life accounts.
But behind all of this domestic detail, the book tells us WHY all of this was so important to the Victorians. It underlines the moral climate of the time: "A man's home is his castle", and "Cleanliness is next to godliness" - sayings which became the virtues every family strove to display by the way they lived their domestic life. We are told how most of this responsibility fell to women. As mistress of the house, a Victorian wife proved the moral standing of her family not only by the way she behaved, but also by how clean her house was, how she regulated the servants and children, and how she handled the household accounts. All these were just as much expressions of respectability as marital fidelity or going to church.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I gave this book as a gift to my sister. She is really interested in the Victorian era and was pleased.Published 5 months ago by dennyt
Everything you thought you needed to know and everything you had no idea about. THIS was a lifesaver when I was writing a fictional story based in Victorian England. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Laurel Yando
Absolutely essential reading for my current book, "Imagining Violet", letters from a Victorian daughter whilst studying violin at the Leipsic Conservatory in 1891. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Mary Hughes
I am often in the habit of buying books on quirky topics that interest me and usually find that the book is written in the driest, most boring way possible. NOT SO with this book. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Lucy Pevensie