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The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England from 1811-1901 1st Edition

3.4 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0898798128
ISBN-10: 0898798124
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Writer's Digest Books; 1st edition (February 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898798124
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898798128
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #755,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on December 10, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The title should have been "A Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in Victorian England". While there is a wealth of information on Victorian era customs and daily life, there is very little on the Regency period. Even when the book makes general statements these statements are often applicable only to the Victorian era. As a Regency writer myself, I would caution other writers not to rely on this book for Regency period information.
There were great differences between the Regency and Victorian eras, obvious differences such as changes in fashion, or the rapid industrializiation, and more subtle differences such as transformations in public and private behavior.
Recommended for Victorian authors, but for Regency authors you would be better served to seek out a copy of "The Regency Companion" by Laudermilk & Hamlin.
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Format: Hardcover
This book could be very useful, but often more as a guide to other sources, rather than as a authority in its own right. The appendices, listing numerous references sources as well as a very useful list of relevant museums should be valuable to anyone starting out to do research. Particularly relevant sources are also collected at the end each chapter.

If this is intended to be a reference source for writers, then they need detailed information laid out in an efficient format. Hughes does this sometimes, and other times seems to wander off into writing an anecdotal social history. I wonder whether it was a good idea to pack 90 years that saw enormous social changes into one book. I think that Hughes has often wasted space including extensive quotes that would have been better paraphrased and condensed, as well as including information of marginal use, such as numerous recipes and a list of the number of servants advertising for jobs in the Times on January 10, 1870.

One might also wonder why 1801-1810 is not covered, especially since there is a writer's guide covering the 18th century. The period isn't completely ignored, but it must be frustrating for anyone wanting information about the turn of the 18th-19th century. Granted, the Regency, strictly speaking, was 1811-1820, but that wasn't the start of the Victorian era either. Many people consider the Regency period to go back to 1800 or even 1780.

The chapters themselves are uneven in quality. The first section, on lighting, is precisely the sort of thing a writer would need: the different types of lighting are carefully described in detail with dates given so that the reader knows precisely what was in use when.
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By A Customer on June 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
It is impossible to sum up social life and culture for the 19th century, and authors simply should not try. Hughes' book is a good example. It certainly has many pieces of useful information for both writers and scholars--I never knew that the Adelphi Theater was only open from October to April, for example--and Hughes' tracing of certain topics such as indoor lighting or the railways are concise and intriguing.
Unfortunately, she doesn't explain her terms nearly enough, and the quotations from contemp- orary sources seem overused--as though all of those period recipes were simply padding out space. There's an entire paragraph devoted to the etiquette of "cutting" which is completely incomprehensible if you are not first aware of the actual meaning of social cuts. Also, Hughes does not really work within context well; she doesn't seem to understand that etiquette books were not so much used by those in the upper circles, but by those aspiring to move upwards, or that the very reason for a plethora of etiquette books implies that they are needed--in other words, people are *not* following proper etiquette in their daily lives.
The writer of Victorian-based historical novels would do well to have this book on her reference shelf, but the casual reader will do better to read Sally Mitchell's Daily Life in Victorian England. This book would have been much more useful if it had narrowed its topic and explored them in greater depth.
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Format: Hardcover
While interesting and entertaining, this should not be considered a definitive guide to daily life in Regency and Victorian England. Kristine Hughes does a good job of giving the reader examples of historical writings on subjects such as etiquette and dress. Nevertheless, these few anacdotal resources do not constitute authoritative evidence that this is actually how people behaved in their everyday life. Just as a modern etiquette book reflects an idealized view of modern life rather than an accurate picture of how we really live, these original sources do not necessarily reflect the real lifestyles of the times. So long as you keep this caveat in mind, you will find this a very entertaining and readable book. The scope is extensive - everything from household appliances to travel to the various social institutions. There are many topics that will peak your interest, but consider this to be just the starting point for your research.
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By A Customer on August 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I am very much interested in the Regency and I thought this book will be a quick reference guide. Most of the book is Victorian. You may find snippets of Regency here and there, but as a good reference guide, it is most certainly not! For good reference, get "What Jane Austen ate..." Most Disappointing!
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