Daily Life in Elizabethan England

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Students, teachers, and interested readers will find in this resource a vivid and intimate account of life in the Elizabethan age. The first book on Elizabethan England to rise out of the living history movement, it combines a unique hands-on approach with the best of current research. Organized for easy reference, it is enlivened with how-to sections—recipes, clothing patterns, songs and games, all gathered from original sources. This hands-on approach recreates the daily life of ordinary people, not just the aristocracy, and systematically covers the most basic facts of life in a readily accessible format. Clearly illustrated with 94 drawings, patterns, and diagrams, it provides a treasure trove of information for classroom and library use and for those interested in recreating Elizabethan life.

The work is organized into sections on the structure of Elizabethan society, the course of life (birth, childhood, education, marriage, old age, and death), the cycles of time (daily, weekly, and yearly schedules, including a calendar of the Elizabethan year), the living environment (houses, villages, towns, and travel), clothing (including instruction for making complete Elizabethan male and female outfits), food (featuring a selection of recipes), and entertainment (songs with sheet music and instruction for authentic games and dances). A chronology of Tudor England, a glossary, appendices with information and ideas on organizing Elizabethan feasts and fairs, and lists of suggested readings, videos, and recordings complete the work. This is an indispensable resource for classrooms and school and public libraries because it gives readers a true understanding of what it would be like to live in 16th-century England.

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Editorial Reviews

The work began its life in 1991 as a brief manual for people recreating the Middle Ages at the University of Toronto, and was published in a revised and extended form in 1993 by Vox Clamantis Monographs for the same purpose. Almost none of the original text remains in this edition, and the living history foundation is gilded with the proper scholarly paraphernalia to count as an academic reference. Much of the information about the lives of common people in Elizabethan England comes from primary sources that either have been overlooked by scholars or described in specialist texts inaccessible to generalists and amateurs. Describes recipes, clothing patterns, songs, dances, games, and other informal aspects of life. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher

"This text brings alive the Elizabethan Age for the high school student, providing an understanding of the context in which great historical events occurred and the daily life of the people who made them happen."



"Forgeng wrote the original volume as a reference for living history. Now a curator at the Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester, Massachusetts, he revises it in light of the research and writing he has done in the 12 years since, and to conform to the format and style of the series. His topics include society, households and the course of life, cycles of time, material culture, clothing and accouterments, food and drink, and entertainments. A chronology and a glossary are included, along with an appendix on how to throw an Elizabethan living history party."


Reference & Research Book News

"This book is designed for high school nonfiction collections but will be found useful by many college students and adults interested in this time period. High recommended."


Library Media Connection

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Product Details

Meet the Author

JEFFREY L. SINGMAN is an editor of The Middle English Dictionary at the University of Michigan.

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Table of Contents

1 A Brief History of Tudor England 1
2 The Elizabethan World 9
3 The Course of Life 37
4 Cycles of Time 55
5 The Living Environment 73
6 Clothing and Accoutrements 93
7 Food and Drink 131
8 Entertainments 149
Glossary 191
Appendix A: The Elizabethan Event 195
Appendix B: Suppliers 198
Appendix C: Contacts 201
Notes 205
Bibliography 215
Index 221
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