Georgette Heyer's Regency World

( 22 )

Overview

The definitive guide for all fans of Georgette Heyer, Jane Austen, and the glittering Regency period

"Detailed, informative, impressively researched. A Heyer lover writing for Heyer fans."
-Times Literary Supplement

Immerse yourself in the resplendent glow of Regency England and the world of Georgette Heyer...

From the fascinating slang, the elegant fashions, the precise ways...

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Overview

The definitive guide for all fans of Georgette Heyer, Jane Austen, and the glittering Regency period

"Detailed, informative, impressively researched. A Heyer lover writing for Heyer fans."
-Times Literary Supplement

Immerse yourself in the resplendent glow of Regency England and the world of Georgette Heyer...

From the fascinating slang, the elegant fashions, the precise ways the bon ton ate, drank, danced, and flirted, to the shocking real life scandals of the day, Georgette Heyer's Regency World takes you behind the scenes of Heyer's captivating novels.

As much fun to read as Heyer's own novels, beautifully illustrated, and meticulously researched, Jennifer Kloester's essential guide brings the world of the Regency to life for Heyer fans and Jane Austen fans alike.

"An invaluable guide to the world of the bon ton. No lover of Georgette Heyer's novels should be without it."
-- Katie Fforde

"Splendidly entertaining"
-Publishers Weekly

"Meticulously researched yet splendidly entertaining, Kloester's comprehensive guide to the world of upper-class regency England is a must-have."
-Publishers Weekly Starred Review

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Meticulously researched yet splendidly entertaining, Kloester's comprehensive guide to the world of upper-class Regency England is a must-have for both Heyer readers and those generally interested in the society and customs of the early 19th-century. With chapters addressing everything from the inside-out details of period costume to the different methods of harnessing horses to carriages and the proper method of table service, even experts on Regency society will find invaluable new information, while the casual reader will find useful context and an answer for nearly every imaginable question about Regency society. Drawing on Heyer's own extensive research notes, Kloester gives a thorough overview of the period, from politics to food production to the pastimes of the ton. Charts and appendixes list Regency slang, periodicals, and the hierarchy of household servants. Small maps of fashionable areas of London and the resort towns of Brighton and Bath accompany extensive coverage of the popular shops, hotels, taverns, and residential neighborhoods. Kloester's prose is not as glittering as the period she covers, and it's disappointing that the many illustrations are modern "adaptations" of period originals. Yet no fan of the period or writer of stories set in the era should be without this guide to the Regency period. (Aug.)
Romance Reader at Heart
An impressive compilation of facts, figures, and drawings that leaves no stone unturned and discusses every aspect of Regency life.
— Kay James
Booklist
Kloester's lively book will delight died-in-the-wool Regency readers and give those new to the genre a better understanding of the enduring appeal of Austen's world and Heyer's classic books.
— John Charles
Rundpinne
A well-written, in-depth look into how people lived, worked, behaved, dressed and spoke during the Regency period and was thrilled at how much I learned
— Jennifer
Austenesque Reviews
A tremendous resource for authors trying to write in this time period.
— Meredith
Anna's Book Blog
Immerse yourself in the resplendent glow of Regency England and the world of Georgette Heyer....
— Anna Vivian
Austenprose.com
What elevates this book beyond a collection of historical facts is its organization and that the author places many of Heyer's novels and characters in context to the categories and descriptions within the text.
— Laurel Ann Nattress
Jane Austen's Wolrd
Filled with tasty little nuggets of information.
— Lady Anne
Library of Clean Reads
Whether you are a Heyer fan, a general reader, a writer, or simply interested in the history of the Regency period, you will find this book useful and a pleasure to read.
— Laura
Readin and Dreamin
This is a handy dandy book to come to again and again for a quick Regency refresher course.
— Christy
Jenny Loves to Read
A great read and would make an excellent reference for anyone wishing to know more about the Regency, or who may plan on writing a Regency novel themselves.
— Jenny
Passages to the Past
I feel that I'm walking away knowing a LOT more about the Regency period than I did before... it's also renewed my love for Georgette Heyer!
— Anna
Celtic Lady's Reviews
Very well researched and meticulously put together.
— Celtic Lady
Historically Obsessed
An excellent wealth of regency knowledge for an aspiring author.
— Lizzy J
Barnes and Noble Review
An explication, exploration, loving tribute to, and erudite partial concordance of those sacred texts and the historical soil from which they sprung... a sweeping and entrancing social history.
— Paul Di Filippo
History Undressed
The research was top-notch, not only into the Regency world itself, but for the breadth and depth she went into studying Heyer's work.
— Eliza
Life in the Thumb
This is truly everything you ever wanted to know about Heyer's Regency world and beyond!
— Staci
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402241369
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/1/2010
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 231,293
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

During the extensive study and research of Georgette Heyer's work for her PhD thesis, Jennifer Kloester had access to private papers and other information through the generosity of Georgette Heyer's estate, discovering a wealth of new material on the immensely private author. Kloester lives in Victoria, Australia.
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Read an Excerpt

From Chapter 1

The true Regency lasted only nine years. It began on 5 February 1811 when George, Prince of Wales, was officially sworn in as Regent and ended on 31 January 1820 when he was proclaimed King George IV. Yet the term 'Regency' is frequently used to describe the period of English history between the years 1780 and 1830, because the society and culture during these years were undeniably marked by the influence of the man who would become George IV. With the final years of the Napoleonic Wars and the enormous impact of industrialisation the Regency was an era of change and unrest as well as one of glittering social occasions, celebrations and extraordinary achievement in art and literature. Artists such as Thomas Lawrence, John Constable and Joseph Turner created iconic paintings which today constitute a tangible record of some of the people and places of the period, while many of England's greatest writers produced some of their most enduring works during the Regency. The writings of Jane Austen, Walter Scott, John Keats, Mary Shelley, Samuel Coleridge, William Wordsworth, Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley continue to stand as a testament to the romance, colour and vitality of the times. In many ways the Regency period was also a reflection of the character and personality of the Prince Regent himself who was one of the most flamboyant and cultured of all English monarchs. His passion for art, architecture, music, literature and hedonistic living set the tone for the era and caused his Regency to be for ever linked with the high-living, mayfly class that was the ton.

The Regency world was highly structured and the conventions attached to Regency life were so numerous and intricate that usually only those born and bred into upper-class circles knew and understood them. Above all, it was intensely class-conscious: the ton (from the French phrase le bon ton, meaning 'in the fashionable mode' and also known as Polite Society or the Upper Ten Thousand) lived a privileged, self-indulgent life; birth and family were vital to social acceptance, and social behaviour was determined by a complex set of rules of varying flexibility, with different codes of behaviour for men and women. It was an era of manners, fashion and propriety, and yet, for the upper class, it was also a time of extraordinary excess, extravagance and indulgence. By contrast the middle class was more interested in morality than manners and often found it difficult to follow the distinctive behaviour of the upper class.

The Social Ladder

During the Regency the social ladder had a fixed, inflexible hierarchy within the nobility and an almost equally rigid class structure within the rest of the population:

Monarch Royalty Aristocracy Gentry Middle Classes Artisans and Tradespeople Servants Labouring Poor Paupers

Class was defined primarily by birth, title, wealth, property and occupation, and there were many distinctions-some subtle, others obvious-within each level of society. While visiting his country seat of Stanyon in The Quiet Gentleman, Gervase Frant, seventh Earl of St Erth, met his near neighbour, Sir Thomas Bolderwood, and was at first unsure of this jovial gentleman's exact social standing. Although Sir Thomas's countenance, wealth, title, home and family all indicated good breeding, his manners lacked polish and there was a certain rough quality in his speech, the result-as he informed the Earl-of having spent most of his life in India. Discerning one's own place on the broader social scale was not all that difficult but knowing the exact position in relation to someone else of the same class was not always easy; although Mrs Bagshot in Friday's Child was in no doubt about the sudden (and infuriating) elevation in her young cousin Hero's social status after Hero's unexpected marriage to a peer. Ancestry was key, as were property and money (most obviously shown by the number of servants and carriages one had), although wealth became a less reliable guide to a person's breeding after industrialisation and the expansion of the Empire. Acceptance into the ton was often a question of degree, as discovered by the villainous Sir Montagu Revesby in Friday's Child when his elegant air and address were enough to see him admitted into some fashionable circles but he was still excluded by many of those at the heart of the ton who considered him 'a commoner'. During the Regency, the advent of the new rich-those industrialists, financiers, merchants, manufacturers, bankers, nabobs and even admirals of the fleet who had garnered enough wealth to buy their way into the upper echelons of society-created a new complication for the class-conscious aristocrat. An heiress was always an attractive prize but marriage between a member of the peerage and a female whose parents 'smelled of shop' had to be very carefully considered before any commitment was made. A scion of a noble house might find himself cut off from his inheritance if he persisted in marrying into a much lower social class, as Lord Darracott's son, Hugh, discovered after he married a weaver's daughter in The Unknown Ajax.

Members of the aristocracy and the gentry might be different in birth and title but between them they were the ruling class. A well-bred country squire of ancient lineage but with no more than a baronetcy or a knighthood to his name, if that, might meet a duke or an earl on equal terms (particularly if he was a neighbour) and show him deference only on formal occasions. In Sylvester, Squire Orde met the Duke of Salford on his home ground and, while being perfectly polite, did not hesitate to speak his mind or censure the Duke's actions. During the Regency the nobility was made up of members of the royal family, peers above the rank of baronet and their families, statesmen and the prelates of the Church of England such as the more powerful bishops and the Archbishop of Canterbury (who took precedence over all ranks after the royal family). The gentry included baronets, knights, country landowners (often incredibly wealthy) and gentlemen of property and good birth but no title. Robert Beaumaris of Arabella was plain Mister but his family's ancient lineage (his cousin was a duke and his grandmother the Dowager Duchess), his fortune, breeding and address amply compensated for his lack of title and made him one of the most eligible bachelors in England. Apart from manners and breeding, one of the main distinguishing factors between the upper class and the upper levels of the middle class was the need for the latter to actually earn their living.

The middle class was growing fast in Regency England as increasing numbers of financiers, merchants and industrialists were added to the wealthy doctors, lawyers, engineers, higher clergy and farmers who, among others, comprised the upper ranks of the class. To be in the middle ranks of society usually meant ownership of some kind of property-land, livestock or tools-and the ability to earn a regular and reliable income. The number of servants employed in a house and the type of carriage(s) and number of horses one owned were also useful class indicators, although some among the new middle class, such as the affluent merchant Jonathan Chawleigh in A Civil Contract, tended to mistake opulence for elegance and an excess of food or finery as a sign of wealth and status. But the middle class was a very large and diverse group and it also included shopkeepers, teachers, builders, the lesser clergy, members of the government administration, clerks, innkeepers and even some of the servant class. Property was really the main factor that separated the lowest level of the middle class from the better off among the labouring poor.

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Table of Contents

Contents

List of Illustrations xi Introduction xv Acknowledgements xvii

Chapter 1: Up and Down the Social Ladder 1
Regency Society • The Social Ladder • Royalty • The Aristocracy • The Gentry • The New Middle Class, Nabobs and 'Cits' • Further Down the Ladder • The Bottom of the Ladder • Climbing the Social Ladder

Chapter 2: At Home in Town and Country 21
Mayfair • The London House • On the Fringe: Hans Town and Russell Square • More Modest Dwellings • Domestic Staff • Great Estates and Country Living

Chapter 3: A Man's World 45
Upper-class Regency Men • A Bachelor's Life • Marriage • Bucks, Beaus and Dandies

Chapter 4: The Gentle Sex 63
The Regency Woman • All the Accomplishments • Making a Come-out • Mothers, Wives, Widows and Daughters • On the Marriage Mart • To Gretna Green • A Brilliant Match or a Disastrous Alliance • Other Options

Chapter 5: On the Town 85
The Season and the Little Season • Almack's • The Patronesses • The Best Circles • Rules and Etiquette • Scandal! • Dancing • The Theatre • In the Parks

Chapter 6: The Pleasure Haunts of London 117
Carlton House • Clubs, Pubs and Pleasure • The Bow-window Set • Vauxhall Gardens • Ladies of the Night, Brothels and Gambling Hells • Convivial Evenings • Around the Town

Chapter 7: The Fashionable Resorts 139
Brighton • The Best Address and Other Accommodations • On the Promenade and Other Entertainments • Bath • The Upper and Lower Assembly Rooms • The Pump Room • Taking the Cure • Other Diversions

Chapter 8: Getting About 161
All Kinds of Carriages • On Drivers and Driving • Public Transport • On the Road • Long-distance Travel • Turnpikes, Toll-gates and Tickets

Chapter 9: What to Wear 181
Men's Fashion from Head to Toe • The Intricacies of the Neckcloth • Women's Fashion from Hats to Hose • Hairstyles • Seals, Fobs, Snuff-boxes and Quizzing Glasses • Jewellery • Ageing Gracefully • General Fashion Glossary

Chapter 10: Shopping 223
Shopping in London • London Shops • Daily Needs • Lock's for Hats • Milliners, Tailors, Modistes and Mantua Makers • Hoby's for Boots • Fribourg & Treyer's for Snuff • Linen Drapers • Jewellers • Cosmetics

Chapter 11: Eat, Drink and Be Merry 243
Food, Removes, Repasts and a Light Nuncheon • Meals and Menus • What's for Dessert? Gunter's • Drinking by Day and by Night

Chapter 12: The Sporting Life 253
Boxing at the Fives Court, Prizefights and Pets of the Fancy • Cocks and Dogs • Revel-routs and Boxing the Watch • On the Strut to Tattersall's • Hunting, Horse Racing, Curricle Racing and Wagers • Gambling, Vowels and Debts of Honour • Duelling

Chapter 13: Business and the Military 273
The Postal Service • The City • The Stock Exchange • Banking • Money Talk • The Military • The Peninsular War • The Peace • The Hundred Days • Military Men

Chapter 14: Who's Who in the Regency 289
The Royal Family • Influential Men • The Beau and the Dandies

Appendix 1: A Glossary of Cant and Common Regency Phrases 313
Appendix 2: Newspapers and Magazines 327
Appendix 3: Books in Heyer 333
Appendix 4: Timeline 341
Appendix 5: Reading about the Regency and Where Next? 353
Appendix 6: Georgette Heyer's Regency Novels 357

During the extensive study and research of Georgette Heyer's work for her PhD thesis, Jennifer Kloester had access to private papers and other information through the generosity of Georgette Heyer's estate, discovering a wealth of new material on the immensely private author. Kloester lives in Victoria, Australia.

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Customer Reviews

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    excellent reference to the regency world

    The first time I read a Georgette Heyer novel I was struck by two things; someone other than Jane Austen is queen of the Regency period, and what do those funny expressions or "Regency speak" in her novels mean?! Well, Georgette Heyer's official biographer, Jennifer Kloester has written a guide to the Regency period that any Heyer or Austen fan is sure to enjoy. The information is this book is extensive and well organized with everything you could possibly want to know about that time: its slang, fashion, etiquette, food, social statuses, venues, and much more. Black and white illustrations are also scattered throughout the book. As a writer who not only loves to read Regency novels, but also needs to research that era for my second novel, I appreciated this book as a well-written reference. It's easy to use with 14 chapters divided into subtitles, making the search for a specific topic short. If this book truly piques your interest, a bibliography for additional reading is included as well as six interesting appendixes. Now, when I read my next Heyer novel (there are 26 in all) I could look up an expression I do not understand, the name of a newspaper or place I'm unfamiliar with, find out who the best-selling authors of the time were, see what a pelisse looked like, learn why Almack's was one of the most exclusive venue in Regency London and find out who's who in Society. Whether you are a Heyer fan, a general reader, a writer, or simply interested in the history of the Regency period, you will find this book useful and a pleasure to read.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 31, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Well researched, informative, and a fascinating read!

    Georgette Heyer's Regency World is meticulously researched, deeply informative and highly entertaining. Jennifer Kloester gives a broad introduction of the Regency period. I'd loosely associated the Regency period with the dashing lords of the romance novels -- a period close to the Napoleonic Wars and of glittering social affairs of the ton. Kloester explains that the true Regency period only covered 9 years - beginning when George, Prince of Wales, was sworn in as Regent on Feb 5, 1811 and ended when he was proclaimed King George IVon Jan. 31, 1820. Though a short period, the Regency period was a time of change with industrialization and the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

    Kloester describes the society of the period and shares what life was life both for the aristocracy and the gentry as well as for their many servants. Her coverage of the "Upper Servants" and the "Lower Servants" gives a clear and interesting picture of a wealthy household. We learn exactly what it would have been like for each of the different members of the staff from their daily responsibilities, housing, salary, position, status, to their living quarters. Kloester introduces us to what it meant to serve as steward, groom of the chambers, butler, valet, housekeeper, head housemaid, lady's maid, footman, coachman, groom stable boy, housemaid, kitchen maid, scullery maid, and laundry maid.

    In the chapters At Home in Town and Country, On the Town, The Pleasure Haunts of London, The Fashionable Resorts, and Getting About, Kloester gives us a fuller grounding of the architecture, neighborhoods, clubs, and locations that the fashionable and wealthy frequented. She doesn't just write about the development of the fashionable district of Mayfair, but also maps out the spots that are often mentioned, (Piccadilly, Bond Street, Park Lane, Grosvenor Square, Hyde Park, Westminster, Berkeley Square, Curzon Street, St.James Street) so that we have a sense of where these places are in relation to each other. Through illustrations and careful description, we are given a clear picture of what a house would have looked like, what amenities were available and how each residence would have been used during the period. Kloester weaves in characters and passages from Heyer's novels which adds to our understanding of the period and makes Heyer's stories even richer.

    The chapters A Man's World, The Gentle Sex, What to Wear, Shopping, Eat, Drink and Be Merry, The Sporting Life, and Business and The Military give fascinating details of different aspects of everyday life. The boxing clubs and men's social clubs, slang, legal arrangements, trusts and legacies, type of education, Almack's and its patronesses, the Upper Ten Thousand, social calls and the many rules of etiquette and behavior that ruled everyone's lives.

    Jennifer Kloester's Georgette Heyer's Regency World is a fascinating and delightful read. It is sure to interest and satisfy readers with a particular fondness for works set during the Regency period and/or Georgette Heyer novels.

    ISBN-10: 1402241364 - Trade Paperback
    Publisher: Sourcebooks (August 3, 2010), 416 pages.
    Review copy provided by the publisher.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 31, 2011

    Highly recommended

    Great resource for anyone who enjoys reading regency novels.

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  • Posted April 1, 2011

    Useful Reference

    This is a wonderful, complete, useful volume to have at hand while reading Georgette Heyers Regency novels.

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