In this brilliant work, Amanda Vickery unlocks the homes of Georgian England to examine the lives of the people who lived there. Writing with her customary wit and verve, she introduces us to men and women from all walks of life: gentlewoman Anne Dormer in her stately Oxfordshire mansion, bachelor clerk and future novelist Anthony Trollope in his dreary London lodgings, genteel spinsters keeping up appearances in two rooms with yellow wallpaper, servants with only a locking box to call their own.
Vickery makes ingenious use of upholsterer’s ledgers, burglary trials, and other unusual sources to reveal the roles of house and home in economic survival, social success, and political representation during the long eighteenth century. Through the spread of formal visiting, the proliferation of affordable ornamental furnishings, the commercial celebration of feminine artistry at home, and the currency of the language of taste, even modest homes turned into arenas of social campaign and exhibition.
Amanda Vickery is Professor in Early Modern History at Queen Mary, University of London, and the author of The Gentleman’s Daughter: Women’s Lives in Georgian England, which won the Whitfield, Wolfson, and Longman History Today prizes.
Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England 3.5 out of 5based on
ponsonby on LibraryThing
More than 1 year ago
This book has had considerable good reviews - some of them reproduced selectively in my paperback copy; but after reading most of the book I found myself wondering whether the praise was quite accurate. The book is undoubtedly interesting, and encapsulates a good deal of original research into sources on domesticity in the Georgian period (though this period is conveniently stretched to get a wider range of sources included). An example of this is the chapter which uses the records of a wallpaper company to draw conclusions about the class and gender characteristics of taste in decoration. And there are many original diaries etc used which reveal the domestic aspects of a wide range of lives. What this book does not do is 'read like a novel' as one review claims. It is more like a monograph masquerading as popular history.
OldRoses on LibraryThing
More than 1 year ago
One of the reasons that I like history so much is learning that people are the same no matter when they lived. They have the same hopes and dreams. They love their children and hate their in-laws. They have good bosses and bad bosses, and bouts of unemployment. They feud with their neighbors and their extended families. They are just like us but without indoor plumbing and cable.Amanda Vickery has delved into the treasury trove of diaries, retail records, probate records and household account books to provide us with a detailed and intimate look at life during the Georgian period which she defines as 1660 to 1850. We catch glimpses into the lives of bachelors, spinsters, tradespeople and the wealthy. Changing tastes and habits are traced through styles of furniture and wallpaper. Most surprising to me were the number of ¿lodgers¿, people renting one or two rooms in a house, in cities during this period.As fascinating as the details in this book are, I found myself vaguely disappointed. I realized that I already knew most of the information presented by Ms. Vickery through my reading of Jane Austen. In fact, Ms. Vickery quotes Jane Austen frequently in support for her conclusions. Jane Austen¿s vivid descriptions of the homes and lives of her characters are perfect illustrations of the very people that Ms. Vickery is trying to bring to life for us.Which leads me to wonder, do we really need this book? Are Jane Austen¿s books not "history" because they are fiction? Perhaps "Behind Closed Doors" would better be described as finding the factual basis for Jane Austen¿s fictional world. Budding novelists are always advised to write what they know which is exactly what Jane Austen did. How well she wrote about the world she knew, is shown by Ms. Vickery¿s extensive research into the life and times of the people of Georgian England.
TOGETHER WITHTHE PSALTER OR PSALMS OF DAVIDPOINTED AS THEY ARE TO BE SUNG OR SAID
IN CHURCHESAND THE FORM OR MANNER OF MAKING ORDAINING ANDCONSECRATING OF BISHOPS PRIESTS AND DEACONSANDTHE SCOTTISH LITURGYAND THE PERMISSIBLE ADDITIONS TO AND DEVIATIONSFROM THE SERVICE ...
Much admired as a realist painter, English artist Victor Pasmore surprised the art world in
1948 by suddenly directing his efforts toward the making of constructed abstract art. Pasmore was followed by Kenneth and Mary Martin, Adrian Heath, and the ...
At the stroke of midnight...One minute Grace Lancaster is an overworked event manager organising 2013’s
New Year’s Eve ball… The next she’s kissing a rather gorgeous man at the Regency themed party. Everyone’s entitled to an out-of-character New Year’s kiss, ...
A comprehensive, nuanced and entirely fresh view of the upbringing of English children in upper
and professional class families over three centuries. Drawing on personal testimony from contemporary diaries and letters, this book transforms previous understandings of parenting and what ...
Modern city-dwellers suffer their share of unpleasant experiencestraffic jams, noisy neighbors, pollution, food scaresbut urban
nuisances of the past existed on a different scale entirely, this book explains in vivid detail. Focusing on offenses to the eyes, ears, noses, taste ...
Spin and photo opportunities may appear to have emerged onto the political scene only recently,
but in fact image and its manipulation have always been vital to the authority of rulers. This book, the second in Kevin Sharpe’s trilogy exploring ...
Famed for his learning, wordplay, clever fantasy, and insight, the notorious French writer Francois Rabelais
(1494?-1553) was also widely known for scoffing, supposed atheism, salacious writing, and irresponsible whimsy. This engaging book is the first exploration in more than sixty ...
In 1215 a group of English barons, dissatisfied with the weak and despicable King John,
decided that they needed a new monarch. They wanted a strong, experienced man, of royal blood, and they found him on the other side of ...