Daily Life in 18th-Century England, 2nd Edition

Daily Life in 18th-Century England, 2nd Edition

by Kirstin Olsen


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Informative, richly detailed, and entertaining, this book portrays daily life in England in 1700–1800, embracing all levels of society—from the aristocracy to the very poor—to describe a nation grappling with modernity.

When did Western life begin to strongly resemble our modern world? Despite the tremendous evolution of society and technology in the last 50 years, surprisingly, many aspects of life in the 21st century in the United States directly date back to the 18th century across the Atlantic. Daily Life in Eighteenth-Century England covers specific topics that affect nearly everyone living in England in the 18th century: the government (including law and order); race, class, and gender; work and wages; religion; the family; housing; clothing; and food. It also describes aspects of life that were of greater relevance to some than others, such as entertainment, the city of London, the provinces and beyond, travel and tourism, education, health and hygiene, and science and technology.

The book conveys what life was like for the common people in England in the years 1700–1800 through chapters that describe the state of society at the beginning of the century, delineate both change and continuity by the century's end, and identify which segments of society were impacted most by what changes—for example, improvements to roads, a key change in marriage laws, the steam engine, and the booming textile industry. Students and general readers alike will find the content interesting and the additional features—such as appendices, a chronology of major events, and tables of information on comparative incomes and costs of representative items—helpful in research or learning.

• Chronicles daily life in a place and time that was critical in forming the consumerism, industrialization, scientific thinking, and family structures of our modern world

• Provides fascinating detail on the lives of people at different levels of social strata, not just the upper classes

• Includes excerpts from seldom- or never-anthologized primary sources

• Incorporates information from recent scholarship about 18th-century England, especially regarding gender roles

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781440855030
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 04/17/2017
Series: The Greenwood Press Daily Life Through History Series
Edition description: Revised
Pages: 458
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Kirstin Olsen is a history educator and an independent scholar in Santa Cruz, CA.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

A Note on Dates and Texts xiii

Introduction to the Second Edition xv

Domestic Life

1 Family, Gender, and Sexuality: "Twenty Pounds Will Marry Me" 3

Document: James Fordyce, "Sermon XII: On Meekness" (1767) 42

Document: Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) 43

2 Health Care, Hygiene, and Death: "One Foot within the Grave" 45

Document: John Theobold, Every Man His Own Physician (1767) 64

Economic Life

3 Class and Race: "Not Created Equal" 69

Document: "The Way to Peace and Plenty," The Times (1795) 101

4 Work, Wages, and the Economy: "The Main Business of the Life of Man" 103

Document: Daniel Defoe, The Compleat English Tradesman (1727) 153

Intellectual Life

5 Education: "A Progeny of Learning" 157

Document: Richard Brinsley Sheridan, The Rivals (1775) 173

6 Science: "Everything Yields to Experiment" 175

Document: John Harris, Astronomical Dialogues between a Gentleman and a Lady (1719) 214

Material Life

7 Clothing and Fashion: Cork Rumps and Cocked Hats 219

Document: "The Ladies Head-Dress" (1777) 234

Document: William Madden, The Bath Macaroni; with Other Sketches from Nature (1781) 235

8 Food and Drink: "The Roast Beef of Old England" 237

Document: Eliza Haywood, A New Present for a Servant-Maid (1771) 258

9 Housing and Household Goods: "One Large Room, a Serpentine River, and a Wood" 259

Document: James Cawthorn, "Of Taste: An Essay" (1771) 275

10 Transportation and Communication: "The Turnpike Roads of the Kingdom" 279

Document: Karl Philipp Moritz, Travels in England in 1782 (1782) 296

Political Life

11 The State and the People: A Nation of Politicians 301

Document: "T." (pseudonym), Letter to Lady Charlotte (1754) 336

12 London and the Provinces: "The Whole of Human Life in All Its Variety" 339

Document: William Hogarth, Low-Life: Or One Half of the World, Knows Not How the Other Half Live (1754) 363

Recreational Life

13 Sports, the Arts, and Entertainment: "Their Enjoyment of Sports or Pastimes" 369

Document: César de Saussure, A Foreign View of England in the Reigns of George I and George II: The Letters of Monsieur César de Saussure to His Family (1728) 398

Religious Life

14 Religion: The Sleeping Congregation? 403

Document: John Wesley, The Journal of the Reverend John Wesley (1766) 423

Document: James Woodforde, Passages from the Five Volumes of the Diary of a Country Parson (1758-1802) 424

Chronology 427

General Bibliography 435

Index 437

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