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What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew

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A "delightful reader's companion" (The New York Times) to the great nineteenth-century British novels of Austen, Dickens, Trollope, the Brontes, and more, this lively guide clarifies the sometimes bizarre maze of rules and customs that governed life in Victorian England. For anyone who has ever wondered whether a duke outranked an earl, when to yell "Tally Ho!" at a fox hunt, or how one landed in "debtor's prison," this book serves as an indispensable historical and literary resource. Author Daniel Pool provides countless intriguing details (did you know that the "plums" in Christmas plum pudding were actually raisins?) on the Church of England, sex, Parliament, dinner parties, country house visiting, and a host of other aspects of nineteenth-century English life--both "upstairs" and "downstairs. An illuminating glossary gives at a glance the meaning and significance of terms ranging from "ague" to "wainscoting," the specifics of the currency system, and a lively host of other details and curiosities of the day.
Product Details

Table of Contents

Contents Introduction Part One The Basics Currency The Calendar Hogsheads and Drams: English Measurement England London The Public World Precedence: Of Bishops, Barristers, and Baronets The Titled How to Address Your Betters Esq., Gent., K.C.B., etc. Status: Gentlemen and Lesser Folk Society Society and "The Season" Basic Etiquette How to Address the Nontitled "May I Have This Dance?" The Rules of Whist and Other Card Games Calling Cards and Calls The Major Rituals Presentation at Court The Dinner Party The Ball The Country House Visit Money Being Wealthy Entail and Protecting the Estate Bankruptcy, Debt, and Moneylending Power and the Establishment The Government Britannia Rules the Waves The Army The Church of England Oxford and Cambridge Schools "The Law Is a Ass" Lawyers Crime and Punishment Transition The Horse Please, James, the Coach The Railroad The Mail The Country Life on the Farm The Midlands, Wessex, and Yorkshire Who's Who in the Country Shire and Shire Alike: Local Government in Britain "The Theory and System of Fox Hunting" Vermin, Poachers, and Keepers Fairs and Markets The Private World "Reader, I Married Him" Sex An Englishman's Home Houses with Names Furniture Lighting How the English Kept Clean "Please, Sir, I Want Some More." Pudding! Tea Drink and the Evils Thereof Women's Clothing Men's Clothing Servants The Governess A Taxonomy of Maids Victorian Recycling The Grim World The Orphan Occupations Apprentices The Workhouse Disease Doctors Death and Other Grave Matters Part Two Glossary Bibliography Index

About the Author

Daniel Pool received a doctorate in political science from Brandeis University and a law degree from Columbia University. He lives in New York City.


Patrick T. Reardon Chicago Tribune This entertaining social history is just the ticket for Americans who like to read Dickens and other 19th-century novelists...or for anyone who likes to read histories and biographies of that era. Glenn Giffin The Denver Post It's great fun reading this, and Pool has provided a valuable service. Geoffrey Stokes The Boston Globe Indispensable...Pool has gathered together...the facts of daily life in 19th-century England, and no one who likes an occasional dip into the period's history or literature can afford to be without it. M.G. Lord New York Newsday A delightful book...indispensable to lovers of Victorian literature.

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