A Visitor's Guide to Jane Austen's England (Paperback)
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Immerse yourself in the vanished world inhabited by Austen's contemporaries. Packed with detail, and anecdotes, this is an intimate exploration of how the middle and upper classes lived from 1775, the year of Austen's birth, to the coronation of George IV in 1820. Sue Wilkes skilfully conjures up all aspects of daily life within the period, drawing on contemporary diaries, illustrations, letters, novels, travel literature and archives.
• Were all unmarried affluent men really 'in want of a wife?'
• Where would a young lady seek adventures?
• Would 'taking the waters' at Bath and other spas kill or cure you?
• Was Lizzy Bennet bitten by bed-bugs while travelling?
• What would you wear to a country ball, or a dance at Almack's?
• Would Mr Darcy have worn a corset?
• What hidden horrors lurked in elegant Regency houses?
Sue Wilkes simply takes you by the hand and walks you through Jane Austen’s world. A thoroughly engaging – and very informative – ‘eye-witness’ guide to everything from medical matters to modes of travel.Joceline Bury, Jane Austen's Regency World
Wilkes' "A Visitor's Guide to Jane Austen's England" is an essential addition to any lover of history and/or fine literature's bookshelves. Packed with detail and interesting quotes from Austen, her characters, and their contemporaries, along with explanations of the origins of common sayings we use now, Wilkes does an excellent job of highlighting the similarities and differences between England as I know it and the complicated and highly aromatic home of my ancestors. Thoroughly recommended!Gill Hoffs, author of 'The Sinking of RMS Tayleur'
As seen on historicalhoney.comHistorical Honey
Sue Wilkes plunges the reader straight into the delights and terrors of travelling around Georgian England in this well-researched and informative book. Her presentation is immediate and energetic.Jane Austen's Regency World
Writing in the style of a practical guidebook, Wilkes simply takes you by the hand and walks you through Jane Austen's world. A thoroughly engaging - and very informative - 'eye-witness' guide to everything from medical matters to modes of travel.
Sue Wilkes' engaging, conversational style, and choice of topics / anecdotes made me see the Regency world in a fresh way - one that reminded me of how strikingly similar the people and societal concerns of the1800s are to those in the 21st century. ... A perfect gift for every Janeite friend and family member.Austen Prose website
As seen in the South Wales Guardian.South Wales Guardian
Sue Wilkes provides an unusual perspective on the world of Austen's novels, uncovering the often unromantic truths behind the genteel façade. Offering a sensory review of this era in all its sights, sounds and smells, this title will appeal to both seasoned social history fans, costume drama lovers, history students and anyone with an interest in Jane Austen or the Regency period.Antiques Diary
An entertaining read...charmingly illustrated with contemporary images.Shields Gazette
This is an ingenious volume. The author, who has written extensively on social history and on genealogy, provides us with a detailed guide book to the habits, facilities, sights and values of Southern England in the early 19th century. Her walk-through of the territory is attractively supported by extensive quotations from the works of Jane Austen herself and from contemporaries.Federation of Family History Societies.
The text is lively and well arranged and the anecdotes relevant and illuminating. This is a book which Janites will enjoy and which will provide an informative context to the novels.
They'll find out how to dress for a country ball, or a dance at Almack's (a famous London Club). They'll also discover the hidden horrors inside those elegant Georgian houses, and the perils of travelling in Austen's day.Writer's News
An entertaining and fascinating book.Your Family Tree
A delightful book where the author leads the reader through a long lost world that has been immortalized in the writing of Jane Austen.Firetrench
The author skilfully conjures up all aspects of daily life within the period, drawing on contemporary diaries, illustrations, letters, novels, travel literature and archives.Julian Stockwin, author of the Silk Tree
This is an ingenious volume. The author, who has written extensively on social history and on genealogy, provides us with a detailed guide book to the habits, facilities, sights and values of Southern England in the early 19th century. Her walk-through of the territory is attractively supported by extensive quotations from the works of Jane Austen herself and from other contemporaries. The author comments that ‘ Austen’s observations of society were exceptionally astute ( though she was not infallible).’Federation of Family History Societies
The whole gamut of middleclass society is covered from domestic details (candlelight and privies) through travel (phaetons, barouches and stagecoaches ) to fashionable life in London ( Beau Brummell and dandies ). Perhaps the most interesting section deals with the etiquette (and pressure) to find a suitable marital partner, but as the author observes, ‘ It’s a man’s world’. Or as Jane herself describes it; ‘ Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.’
The text is lively and well arranged and the anecdotes relevant and illuminating. There is a selection of contemporary engravings, an extensive bibliography and a useful summary of Jane’s life. This is a book which Janeites will enjoy and which will provide an informative context to the novels.