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Elegant Etiquette in the Nineteenth Century (Paperback)

Social History

By Mallory James
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 137
ISBN: 9781526705204
Published: 15th November 2017



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Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to live in the nineteenth century? How would you have got a partner in a ballroom? What would you have done with a letter of introduction? And where would you have sat in a carriage?

Covering all these nineteenth-century dilemmas and more, this book is your must-have guide to the etiquette of our well-heeled forebears. As it takes you through the intricacies of rank, the niceties of the street, the good conduct that was desired in the ballroom and the awkward blunders that a lady or gentleman would of course have wanted to avoid, you will discover an abundance of etiquette advice from across the century. Elegant Etiquette is a lively, occasionally tongue-in-cheek and thoroughly detailed history of nineteenth century manners and conduct.

Drawing upon research into contemporary advice and guidance, Elegant Etiquette is both fun and compelling reading for anyone with an interest in this period. In exploring the expectations of behaviour and etiquette, it seeks to bring the world of the nineteenth century back to life.

★★★★★ There are always things we can learn from the past and it is important to learn and remember. Another great little volume from Pen & Sword and one that I particularly recommend to anybody interested in XIX century history, novels, movies set in the period, and to writers and creators looking for inspiration or researching that era. It is also a fun read for people that study social history or are interested in the origins of some of our customs and on how these have changed. Unmissable.

Read the complete review here.

Olga Núñez Miret, Author/translator Blog

This enjoyable book is packed full of revealing facts and unexpected information. Despite its relatively low page count, it is a comprehensive volume that leaves few -if any - stones unturned when it comes to social occasions. Perhaps aware of the occasionally obscure customs that she is dealing with, James ensues that each chapter goes into the social mores of the matter in question, explaining important topics ranging from precedence and rank to marriage and employing households servants, among others.

All of this adds up to a very entertaining read and one that casual researchers and those looking for a quick guide to etiquette will find invaluable. Authors of 19th-century fiction in particular will certainly find it a useful addition to their bookshelves!

All About History, April 2018

For fans of fun facts this book is definitely recommended. And sometimes the book made me long for the time where we also did some more manners in the Netherlands. "Normal practice" seems to become the social standard, but what is that?

A nice idea to think about during a cup of tea.

Read the complete review here.

My Inner Victorian

Covering the intricacies of rank, the niceties of the street, the good conduct that was desired in the ballroom and the awkward blunders that a lady or gentleman would want to avoid, this is a lively, occasionally tongue-in-cheek discourse on nineteenth century manners and conduct. Based on advice given in the etiquette manuals of the time a useful reference for anyone interested in this fascinating period. And the Notes on each chapter and bibliography provide pointers for delving further into the world of polite society 200 years ago.

Julian Stockwin - Action-adventure historical fiction

An amusing yet informative take on good manners and behaviour in years gone by.
The cover alone evidences the off-beat tone used in the content which includes fashion, politics and acceptable social behaviours of both genders.

Incorporating behaviours between social classes, it looks at marital and class status too. This charming book offers a selection of black and white photography showing the intricacies of 19c fashion.

An amusing read, of potential value to a historical writer needing to research characteristics of people from this era.

For the Love of Books

The book is obviously well-researched, citing several etiquette guides published during the 19th century, used by the very people who followed the rules within them.

Elegant Etiquette also features several glossy black and white photos of 19th century garments and accessories, a perfect addition to the chapter on etiquette relating to fashion.

Read the complete review here.

The Lazy Historian, Jill Hamilton

As featured in

Ripperologist, December 2017 – January 2018

Basis of nineteenth-century manners article by Thomas Blaikie

The Lady, 2nd February 2018

★★★★★ Smart, witty, daintily and sassy-worded chapters about inherited/familial ranks and titles versus those earned from military service, offering and accepting social calls inside and out (like the most ideal time to be seen walking or riding, choosing and seating guests effectively during a dinner party), dancing (not accepting food, drink, or dances from strangers), speaking, writing letters (on stationary featuring a family crest, calling cards), hiring servants (on recommendation, never publicly berating them), marriage (wedding tours/honeymoons) and domestic life (fashion, jewelry, and hygiene).

GoodReads, Kristine Fisher

List feature: '5 steps to 19th-century etiquette'

All About History, February 2018

About Mallory James

Mallory James studied for her undergraduate degree in History and German at University College London, before moving to postgraduate study at Queen Mary University of London. She now lives in Wiltshire with her husband, and when not writing, can be found displaying a surprising aptitude for DIY as they renovate their Victorian house.

Perfect Partner

History of Men's Etiquette A Short Guide to the Sporting Life (Hardback)

This is Nicholas Storey’s third book in the series, following History of Men’s Fashion: What The Well Dressed Man Is Wearing (2008), and History of Men’s Accessories: A Short Guide For Men About Town (2011) and is called History of the Sporting Life: A Short Guide to Some Sports and Pursuits For The Man of The World. This book, also with historical and social background, covers: the conduct of sporting events, including recommendations for a selection of sporting equipment, being all the necessary equipment for: shooting, fishing, hunting, tennis, badminton, squash and golf; something of…

By Nicholas Storey

Click here to buy both titles for £32.98
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