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What Jane Austen ate and Charles Dickens knew : from fox hunting to whist : the facts of daily life in nineteenth-century England
1993
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  Library Journal Review

This guide to daily life in 19th-centuryEngland is a welcome companion for readers of Austin, the Brontes, Dickens, and Trollope. The first section is a collection of engrossing short chapters on various aspects of British life, including clothing, etiquette, marriage, money, occupations, society, and transportation. For example, customs now lost but very much practiced at the time were primogeniture, which ensured that the great family houses would not be split up, and the avoidance of eating cheese by the middle class, who considered it a food for the poor. The second part of the book is a glossary of commonly used words or phrases that may be unfamiliar to the modern reader; for instance, tar was a colloquial name for a sailor. Although there are many books on the social history of 19th-century Britain (including several companions to Victorian fiction), this volume is useful because of its concise chapters and lengthy glossary. Recommended for general literature collections.-- Caroline Mitchell, Washington, D.C. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Devotees of Austen, Dickens, the Brontes and the like will enjoy this overview of everyday English life in the era depicted by that nation's greatest novelists. As an aid for readers of vintage fiction, Pool, a lawyer turned freelance writer, has compiled more than 60 short chapters that cover the public, private and ``grim'' aspects of life in 19th-century England, appending a long glossary and a bibliography. Beyond his lucid presentation of the historical facts, Pool offers a series of intriguing narratives: tracing the evolution of the hunt, for example, and explaining the persistence of grave robbers. Frequent references to well-known novels help elucidate institutions, customs and practices that have for the most part lapsed into obscurity. At times, these constant examples become monotonous; but fans of the English novel, even if they have a low tolerance for secondhand Trollope, will want to have this useful volume at hand. Illustrations. BOMC, QPB and History Book Club alternates. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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