It’s perfectly fine with me that the weather’s too miserable for outdoor activities. I’ve purchased new books to keep me warm.
Our Tempestuous Day: A History of Regency England, Carolly Erickson, ISBN 1-86105-341-X
In her book’s preface, the author writes: “Beneath the surface glitter of Regency life-the opulent interiors, the elegant dress, the grand, scenic architecture-was an underlying malaise, a pervasive emptiness and sense of loss that afflicted a wide spectrum of the populace. Equally powerful was a shift in the moral tone, an urge to uplift, improve and spiritually regenerate the realm-and the world, if possible. These forces, along with the explosive undercurrents of popular unrest and political radicalism, gave the decade its tensions, which worked themselves through amid war, recurrent economic crises and brutally rapid social change.”
Mistress of the House: Great Ladies and Grand Houses, 1670-1830, Rosemary Baird, ISBN 0-297-83078-3
One reviewer said of this book: “The chief pleasure of the book lies in the way Baird brings the personalities of the chatelaines to life. She has drawn skilfully on family archives and deploys a dry wit to pleasing effect. For example, when discussing the correspondence of the 5th Duke of Rutland and his Duchess, the former Elizabeth Howard, who rebuilt Belvoir Castle, the author observes of the Duke, ‘He was, like most men, not very interested in moans and complaints.’ The Duchess ‘had been taught by her mother that men only liked happy women and that whingeing was unattractive’. For all her scholarship, Baird has a refreshing taste for the demotic. Thus she has fun with ‘the celebrity culture of the 18th century’, refers to 18th-century Sloane Rangers and calls Louise de Keroualle, Charles II’s mistress who became Duchess of Portsmouth, ‘the ultimate material girl’.”- Where There’s a Will There’s a Wife
Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the English Middle Class, 1780-1850, Leonore Davidoff and Catherine Hall, ISBN 0-226-13733-3
Considered a seminal work in class and gender history, this book’s tone is dry and academic. But it is jammed with fascinating information and thus perfect to use as a reference. “The book explores how the middle class constructed its own institutions, material culture and values during the industrial revolution, looking at two settings—urban manufacturing Birmingham and rural Essex—both centers of active capitalist development. The use of sources is dazzling: family business records, architectural designs, diaries, wills and trusts, newspapers, prescriptive literature, sermons, manuscript census tracts, the papers of philanthropic societies, popular fiction, and poetry.” – Google book quote