Consuming Passions: Leisure and Pleasure in Victorian Britain


Judith Flanders - 2006
    That was what England was like in the early eighteenth century. Yet by the close of the nineteenth century, the Industrial Revolution had brought with it not just factories, railways, mines and machines but also brought fashion, travel, leisure and pleasure.Leisure became an industry, a cornucopia of excitement for the masses. And it was spread by newspapers, by advertising, by promotions and publicity - all eighteenth, not twentieth century creations. It was Josiah Wedgwood and his colleagues who invented money-back guarantees, free delivery, and celebrity endorsements. New technology such as the railways brought audiences to ever-more-elaborate extravaganzas, whether it was theatrical spectaculars with breathtaking pyrotechnics and hundreds of extras, 'hippodramas' recreating the battle of Waterloo, or the Great Exhibition itself, proudly displaying 'the products of all quarters of the globe' under twenty-two acres of a sparkling 'Crystal Palace'.In 'Consuming Passions', the bestselling author of 'The Victorian House' explores this dramatic revolution in science, technology and industry - and how a world of thrilling sensation, lavish spectacle and unimaginable theatricality was born.

Victorian People and Ideas


Richard D. Altick - 1973
    In this important study, Richard D. Altick moves us toward an understanding of the social, intellectual, and theological crises that Carlyle and Dickens, Tennyson and Arnold were daily struggling to solve. And the issues were many: the revolution in class structure and class attitudes; the rise of utilitarianism and the evangelical spirit; the crisis in religion, including the Oxford movement and Darwinism; the democratization of culture; the place of art and the artist in an industrial, bourgeois society; the effects of industrialism, especially on the way people live. Altick brings to the discussion of these complicated questions the lively and sensitive intelligence that his many readers have come to expect. He includes contemporary illustrations and a full reference index.

Inventing the Victorians


Matthew Sweet - 2001
    As Sweet shows us in this brilliant study, many of the concepts that strike us as terrifically new - political spin-doctoring, extravagant publicity stunts, hardcore pornography, anxieties about the impact of popular culture upon children - are Victorian inventions. Most of the pleasures that we imagine to be our own, the Victorians enjoyed first: the theme park, the shopping mall, the movies, the amusement arcade, the crime novel and the sensational newspaper report. They were engaged in a well-nigh continuous search for bigger and better thrills. If Queen Victoria wasn't amused, then she was in a very small minority . . .Matthew Sweet's book is an attempt to re-imagine the Victorians; to suggest new ways of looking at received ideas about their culture; to distinguish myth from reality; to generate the possibility of a new relationship between the lives of nineteenth-century people and our own.

The Victorians


A.N. Wilson - 2002
    The crucial players in this drama were the British, who invented both capitalism and imperialism and were incomparably the richest, most important investors in the developing world. In this sense, England's position has strong resemblances to America's in the late twentieth century.As one of our most accomplished biographers and novelists, A. N. Wilson has a keen eye for a good story, and in this spectacular work he singles out those writers, statesmen, scientists, philosophers, and soldiers whose lives illuminate so grand and revolutionary a history: Darwin, Marx, Gladstone, Christina Rossetti, Gordon, Cardinal Newman, George Eliot, Kipling. Wilson's accomplishment in this book is to explain through these signature lives how Victorian England started a revolution that still hasn't ended.

Gibraltar: The History of a Fortress


Ernle Bradford - 1971
     In ancient times, it was known as one of the Pillars of Hercules, and a glance at its formidable mass suggests that it may well have been created by the gods. Sought after by every nation with territorial ambitions in Europe, Asia, and Africa, Gibraltar was possessed by the Arabs, the Spanish, and ultimately the British, who captured it in the early 1700s and held onto it in a siege of more than three years late in the eighteenth century. The fact that that was one of more than a dozen sieges exemplifies Gibraltar’s quintessential value as a prize and the desperation of governments to fly their flag above its forbidding ramparts. Bradford uses his matchless skill and knowledge to take the reader through the history of this great and unique fortress. From its geological creation to its two-thousand-year influence on politics and war, he crafts the compelling tale of how these few square miles played a major part in history. Ernle Bradford's books have been widely praised. 'A gripping story' - The Economist. Ernle Bradford (1922-1986) was an historian who wrote books on naval battles and historical figures. Among his subjects were Lord Nelson, the Mary Rose, Christopher Columbus, Julius Caesar and Hannibal. He also documented his own voyages on the Mediterranean Sea.

Dickens' Fur Coat and Charlotte's Unanswered Letters: The Rows and Romances of England's Great Victorian Novelists


Daniel Pool - 1997
    Dickens' Fur Coat and Charlotte's Unanswered Letters plunks the reader down in the middle of the London book world to expose the madcap shenanigans, rows, rivalries, and general mayhem perpetrated by the supposedly prudish Victorians. We see Dickens on his first American book tour having bits of his fur coat snipped off by manic fans, romantic rumors swirling around Thackeray and Charlotte Bronte, Anthony Trollope scheming with Thomas Hardy in an attempt to get more money for his novels, and Bulwer Lytton (of "It was a dark and stormy night" fame) apparently plotting to poison his wife An eye-opening cultural history and a marvelously entertaining read, this is sure to be a gift book all fans of Victoriana fans.

Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe


Hayden White - 1973
    This deeper content - the metahistorical element - indicates what an appropriate historical explanation might be.In pursuing his thesis, White provides a book that will be of interest to philosophers as well as historians. He explicates the styles of such historians as Michelet, Ranke, Tocueville, and Borchardt and of such philosophers of history as Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Croce.

The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry


Walter Pater - 1873
    Pater was shocked at the reaction his book inspired: 'I wish they would not call me a hedonist, it gives such a wrong impression to those who do not know Greek.'.The book had begun as a series of idiosyncratic, impressionistic critical essays on those artists that embodied for him the spirit of the Renaissance; by collecting them and adding his infamous Conclusion, Pater gained a reputation as a daring modern philosopher. But The Renaissance survives as one of the most innovative pieces of cultural criticism to emerge from the nineteenth century.

Alice, The Enigma - A Biography of Queen Victoria's Daughter


Christina Croft - 2013
    The contradictions in her personality are so striking that, while she has often been overshadowed by her more illustrious brother, King Edward VII, and her brilliant sister, the German Empress Frederick, she remains to this day an enigma, the depths of whose character are virtually impossible to penetrate. By the time of her premature death at the age of only thirty-five, Alice had lived through two wars, had lost two of her children, and had exhausted herself in her devotion to duty to the extent that she suffered from disillusionment almost to the point of despair. Nonetheless, in the final tragic weeks of her life, she met unimaginable grief with courage and serenity, and her last words demonstrated her ultimate redemption and the beautiful restoration of all she had loved and lost.

Daily Life in the Middle Ages


Paul B. Newman - 2001
    The era was not so primitive and crude as depictions in film and literature would suggest. Even during the worst years of the centuries immediately following the fall of Rome, the legacy of that civilization survived. This book covers diet, cooking, housing, building, clothing, hygiene, games and other pastimes, fighting and healing in medieval times. The reader will find numerous misperceptions corrected. The book also includes a comprehensive bibliography and a listing of collections of medieval art and artifacts and related sites across the United States and Canada so that readers in North America can see for themselves some of the matters discussed in the book. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

London in the Nineteenth Century: A Human Awful Wonder of God


Jerry White - 2007
    Its wealth was dazzling. Its horrors shocked the world. As William Blake put it, London was 'a Human awful wonder of God'. It was a century of genius - of Blake, Thackeray and Mayhew, of Nash, Faraday, Disraeli and Dickens. Jerry White's dazzling book is the first in a hundred years to explore London's history over the nineteenth century as a whole. We see the destruction of old London and the city's unparalleled suburban expansion. We see how London absorbed people from all over Britain, from Europe and the Empire. We see how Londoners worked and played. Most of all, we see how they tried to make sense of their city and make it a better place in which to live. Emerging clearly from this eloquent and richly-detailed overview is the London we see about us today.

Our Tempestuous Day: History Of Regency England


Carolly Erickson - 1986
    Yet beneath the surface glitter of the Regency lay an underlying malaise, a pervasive hollowness and sense of loss, along with an explosive undercurrent of popular unrest and political radicalism.It was indeed a tempestuous, quicksilver era, haunted by war and the human wreckage of war, and by fears of Luddite violence and risings of the overtaxed, underfed poor. A time of financial uncertainty when fortunes were made and lost amid high risk and the ever-present specter of bankruptcy.And it was, memorably, a time studded with larger-than-life personalities: the aged king in his slow decline into delusion; the flamboyant Prince Regent in his extravagant Brighton Pavilion; the Duke of Wellington, hero of Waterloo; the debauched, tragically fissured Lord Byron, hero to the women of fashionable London. These and many others are brought to vibrant life in this wide-ranging, captivating social history--a history as dramatic as the times themselves.

Victorian London: The Tale of a City 1840-1870


Liza Picard - 2005
    This period of mid-Victorian London covers a huge span: Victoria's wedding and the place of the royals in popular esteem; how the very poor lived, the underworld, prostitution, crime, prisons and transportation; the public utilities - Bazalgette on sewers and road design, Chadwick on pollution and sanitation; private charities - Peabody, Burdett Coutts - and workhouses; new terraced housing and transport, trains, omnibuses and the Underground; furniture and decor; families and the position of women; the prosperous middle classes and their new shops, e.g. Peter Jones, Harrods; entertaining and servants, food and drink; unlimited liability and bankruptcy; the rich, the marriage market, taxes and anti-semitism; the Empire, recruitment and press-gangs. The period begins with the closing of the Fleet and Marshalsea prisons and ends with the first (steam-operated) Underground trains and the first Gilbert & Sullivan.

A Brief History of Life in Victorian Britain


Michael Paterson - 2008
    Using character portraits and key events, Paterson brings the world of Victorian Britain alive, from the lifestyles of the aristocrats to the depths of the London slums.

How to Be a Victorian


Ruth Goodman - 2013
    . .We know what life was like for Victoria and Albert, but what was it like for a commoner? How did it feel to cook with coal and wash with tea leaves? Drink beer for breakfast and clean your teeth with cuttlefish? Dress in whalebone and feed opium to the baby? Catch the omnibus to work and wash laundry while wearing a corset? How To Be A Victorian is a new approach to history, a journey back in time more intimate, personal, and physical than anything before. It is one told from the inside out--how our forebears interacted with the practicalities of their world--and it's a history of those things that make up the day-to-day reality of life, matters so small and seemingly mundane that people scarcely mention them in their diaries or letters. Moving through the rhythm of the day, from waking up to the sound of a knocker-upper man poking a stick at your window, to retiring for nocturnal activities, when the door finally closes on twenty-four hours of life, this astonishing guide illuminates the overlapping worlds of health, sex, fashion, food, school, work, and play.If you liked The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century or 1000 Years of Annoying the French, you will love this book.