What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist-the Facts of Daily Life in Nineteenth-Century EnglandRegular price $18.00 Sale price $13.79 Save $4.21
Author: Pool, Daniel
Number Of Pages: 416
Release Date: 21-04-1994
Part Number: illustrations
Details: Product Description A “delightful reader’s companion” (The New York Times) to the great nineteenth-century British novels of Austen, Dickens, Trollope, the Brontës, and more, this lively guide clarifies the sometimes bizarre maze of rules and customs that governed life in Victorian England. For anyone who has ever wondered whether a duke outranked an earl, when to yell “Tally Ho!” at a fox hunt, or how one landed in “debtor’s prison,” this book serves as an indispensable historical and literary resource. Author Daniel Pool provides countless intriguing details (did you know that the “plums” in Christmas plum pudding were actually raisins?) on the Church of England, sex, Parliament, dinner parties, country house visiting, and a host of other aspects of nineteenth-century English life—both “upstairs” and “downstairs. An illuminating glossary gives at a glance the meaning and significance of terms ranging from “ague” to “wainscoting,” the specifics of the currency system, and a lively host of other details and curiosities of the day. From Publishers Weekly This useful guide to Victorian life enlightens on such subjects as grave robbing, debtors' prison and putrid fever. Illustrations. BOMC, QPB and History Book Club alternates. Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. Review M.G. Lord New York Newsday A delightful book...indispensable to lovers of Victorian literature. Geoffrey Stokes The Boston Globe Indispensable...Pool has gathered together...the facts of daily life in 19th-century England, and no one who likes an occasional dip into the period's history or literature can afford to be without it. Glenn Giffin The Denver Post It's great fun reading this, and Pool has provided a valuable service. Patrick T. Reardon Chicago Tribune This entertaining social history is just the ticket for Americans who like to read Dickens and other 19th-century novelists...or for anyone who likes to read histories and biographies of that era. About the Author Daniel Pool received a doctorate in political science from Brandeis University and a law degree from Columbia University. He lives in New York City. Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. The Basics Currency Guineas, shillings, half-pence. You know what they are?" Mr. Dombey asks his little son Paul. Paul, Dickens tells us, knew, but the average reader of today is not always likely to be so knowledgeable. In the 1800s, British money was calculated in units of pounds, shillings, and pence. These were the units of value -- like the American mill, cent, and dollar -- in which all transactions were reckoned, regardless of whether the value was represented by a bookkeeping entry, by coin, by bank notes, or by notations written on a check. The actual physical instruments of currency were paper bank notes and gold, silver, copper, and bronze coins like the sixpence, the crown, the sovereign, the shilling piece, and the penny. Thus, for example, the physical units called pennies were used to measure the value created by an equivalent number of pence. (The guinea, uniquely, was a unit of physical currency that also became an abstract measure of value as well; that is, long after the actual guinea coin itself stopped being minted in the early 1800s, prices for luxury items like good horses and expensive clothes continued to be quoted in guineas as if it were some independent unit of value like the pound.) Sovereigns and half sovereigns were gold; crowns, half crowns, florins, shillings, sixpences, and threepences were silver; pence, ha'pence, and farthings were copper until 1860, after which they were bronze. The coins were issued by the Royal Mint, but the bank notes got their names from the fact that they were not issued by a government agency but by a bank, in fact -- after the mid-1800s -- only by the bank -- the Bank of England. Until then banks all over the country issued their own bank notes (or promises to pay), which circulated more or less like money.
Package Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.1 inches