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Behind closed doors : at home in Georgian England (2009)

por Amanda Vickery

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

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328562,157 (4.01)9
In this brilliant new work, the author unlocks the homes of Georgian England to examine the lives of the people who lived there. She introduces us to men and women from all walks of life: gentlewoman Anne Dormer in her stately Oxfordshire mansion, bachelor clerk and future novelist Anthony Trollope in his dreary London lodgings, genteel spinsters keeping up appearances in two rooms with yellow wallpaper, servants with only a locking box to call their own. She makes use of upholsterer's ledgers, burglary trials, and other unusual sources to reveal the roles of house and home in economic survival, social success, and political representation during the long eighteenth century. Through the spread of formal visiting, the proliferation of affordable ornamental furnishings, the commercial celebration of feminine artistry at home, and the currency of the language of taste, even modest homes turned into arenas of social campaign and exhibition.… (mais)
  1. 00
    Making the Grand Figure: Lives and Possessions in Ireland, 1641-1770 por Toby Barnard (nessreader)
    nessreader: Both are about exploring material culture to uncover the inner worlds of the 18th century - both highly readable and beautifully illustrated. Vickery talks about London, mostly, but overlaps with Barnard's time period
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Mostrando 5 de 5
An Englishman's home, as the saying goes, may be his castle, but three hundred years ago it was becoming so much more. In the 18th century, the English home served as a place in which its inhabitants sought to define themselves through the use of décor. As more people socialized in their homes, their living spaces became venues in which their identity could be displayed for others to see for themselves. The emergence and development of this trend is the subject of Amanda Vickery's book, which analyzes the lives of the men and women of Georgian England by examining the homes in which they lived.

In studying Georgian homes, Vickery uses a number of different perspectives. Among her goals is the reintroduction of men into the picture, which she does most notably in her chapter on the homes of bachelors. Yet as she demonstrates, the furnishing and decoration of homes was predominantly a female concern, albeit one often handled in consultation with the men of the household. Such decisions were often mundane, and focused more on simple maintenance rather than grand refurbishment, but all of them reflected the interests of the participants and were shaped by the concept of "taste" that emerged during this period, which charted a path that increasing numbers were compelled to take.

Detailed, insightful, and well-written, Vickery's book offers a fascinating examination of life in Georgian England. Because of the limitations of her sources, it is by necessity an examination focused primarily on the upper classes, yet she succeeds in taking account books, ledgers, and other mundane sources to reconstruct their lives, showing the growing importance of home life and the weight contemporaries placed on defining their domestic environment. Her success in unearthing these details and bringing the Georgian world back to life makes this book a necessary read for anyone interested in 18th century England, one that will likely serve as an indispensable study of the subject for decades to come. ( )
  MacDad | Mar 27, 2020 |
It's about living in Georgian England and what the household politics would probably have been like. The life and times of people from a few sources, the accounts books (apparently women did the household accounts and the men did the estate books); diaries; merchant accounts and letters mostly. It was interesting to see where the roots of the tradition of a parlour in Ireland was, and this was where I had problems with the book. The period traditions were treated as alien things, not things that have echoed down the ages and some of the commentary about furniture failed to see how and why someone might want to, in a house that is largely their husband's, a space of their own, even if it was only a desk. And where someone might decide to, when faced with someone who didn't respect their space (which would probably have been often in a world where women were regarded as ornaments rather than people) they would have procured things for themselves that would have been seen by the men as wrong to use, whether that was style or size. A desk suited to a small woman would have been difficult for a large man to use. I didn't see the author see subversion in these things, or see the widow buy many tea pots because her husband belittle her "tea habit". Humankind hasn't changed much, just the decorations.

The author also attests that yellow isn't seen in heraldry and therefore isn't caught up in symbolism. Yellow and gold were inter-changable in heralry (for the most part, it's a little more complicated than that but it is largely thus) and were given a lot of the same attributes and two minutes with a reasonable heraldry book would give you this information, hell two minutes with the Heradry Society website and their introduction to Heraldry PDF https://www.theheraldrysociety.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Heraldry-For-Begin... (page 10) would tell you what you need to know about yellow/gold (sweet they have rules for same-sex marriage crests...https://www.college-of-arms.gov.uk/resources/same-sex-marriages, their wages (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/College_of_Arms#Wages) are a joke and actually if you examine them are the same as they were in 1831 only translated from £Sd to Decimal, I'd much rather be a herald in Ireland than the UK); yes I know too much about the topic.

Honestly this is the only way to really test a book, to test what you know against it and then see where there are flaws and then determine if you trust the rest, I don't know any better.

It's not a bad read, a little dry in places but interesting to show how people of a different time lived. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Jul 24, 2018 |
I can't claim to love this social history of Georgian England, as I found it a bit dry and very academic in its style and approach. However, I did appreciate the anecdotes used throughout the book to illustrate how a sometimes abstract social perception actually played out in people's lives. I do think the author could have discussed the differences between the social classes in this era more, which would provide a more complete picture of society. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Jul 29, 2017 |
This book has had considerable good reviews - some of them reproduced selectively in my paperback copy; but after reading most of the book I found myself wondering whether the praise was quite accurate. The book is undoubtedly interesting, and encapsulates a good deal of original research into sources on domesticity in the Georgian period (though this period is conveniently stretched to get a wider range of sources included). An example of this is the chapter which uses the records of a wallpaper company to draw conclusions about the class and gender characteristics of taste in decoration. And there are many original diaries etc used which reveal the domestic aspects of a wide range of lives. What this book does not do is 'read like a novel' as one review claims. It is more like a monograph masquerading as popular history. ( )
2 vote ponsonby | Apr 2, 2011 |
One of the reasons that I like history so much is learning that people are the same no matter when they lived. They have the same hopes and dreams. They love their children and hate their in-laws. They have good bosses and bad bosses, and bouts of unemployment. They feud with their neighbors and their extended families. They are just like us but without indoor plumbing and cable.

Amanda Vickery has delved into the treasury trove of diaries, retail records, probate records and household account books to provide us with a detailed and intimate look at life during the Georgian period which she defines as 1660 to 1850. We catch glimpses into the lives of bachelors, spinsters, tradespeople and the wealthy. Changing tastes and habits are traced through styles of furniture and wallpaper. Most surprising to me were the number of “lodgers”, people renting one or two rooms in a house, in cities during this period.

As fascinating as the details in this book are, I found myself vaguely disappointed. I realized that I already knew most of the information presented by Ms. Vickery through my reading of Jane Austen. In fact, Ms. Vickery quotes Jane Austen frequently in support for her conclusions. Jane Austen’s vivid descriptions of the homes and lives of her characters are perfect illustrations of the very people that Ms. Vickery is trying to bring to life for us.

Which leads me to wonder, do we really need this book? Are Jane Austen’s books not "history" because they are fiction? Perhaps "Behind Closed Doors" would better be described as finding the factual basis for Jane Austen’s fictional world. Budding novelists are always advised to write what they know which is exactly what Jane Austen did. How well she wrote about the world she knew, is shown by Ms. Vickery’s extensive research into the life and times of the people of Georgian England. ( )
2 vote OldRoses | Apr 23, 2010 |
Mostrando 5 de 5
For a decade or so popular historical imagination has been dominated by two sorts of Georgians. The first are the libertines, the frisky Casanovas who wink knowingly at their unborn Victorian grandchildren before setting off on yet another erotic frolic. The second lot are the tasteful Georgians, the ones who spend all their time polishing their tea caddies and getting giddy on the fancy new fabrics pouring in from the east. Both types might be described as residing behind closed doors. But it is the second group, the curtain-hanging, figurine-fingering kind, whom Amanda Vickery dissects in this brilliant book.
adicionada por fannyprice | editarThe Guardian, Kathryn Hughes (Oct 24, 2009)
 

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Broughton, MatthewDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Faulks, SarahDesignerautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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In this brilliant new work, the author unlocks the homes of Georgian England to examine the lives of the people who lived there. She introduces us to men and women from all walks of life: gentlewoman Anne Dormer in her stately Oxfordshire mansion, bachelor clerk and future novelist Anthony Trollope in his dreary London lodgings, genteel spinsters keeping up appearances in two rooms with yellow wallpaper, servants with only a locking box to call their own. She makes use of upholsterer's ledgers, burglary trials, and other unusual sources to reveal the roles of house and home in economic survival, social success, and political representation during the long eighteenth century. Through the spread of formal visiting, the proliferation of affordable ornamental furnishings, the commercial celebration of feminine artistry at home, and the currency of the language of taste, even modest homes turned into arenas of social campaign and exhibition.

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2 edições deste livro foram publicadas por Yale University Press.

Edições: 0300154534, 0300168969

 

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