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Eavesdropping on Jane Austen's England: How our ancestors lived two centuries ago [Hardcover]

Roy & Lesley Adkins
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
RRP: 20.00
Price: 16.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product Description


Scholarly but accessible . . . a must for anyone who wants a peek under Mr Darcy's wet shirt (Daily Mail)

A lively and impressionistic guide to the age, enjoyable for those entirely new to the subject, but also for the better informed, who will not only discover new facts in its wealth of material, but appreciate the immediacy and flavour of its eye-witness accounts (Rosemary Goring Sunday Herald)

In reconstructing the lives of ordinary people in Georgian England, Roy and Lesley Adkins vividly evoke the ways in which wealth and poverty coexisted ... This excellent book reminds us that Georgian England was as remote and alien to a modern sensibility as the Roman Empire (Nick Rennison Sunday Times)

a comprehensive survey of daily life in the time of Jane Austen, full of nuggets of surprising information ... a fine book for browsing (Peter Lewis Daily Mail)

Jane Austen's England provides a richly detailed portrait ... As this immensely useful and informative book makes clear, Regency England was no laughing matter (Jonathan Yardley Washington Post)

The authors provide a fascinating view of daily life in Britain during the late Georgian and Regency eras ... an excellent read, with each chapter offering a treasury of insights into the lives of Austen's contemporaries, both rich and poor (Carmela Ciuraru USA Today)

This encyclopedic and entertaining volume will suit readers who daydream about going back in time to walk alongside literary figures such as Austen ... While familiarity with her work will surely enhance reader delight, knowledge of the primary sources isn't necessary ... readers will appreciate its exciting sweep (Publishers Weekly)

For fans of Austen and English history, a deeply informative picture of Regency life (Kirkus Reviews)

Book Description

A revealing, spirited and fascinating account of what life was really like in Jane Austen's England.

From the Inside Flap

Jane Austen, arguably the greatest novelist of the English language, lived from 1775 to 1817. Her fiction focuses on the gentry and aristocracy, and her heroines are young women looking for love. Yet the comfortable, tranquil country that she brilliantly devised is a complete contrast to the England in which she actually lived. For twenty-nine of Jane Austen's forty-one years, the country was embroiled in war. These were troubled times, with disturbing changes in industry and agriculture and a constant dread of invasion. The loss of America was followed by terrifying revolution in neighbouring France, provoking fears that the sporadic unrest and rioting in England might lead to wholesale insurrection and the overthrow of the ruling classes.

Eavesdropping on Jane Austen's England explores the real England of that time. Drawing on a rich array of contemporary sources, including diaries, personal letters, newspapers and trial proceedings, Roy and Lesley Adkins vividly portray fascinating aspects of the daily lives of ordinary people. From forced marriages and the sale of wives in marketplaces to boys and girls working down mines or as chimney sweeps, this book eavesdrops on the daily chore of fetching water, the horror of ghosts and witches, Saint Monday, bull baiting, sedan chairs, highwaymen, the stench of corpses swinging on roadside gibbets and the horrors of surgery without anaesthetics.

Giving a voice to these forgotten people and revealing how they worked, played and struggled to survive, Eavesdropping on Jane Austen's England is an authoritative and gripping account that is sometimes humorous, often shocking, but always entertaining. It is a must-read for anyone wanting to discover the genuine story of Jane Austen's England.

From the Back Cover

Praise for Jack Tar

'Roy and Lesley Adkins bring their world alive . . . The material is so rich that this is a fascinating, even humbling read' Sunday Times

'An enthralling read' Sunday Telegraph

'An extraordinary read' Daily Mail, History Books of the Year

About the Author

Roy and Lesley Adkins are husband-and-wife historians and archaeologists, the bestselling authors of eighteen widely acclaimed books on social and naval history, archaeology, ancient Rome, ancient Greece and Egyptology. Their books include Jack Tar, Trafalgar, The War for All the Oceans, Empires of the Plain and The Keys of Egypt and have so far been translated into seventeen languages worldwide. Roy and Lesley Adkins are elected Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries of London and Members of the Institute for Archaeologists. For further information about them and their books, see their website www.adkinshistory.com.
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