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Elizabeth's London: Everyday Life in Elizabethan London Audio Cassette – Abridged, Audiobook
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Liza Picard's Elizabeth's London completes a trilogy of books on London throughout history, starting with Restoration London and followed by Dr Johnson's London. From the outset, Picard admits that Elizabethan London proved an even greater challenge to reconstruct, as "few buildings survive", and "artefacts and clothes from the time are rare". Nevertheless, through painstaking detail, Picard wonderfully recreates the crowded chaotic sights and smells of everyday life in late 16th-century London.
Her journey starts, like so many admirers of the city from Chaucer to Ackroyd, on the river Thames, "a uniform opaque grey" in Elizabeth's time, but "fairly unpolluted, judging from all the fish in it," and "a superb processional route between the royal palaces." From here Picard surveys London life, from its main streets, its water supply and its civic buildings of timber and stone, to the houses, people, clothes, food, drink and entertainment that defined one of the most prosperous cities in 16th-century Europe.
Everything is told in all its raw, sensual detail, from the ways in which "the butcher's professional skills" were used to disembowel those unfortunate enough to be convicted of capital offences, to the cost of pins for dressmaking--one shilling and eight pence per thousand. At times, the sheer detail of Picard's book can be overwhelming, and there is no specific argument that unites her observations, but the sheer scale of information is extremely impressive. -Jerry Brotton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Her formula ... is a winning one ... Elizabeth's London is, like its predecessors, a storehouse of fascinating information. Every page contains a nugget ... From birth to death, and everything in between, Picard has given us a wide-ranging survey of London and Londoners in an earlier age (Lucy Moore DAILY MAIL)
From traffic congestion to cures for kidney stones; from water supplies to wood panelling; from etiquette to immigrants; from gardening to childbirth: it's all here in this captivating portrait of one of the world's greatest cities in its greatest age. For all the easy-going tone, this is a work of impressive learning, full of details of everyday practicalities that most recent history books ignore. Often a revelation, it's invariably a pleasure (Michael Kerrigan SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY)
An exuberant book ... a conscientious and scholarly analysis of London's condition in the 16th century, contemplating every civic aspect from the sartorial to the gynaecological. Reading this book is like taking a ride on a marvellously exhilarating time-machine, alive with colour, surprise and sheer merriment (Jan Morris NEW STATESMAN)
This riveting account embraces everything from immigration, crime and poor relief, to the invention in 1596 of the water closet. There are fascinating chapters on the naming and shaming of miscreants ... Picard reads with style and grace (Betty Tadman SCOTSMAN)
The third of Picard's series of London histories is full of ... evocative images and little gems of information ... Picard is at her most entertaining in describing the agonies of Elizabethan fashion ... Picard's technique of using short entries to cover all aspects of daily life makes her books so rewarding to dip into (Maureen Waller THE TIMES)
The reader is taken along the Thames, through the city drains and conduits to the sewers and privies, buildings, gardens and streets, from there to the people who crowded them, and to their complexes and cares. There is much to learn here: how to amputate a leg, or bake a humble pie (deer's entrails with mutton suet). The author has a charming fascination with words and their origins ... This is a vibrant, sparkling insight given with great zest and personality (Alex Burghart TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT)
A warts-and-all portrayal of the sights, stinks and cries of this vibrant, teeming and unsanitary city. Every chapter is filled with incident and accident ... Picard's book contains many surprises ... Elizabeth's London provides a wonderfully evocative portrait of this lively, if squalid, city, and is an essential companion to the author's previous books (Giles Milton LIVING HISTORY)
Drawing on a variety of sources, including records from Queen Elizabeth I's astrologer, doctors, churchwardens and foreign visitors, Elizabeth's London describes what life was like 400 years ago, not for the royal courtiers we so often see in period dramas, but for ordinary Londoners. It covers all the topics you might expect - such as food, buildings, diseases and religion - as well as the more unusual realities of life during Elizabeth's reign ... Following Dr Johnson's London and Restoration London, Picard again demonstrates her enormous knowledge of, and passion for, London's past (Les Pickford GEOGRAPHICAL)
A book that is both historically sound and hysterically funny, this is one to be cherished (GOOD BOOK GUIDE)
Setting out to provide a detailed inventory of daily life in Tudor London ... she is unflappably curious in her sifting through 16th-century lives (Andrew Holgate SUNDAY TIMES)
Picard makes spirited use of topographies, diaries, letters, account books, wills and inventories to detail the costs and conditions of this unprecedented expansion ... The author's third guide-book to the capital's past is as highly readable as her earlier examinations of Restoration and Georgian London (Robin Blake FINANCIAL TIMES)
An evocative survey of the satisfactions and vexations of life in the capital in the later 16th century (HISTORY TODAY)
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on 8 March 2017
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I have all Liza Picard books, they are so informative with a good mixture of humour, that she has, included in her writing.
on 30 October 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Picard's book has a place in many homes - the coffee table - although she is no great stylist; her style may best be described as serviceable. With Mantel having raised the bar in fiction of this age, the standards expected from non-fiction are likely to be higher too. [I note that many prefer Peter Ackroyd's general history of the city, though I find him too flighty and would go for the great Roy Porter's 'A Social History' for preference]. You get a sense of the city in its (very) early modern phase, a metropolis of bustle and trade, clearly exciting if therefore on the dangerous edge of things. This book captures some of that and is easy to read as well as full of interesting information. It is not for the serious scholar nor for the already well informed, however...,.possibly for some tourists and people not familiar with it or with history. I do not mean to damn this with faint praise and I realise that her other books on the place please many and seem to satisfy an appetite; that is not nothing.
on 5 March 2008
Although this book is not the best written account of life in historical London it is still an enjoyable read and would suit a coffee table of anyone interested in London or the Elizabethan era. The main sources used are John Stows survey of London first published 1598 and the Dairy of Simon Foreman, these are easily available and you may ask would it be best to read straight from these sources. Compared to Peter Ackroyd's amazing work of a biography of London this is a pale comparison. All this being said as a light read it is an enjoyable dip into Elizabethan Life in London
on 19 September 2004
Living in America, I don't have the wealth of intuitive understanding of your history as you do. I thought the book was a very easy read and had alot of very interesting facts and info in it. I like the way Ms. Picard catigorized her book and how breifly (but still getting across the idea) she described things and brought a dusty era to life. (That's a lawyer right there. I have read WAY too many long-winded historians!) Considering that there is not a whole lot of information out there for her to draw on regarding this subject, I think she did an excellent job. Of course her books on the 17th and 18th century will be better, as there were more diaryist out there and more things were written and saved. I liked this book. Looking to reading more of her.
on 3 May 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Once again Ms Picard has provided us with an invaluable and entertaining source book on social history. A rare combination - someone who can inform and yet amuse and delight all at the same time. I wish I'd have had a history teacher like this in school! Highly recommended.
on 20 March 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I think some parts of this will have you fascinated, but there's an awful lot of dry, pedantic stuff that's only interesting if you're absolutely obsessed with the Elizabethan period. I can see why it'd be an excellent source book for historical novelists or film makers looking for authenticity, but it's not always so riveting for the every day reader. Nevertheless, it's definitely worth wading through for the more interesting parts if this period of history intrigues you.
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Most recent customer reviews
Afraid I'm not a fan of this. Having read 'Life in a Medieval Castle' which was excellent, I was keen for more historical perspectives but the author's style is rambling, jumpy...Read more
Really accessible with a wide bibliography for further reading. Very enjoyable to read and rewarding to return to. Paints a vivid picture.
Every detail you could want to know! Notes given and reading list for further research.
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