project: Labyrinth (period
I think of this for the standard Janeite Regency
Romance, focused on London in the Season and perhaps Brighton
or Bath off-season. At the very least, characters will have been
to the spa-towns and ought to be able to discuss other characters
in terms of where they stayed and how they behaved. Notice the
contrast to the Napoleonic setting:
13 years and the same town, but Mr. Brummel and Lady Hester have
both departed, Almack's and the Lady Patronesses rule, and there's
a bunch of war veterans home, while travel to and from the Continent
is open again. Even so, there are a lot of the same books
in the lists.
However, this is meant for historical novels,
not fantasies set in Regencyland.
is that mythical place where most of the Regency Romances of
the 1970s and 1980s took place, on up until the genre really
killed itself off with readers in the 1990s. Present writers
usually know to do things like research the period in more than
other romance novels, but not always. They also tend to model
themselves on Austen rather than Georgette Heyer or, worse, her
would-be imitators. In Regencyland, Beau Brummell is a power
in London Society when in reality he had abscounded to France
by that year; the Lady Patronesses of Almack's reign in 1811,
when we cannot date them before 1815; gentlemen wear cravats
out of an 1840 list, or off one that was obviously satirical;
people dance dances not brought into England yet; they speak
a slang out of the 1780s; they duel like Frenchmen of the 1750s,
gaining societal points thereby rather than becoming pariahs;
and so on down the list of anachronisms.
THE ONE BOOK I USED CONSTANTLY
This turned out to be the wrong period
for what I wanted to do, but I didn't know that until I did so
much research I could set something here.
1). A general history of the time, not
over 200 pages.
Encyclopedia Americana, "Nineteenth Century":
it's quite an article. Look for similar on Wikipedia.
2.) An "everyday life" book of
of Illusion: Manners and Morals, 1750-1848 by James Laver. The range is particularly good because
it gives the era in which characters beyond debutantes grew up.
3.) General transportation
James Arnold; All
Drawn by Horses 1979; David & Charles, Newton
Abbot. Not only all sorts of carriages, but waggons, floats,
and delivery vans to be found on the roads.
4.) General costume
Boucher, François 20,000 Years of Fashion: The History of Costume
and Personal Adornment, Harry N. Abrams, NY, is always
my first check because it's in the house. You may want Costumers
5.) Specific transportation
William Pitt, Lord Lennox, 1799-1881; Coaching:
with Anecdotes of the Road; 1876; London: Hurst and
Blackett. Actually, I got every book on period coaching that
I could find. That and riding are so necessary.
6.) Etiquette, and I don't mean morals
Mirror of the Graces (1831) is deportment for maidens, not etiquette,
and prissy at that - the author would never approve the the fast
set I was aiming for: don't waste money on it. The
Laws of Etiquette: or, Short Rules and Reflections for Conduct
in Society of 1836 was a bit late and American, with
mythical Brummelliana, but at least addressed British manners.
I'm also not sure how seriously it is meant to be taken, as the
author is openly arrogant on some points, like "Anyone with
physical peculiarities should never go into society, or live
with the unpleasant nicknames he will get," or "One
only gives up a good seat in a public coach to a woman of the
common class because otherwise you would be ejected by the men
who are of her class." (I'm the one who contributed this
to PG out of my etiquette book collection, so I know it well
from keying it in.)
Early, but covering the standards: Gentlemen
& Lady's Companion; Containing The Newest Cotillions and
Country Dances; To Which is Added, Instances of Ill Manners,
to Be Carefully Avoided by Youth of Both Sexes; 1798;
Closer to the point might be Peacock, Francis, Sketches
Relative to the History and Theory, But More Especially to the
Practice of Dancing; as a Necessary Accomplishment to the Youth
of Both Sexes; Together with Remarks on the Defects and Bad Habits
They Are Liable to in Early Life; And the Best Means of Correcting
or Preventing Them. Intended as Hints to the Young Teachers of
the Art of Dancing; 1805, Aberdeen (notice
that these last two give me social dancing).
Still relevant is Philip Dormer Stanhope, Lord Chesterfield;
George Gregory, DD & Jedidiah Morse, DD, editors; The Elements of a Polite
Education, Carefully Selected from the Letters of the Late Right
Honorable Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield, to His
Son; 1801; Boston: Joseph Bumstead. Sometimes you
have to fake your way through the research gaps.
However, we can conduct a proper duel out of Wilson, Gov. John
of Honor; 1833, 1848: That's another kind of etiquette
7.) Spectator entertainments
Williams, Michael; Some
London Theatres Past and Present; 1883; London;
Sampson, Low, Marston, Searl, & Rivington; theatres and actors
in London, 1600-1880; somelondontheatr00willuoft.pdf. Also Shelley,
Henry C.; Inns
and Taverns of Old London: Setting Forth the Historical and Literary
Associations of Those Ancient Hostelries, Together with an Account
of the Most Notable Coffee-houses, Clubs, and Pleasure Gardens
of the British Metropolis; 1909; PG. This
covers inns, lodging, and entertainment, 1300-1850. Its greatest
use will be to stave off the invasions of Regencyland, because
it not only describes Vauxhall and Ranelagh Gardens, it tells
you when they were fashionable, when they were beneath notice,
and when they closed.
A new improvement in source: Edmund Hoyle (rev. by Charles Jones);
Games; (1814; W. Lowndes); cards, backgammon, dice,
gambling, checkers, board games, chess. Hoyle starts in 1742
with A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist. These whist
rules were superseded in 1864, so you have to watch dating if
you are going to describe games in detail. All those "Hoyle"
books are publisher's collections in constant update. Of course,
you want to get the older ones you can find as a PDF on line,
so as to be closer to your period. At Internet
Archive, your search is "Hoyle's AND games NOT Sierra
NOT magazine NOT Bondi NOT Lyttleton NOT 2012 AND mediatype:texts"
which leads to 38 of various ages (1814 forward), though the
newest are borrow only.
9.) Food and dining, including what sort
of public dining was available.
Inns and Taverns
of Old London: Setting Forth the Historical and Literary Associations
of Those Ancient Hostelries, Together with an Account of the
Most Notable Coffee-houses, Clubs, and Pleasure Gardens of the
British Metropolis was the
real gem. I had and found a number in this genre, mostly repetitive
of the same information about the Tabard and various country
inns, or the names and locales of London inns, but not so much
on what went on in them.
10.) Recipes for period food.
Farley, John, 18th cent; The
London art of cookery and domestic housekeepers' complete assistant:
uniting the principles of elegance, taste, and economy : and
adapted to the use of servants, and families of every description
...; Containing every elegant and plain preparation in improved
modern cookery -- 1811 London: Printed for
Scatcherd and Letterman ...
Kitchiner, William, 1775?-1827 The
Cook's oracle: containing receipts for plain cookery on the most
economical plan for private families, also the art of composing
the most simple, and most highly finished broths, gravies, soups,
sauces, store sauces, and flavoring essences : the quantity of
each article is accurately stated by weight and measure, the
whole being the result of actual experiments instituted in the
kitchen of a physician 1822 Edinburgh: A.
Constable. You can actually cook out of this one.
11.) Marriage and family.
The Stones's books on marriage: Road
to Divorce: England, 1530-1987 and Broken
Lives: Separation and Divorce in England, 1660-1857.
You can also look at Kitchin, S. B. , B.A., LL.B.; A
History of Divorce ; 1912; London : Chapman
& Hall, Ltd.
12.) Specific dress styles, for your decade
Julius M. (Julius Mendes) Price; Dame
Fashion: Paris-London, 1786 - 1912; London: S. Low,
Marston; 1913. Just a bit early, Thomas McLean, Picturesque
Representations of the Dress and Manners of the English illustrated
in 50 Coloured Engravings; 1813; London.
13.) Religion for the time and place.
Age of Napoleon (The Story of Civilization, Vol. 11)
by Will & Ariel Durant (see below)
because religion is one of the many things they cover. However,
some of Timbs' books on eccentrics told me about the doomsday
cults and charismatic cult leaders of the time.
14.) A fat history book of the area and
Will & Ariel Durant; The
Age of Napoleon (The Story of Civilization, Vol. 11);
1975; MJF Books, NY. It actually covers through 1840, because
Napoleon was still influencing everyone's reactions by having
15.) A history of the most influential
country at the time
This we will now choose to be England. John Richard Green, MA;
History of the
English People, v. IV: The Revolution 1683-1760, Modern England
1760-1815; c. 1820; A. L. Burt, NY. I know, it's
undigested, it's so close to the time, but it lets me see what
they considered significant about their own events, no matter
what later ages thought. I can get that out of Durant or Ashton
or a zillion others.
16.) A history of its rival.
This could be Russia, as you may not realize, as the other stalwart
against Napoleon, now that France is subdued. It could be Prussia.
Wikipedia article crawl will probably do.
17.) A biography of the leader of country
Melville, Lewis; The
First Gentleman of Europe, 1906; London; Hutchinson &
Co, For 1760-1840. This biography of the Prince Regent is rather
necessary as, in the Regency, high society revolves around him
to some extent.
18.) A biography of the leader of country
One of the Lady Patronesses of Almack's was the wife of the Russian
ambassador. So this isn't as irrelevant as you may think. It
might be for a Bath tale of the lower gentry, but not anyone
going to Almack's.
19.) A history of the country you are setting
John Ashton; Social
England Under the Regency, v.2; 1899. Covers
1815-1820. If you want 1810-1815,
that's v. 1.
20.) A history of the country you are setting
in, that era.
In this case, I will substitute a book on the cult of exclusivity:
Ellen Moers; The
Dandy: Brummell to Beerbohm; 1960; Viking Press,
NY. You cannot do the highlife unless you understand exclusivity
of the time.
21.) A biography of the leader of the country
of your setting.
Brummell is gone, but there are other dandies holding the whip
over Society, like Raikes and Alvanley. Lewis Melville; The Beaux of the Regency,
1908; London, Hutchinson. 1790-1840
22.) An everyday life for the commoner
Low, Donald A.; The
Regency Underworld; 1982; Sutton Publishing, London
23) An everyday life for the upper classes
of your time and place.
24.) An everyday life for the middle class
Ben Wilson; The
Making of Victorian Values: Decency and Dissent in Britain: 1789-1837;
2007; Penguin press, NY. Dense information, well-written,
on unusual subjects. This does for both 23 & 24.
25.) An everyday life for women
Century of the Lady by
Arthur Calder-Marshall; all aspects of the life of an upper-class
woman, 1720 to 1820. This has the advantage of covering the years
when many of my characters grew up. Also Whalan, Pamela; Understanding
the Society in which Jane Austen Sets Pride and Prejudice;
07 September 2003 online
26) An auto/biography of someone like your
protagonist, or a book as much as possible focused on people
27.) A book on houses and furnishings of
the period, if possible.
Anonymous, The Regency, 1970, Murray
Group of Companies, London; Covers furniture, ceramics, glassware,
jewelry, 1790-1840. Also, Illustrated
History of Furniture from the Earliest to the Present Time
by Frederick Litchfield (1903; London: Truslove &
Hanson Limited; New York:; illustrated by John Lane 1892-1903).
28.) A book about courting, romance, and
sex of the time.
Ivan Bloch; Sexual
Life in England Past and Present ; 1938; Alfred
Aldor, London, which is all over the place and has to be mined
out for nuggets here and there. Suffice that he takes porn way
too seriously as an indicator of common behavior. X-rated, especially
29.) A book for naming historical characters
Holly Ingraham, People's Names: A Cross-Cultural Reference Guide
to the Proper Use of Over 40000personal and Familial Names in
Over 100 Cultures, 1997, McFarland., as usual.
30.) Medicine of the time and place.
Thomson, Anthony Todd , M.D. F.L.S. G.S.; The London Dispensatory,
Containing I. The Elements of Pharmacy. II. The Botanical Description,
Natural History, Chymical Analysis, and Medicinal Properties
of the Substances of the Materia Medica. III, The Pharmaceutical
Preparations and Compositions of the Pharmacopoeias of London,
of Edinburgh, and of Dublin. the Whole Forming A Practical Synopsis
of Materia Medica, Pharmacy, and Therapeutics: Illustrated with
Many Useful Tables, and Wood-cuts of the Pharmaceutical Apparatus; 1837; London: Longmans,
Orme, Brown, Green, & Longmans. This was a treasure of period
medicine. I'd almost rather go to a witchdoctor.
A History of Medicine,
1945 Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd;.
London, Edinburgh, Paris, Melbourne, New York; it covers around
500 BC to 1940 CE.
Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850 by Brian M. Fagan (2001, Basic Books). This period
is coming out of a Volcanic Winter, that bottomed out in 1816,
The Year without a Summer. It's cold, it's rainy, crops are poor,
famines threaten, but the sunsets are magnificent.
Town and City Maps of the British Isles 1800 - 1855 by Baynton-Williams, though here is one place the
Perry-Casteñada Collection was pretty good.
Paterson, Daniel ; New
and Accurate Description of All the Roads in Great Britain. Containing
[yada-yada] The Whole on a Plan entirely new, and far preferable
to any Work of the Kind Extant; 1796; London:
T. Carnan, 5th ed.; Note that this is all characters will have
as a road guide. It's done mostly as strip maps of the routes,
which would be great while you walked, rode, or drove.
Darton, William; Darton's
New miniature atlas containing a complete set of county maps,
in which are carefully delineated all the principal direct &
cross roads, cities, towns, villages, parks, seats, rivers &
navigable canals, with a general map of England & Wales;
1820 c.; London: William Darton. A near-period atlas.
32) Sidesaddle Riding: anonymous; Lady's Equestrian Manual, The Principles and Practice
Are Thoroughly Explained, to Enable Every Lady to Ride With Comfort
and Elegance.; 1854; Willis P. Hazard, Philadelphia. Modern sidesaddle
books are not good for you, starting with their using the modern
corrupt terminology, the result in the break of tradition in
Badminton Library of Sports & Pastimes (1890), because we're bound to wind up in carriages,
not just looking at them. Includes excellent articles on this
period as recalled by elders, and how to drive a tandem.
34) Highlife: The
Prince of Pleasure and His Regency, 1811-20 by J. B. Priestly (1969, Sphere Books, London).
35) Fashion & Behavior: Fischel, Oskar, 1870-1939, Boehn, Max von, 1860-1932;
& Manners of the Nineteenth Century, as Represented in the
Pictures and Engravings of the Time: v. 1. 1790-1817.;
1909; London: Dent
The Memoirs of
Harriette Wilson, the highest-status courtesan of
the day, to find out what the boys are doing when the ladies
are not around. It is very uneven, and since we know that she
let people buy their way out of appearing here, some really clever
things may have been foisted on those who didn't. Unreliable
but suggestive (and PG-13 rated).
Stella Margetson, Regency
London, 1971, Praeger, London;; 1790-1830,
but opens on a map of 1800. All sorts of buildings.
Bullock, William; A
Companion to Mr. Bullock's Museum, Containing A Brief Description
of Upwards of Ten Thousand Natural & Foreign Curiosities,
Antiquities, &c; 1811. 10th edition;
London: Bullock. This is rather a guide for visitors describing
what they will be looking at in each room than a pictorial souvenir.
But it looked a lovely place to drop in on!
39) London: Tweedie,
Mrs. Alec (née Harley); Hyde
Park, Its History and Romance; 1908;
London; Eveleigh Nash, Fawside House. You will need to know Hyde
Park at this time, and not just recycle the ignorance of other
novelists, who often describe a Victorian park.
"An Old Toxophilite,";
The Archer's Guide, Containing Full Instructions for the
Use of That Ancient and Noble Instrument the Bow; Directions
for the Choice of Arrows; and All Information Essential to the
Attainment of Theoretical Proficiency in the Graceful Manly and
Fashionable Pastime of Archery. Accompanied by a Sketch of the
History of the Long-bow, Whether as a Weapon of War or an Instrument
of Amusement; 1833; London: T. Hurst. When the veterans returned
from Waterloo, archery began reviving, but any character in 1817
will either be an old-timer or a bit of a pioneer.
Wheatley, Henry B. , F.S.A.; London
Past and Present; Its History, Associations, and Traditions;
1891; London; John Murray; Based upon The Handbook Of
London by the late Peter Cunningham
Gronow, Rees Howell, Capt.; Reminiscences
of Captain Gronow; being Anecdotes of the camp, the court, and
the clubs, at the close of the last war with France.;
1856; 1862; London: Smith, Elder and Co.;
43) London, Nature:
Anonymous, "A Father and his Children."; Rustic
Excursions to the Villages Round London.;1811; London:
Richard Phillips. For one, it tells you what is a village outside
London rather than a neighborhood of it. More importantly, it
tells you what plants and birds and such you may find, when things
bloom, and all that.
44) Life in General:
Jackson, F. J. Foakes; Social
Life in England 1750-1850; 1916; New York;
Macmillan Company. Includes marriage and business,1750-1850.
Holt, Ardern; Fancy
dresses described: or, What to wear at fancy balls;
1887; London: Debenham & Freebody: Wyman & Sons.
No, it is absolutely not period. But when you have to populate
a masquerade ball, it will keep you nearer to the authentic ideas
and, frankly, let you costume all the extras without thinking
much. Double-check all references to fictional characters to
make sure the book they're based on wasn't out until 1843, hm?
46) The Law:
Deans, R. Storry; The Student's Legal History; 1913; London; Stevens
and Sons, Limited; 3rd Edition.
Clinch, George, 1860-1921; Bygone
Surrey; 1895; London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton,
Kent, & co.; [etc., etc.]; - Historic Surrey. By G.
Clinch.--A glance at primitive Surrey. By F. Lasham.-- Lambeth
Palace. By Rev. J. Cave-Browne.--The dialect of Surrey. By G.
Leveson-Gower.--Ancient roads and ways. By H. F. Napper; Folk-lore
and local customs. By G. Clinch.--Southwark in the olden time.
By Mrs. E. Boger.- Mediæval Croydon. By S. W. Kershaw.--Wanborough.
By Lady West.--Battersea and Clapham, By P. M. Thornton.--Nonsuch.
By S. W. Kershaw.--Notes on Guilford. By F. Lasham.--A forgotten
borough. By G. Clinch--Early Surrey industries. By G. Clinch.--Bygone
Merton. By Rev. E. A. Kempson.
48) Country Life:
Austen-Leigh, William and Richard Arthur Austen-Leigh; Jane
Austen, Her Life and Letters. A Family Record;
1913; London; Smith, Elder & Co., 22536.txt
Because someone might do it seriously. Holy
Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing by Melissa Mohr,
Oxford University Press, 2013.
50) London: Timbs,
John , F.S.A.; The Romance of London. Strange Stories,
Scenes and Remarkable Persons of the Great Town. ; 1901;
London: Frederick Warne And Co. Bedford Street, Covent Garden.
New York: Scribner, Welford, & Armstrong. Covers 1660-1900.
No one else give you the stuff Timbs does.
I have all his books I can find.
I researched this on my way to 1803.
I simply found, after a good deal of work, the period wasn't
quite right for the series I wanted to do. A great many of the
historical persons I wanted to work with were gone, dead, or
over the hill. This happens. If you really hate the idea of not
striking gold immediately you sit down to a reading list -- just
figure out what you can write that does suit the period, though
if research is such a horror to you, I really suggest you set
your story in a fantasy world of your own creation.
It is debated whether or not the writers of
the Silver Fork novels (we'd call them the glitz novels of their
day) ever went in upper society, so it's up to you to decide
if they represent experience, second-hand info, hearsay, urban
legend, or fantasy.
- Hudson, Marianne Spencer; Almack's.
A Novel; 1826. First Edition.; London: Saunders
and Otley. For some reason, this is sometimes attributed to Lady
Hester Stanhope, but the woman had been out of England for decades,
and never saw a Lady Patroness. V1,
- White, Charles; Almack's Revisited;
1828; London: Saunders & Otley. V1,
- Yates, George; The Ball; or, A Glance
at Almack's in 1829; 1829; London, Henry Colburn.
Notice how late these are, as well.
Another questionable source is
Grose, Francis, Hell-fire Dick, James Gordon,
Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. A Dictionary of Buckish Slang,
University Wit, and Pickpocket Eloquence. Unabridged from the
Original 1811 Edition with a Foreword by Robert Cromie. Compiled
Originally by Captain Grose. and Now Considerably Altered and
Enlarged, with the Modern Changes and Improvements, by a Member
of the Whip Club. &c; 1811
Please note that we don't have any idea if
Grose really had been updated since the original of 1780, or
whether anyone really used this speech. This might be the equivalent
of having your 1980s rocker using 1950s jazz beatnik slang. In
any case, its overuse, to the point that everyone's heroine
had learned this stuff from her brother, makes it way too Regencyland.
As we see in something like Pelham, gentlemen, not wishing
to be understood by the commoners around them in a public eatery,
chatted in Classical Greek, not slang. Some editions call him
Capt. John Grose, which makes the book seem all the smokier.
copyright Holly Ingraham