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by Kirstin Olsen

The eighteenth century was dirtier, more dangerous and more intimate with the physical functions of life than our own. This excellent study of England during this era provides a wealth of information for students and interested readers who want to discover the everyday details of living. What does it really mean to read the riot act? Why does Yankee Doodle call his hat macaroni? What's the scoop on pig's face, boiled puddings, powdered wigs, farthings, face patches, and footmen? Find out in this introduction to the work of gouty squires, scurvy sailors, hanged apprentices, and underpaid maids-of-all work.

Illuminating the food, habits, language, behavior, sex lives, childhoods, health care, housing, and attitudes of 18th-century English people, this exploration of the time and place also provides the reader with such detailed information as how people fought, courted, drank, married, traveled, worshipped, shopped, and dressed. Twenty chapters describe and illustrate the century's politics, class structure, family structure, urban and rural environments, architecture and much more. Also offered are recipes, so the reader can recreate an eighteenth-century meal, song lyrics, children's rhymes, rules for eighteenth-century games, an extensive list of salaries for different occupations, the text of the original Riot Act, reproduced cosmetics recipes, and other concrete examples of daily life and language that make the century tangible.

Download Daily Life in 18th-Century England epub
ISBN: 0313299331
ISBN13: 978-0313299339
Category: History
Subcategory: Europe
Author: Kirstin Olsen
Language: English
Publisher: Greenwood (June 30, 1999)
Pages: 416 pages
ePUB size: 1132 kb
FB2 size: 1575 kb
Rating: 4.8
Votes: 685
Other Formats: mbr lrf doc mobi

This is an excellent guide to the 18th century and written in language that is engaging and doesn't drag. Great for research of this era.
If you ever wondered what it would have been like to live in 18th Century England I strongly recommend this book. Many come to have an interest in the period through the writings of Richardson, Fielding, and/or Austen - Ms. Olsen's book serves as an excellent way to better understand the world in which their characters lived.

The book is organized by chapters that focus on a particular aspect of life - for example clothing, food, transportation, or religion. The vivid textual descriptions are complemented by numerous illustrations including work by well known satirists such as Hogarth and Gillray. Many of the chapters also include interesting tidbits such as recipes for cooking an 18th Century dinner or a table of wages referenced by date and place.

In short, this book is a very approachable and informative introduction to life in 18th Century England. A previous reviewer's criticism of the book seemed to be a prolonged complaint about the book not being something it was never intended to be. It is not Tuchman's `A Distant Mirror' seeking to upend the world's understanding of the Middle Ages - it is a survey that offers a delightful glimpse into life in Georgian England.
I truly enjoyed this book and would recommend it highly to anyone with an interest in this century of England.

This book brings together a wealth of information about the age and makes it enjoyable while still comprehensive enough to be useful for research. I would have killed for a book like this when writing papers about this period. As it is, I just had a great time reading it and feel it enhances my understanding of works of the same era. The back cover very accurately describes this as a compendium of facts and tidbits, so if this interests you, please add it to your library.

While another reviewer seemed to have quite a bee in his bonnet about the research sources and the author's brief mention of knowing latin; I think he was completely misguided about the nature of this book and its value.
The 18th century is very interesting and very important, and English society during the period deserves a book of this nature by an expert on the topic. Kirstin Olsen is, unfortunately, not an expert on the 18th century nor on Great Britain. Olsen doesn't seem to have any sort of advanced degree or academic position, which would be fine if she was a serious independent scholar who had done some intense original research. She does not appear to have done any such research; what we have here is a book of paraphrases from secondary sources. One looks in vain in the footnotes for citations of actual 18th century books; it would appear that Olsen has not even read many very famous 18th century books, books that are readily available at any university library. When she quotes or paraphrases John Gay, Samuel Johnson or James Boswell, we look in the notes to find that her sources are not Gay's, Johnson's or Boswell's actual plays, books, letters or journals, but 20th century books that quote or paraphrase the original source. Olsen also credulously passes along the urban legend about "rule of thumb," which is just embarassing, and makes one question the veracity of the rest of her information.

When Oslen gets away from her paraphrases and the lists she has lifted from other secondary sources her own original writing (showcased in the Acknowledgements and Introduction) is banal and solipsistic. She goes on at length about how "My life would have been vastly dissimilar from the one I've really led [had I been born in the 18th century,]" and brags that she can read Latin. Is anyone going to open this book because they want to learn about Kirstin Olsen's life?

An amateurish production, something an undergraduate could have put together, even one who can't read Latin. Sad.