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Download The Victorian House : Domestic Life from Childbirth to Deathbed epub

by Judith Flanders

The bestselling social history of Victorian domestic life, told through the letters, diaries, journals and novels of 19th-century men and women. The Victorian age is both recent and unimaginably distant. In the most prosperous and technologically advanced nation in the world, people carried slops up and down stairs; buried meat in fresh earth to prevent mould forming; wrung sheets out in boiling water with their bare hands. This drudgery was routinely performed by the parents of people still living, but the knowledge of it has passed as if it had never been. Running water, stoves, flush lavatories -- even lavatory paper -- arrived slowly throughout the century, and most were luxuries available only to the prosperous. Judith Flanders, author of the widely acclaimed 'A Circle of Sisters', has written an incisive and irresistible portrait of Victorian domestic life. The book itself is laid out like a house, following the story of daily life from room to room: from childbirth in the master bedroom, through the scullery, kitchen and dining room -- cleaning, dining, entertaining -- on upwards, ending in the sickroom and death. Through a collage of diaries, letters, advice books, magazines and paintings, Flanders shows how social history is built up out of tiny domestic details. Through these we can understand the desires, motivations and thoughts of the age. Many people today live in Victorian terraces, and so the houses themselves are familiar, but the lives are not. 'The Victorian House' will change all that.
Download The Victorian House : Domestic Life from Childbirth to Deathbed epub
ISBN: 0007131895
ISBN13: 978-0007131891
Category: Home
Subcategory: Home Improvement & Design
Author: Judith Flanders
Language: English
Publisher: Harpercollins Pub Ltd; New Ed edition (July 31, 2004)
Pages: 528 pages
ePUB size: 1462 kb
FB2 size: 1801 kb
Rating: 4.7
Votes: 845
Other Formats: lrf rtf doc lit

The discussion of life in Victorian Britain was wonderful.
I love history and this book was full of accurate details. Very readable though. If I could afford it I buy a few dozen copies to have on hand to send to the writers of historical fiction who obviously know very little about the period that they set their stories in.
Have an interest in the Victorian era; what was daily life like, different from the movies, as they only give us the up front pictures, this book gives more details with the good/bad/ugly.
This is a wonderful survey of British social history in the 1800s - how people actually lived their lives day to day. Drawing from every possible historical source, the author describes what life was like for well-to-do Brits in the Victorian era, with a particular emphasis on London. Her theme is to take the reader through an upper-crust house room by room: One chapter on the kitchen, one on the scullery, one on the parlour, and so on. I found it utterly fascinating.

Victorian England is not exactly ancient history, yet it is amazing how different life was then, and how unpleasant (by our standards) life was even for the wealthy. For instance, people tolerated incredible filth. Even among the well-to-do, coal dust coated every interior surface, clothing was heavy and dirty, and baths were infrequent. London fogs were so thick that pedestrians would bump into things. Food was extremely bland even for the elite, and it was thought that feeding vegetables to children would stir up sexual interest. Most surprising of all, women rarely questioned their inferior status. It was generally accepted that women were mentally and physically weak, and women themselves seemed to accept this with little questioning. The amount of change during the last century, in both material and non-material ways, is mind-boggling.

Incidentally, this book appears to be identical to "Inside the Victorian Home" by the same author.
Flanders walks a very fine line of providing copious amounts of information without crossing over into information overload. Lots of illustrations and the occasional photograph add further detail. If you liked How to Be a Victorian: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Victorian Life by Ruth Goodman you should give Flanders a try.
I love, love, love this book. I usually can't get into non-fiction books, but this one was a pure joy to read. I was actually sad when I finished. What a fascinating journey back in time. Just a note: the footnotes are the best part. They are full of the most interesting factoids about what really went on in the typical middle-class Victorian's life. Judith Flanders has a wonderful wry sense of sarcastic humor that shines through in her writing, and I found myself laughing many times throughout this book. Makes you glad you live in modern times, but glad you can have an armchair journey back to get a glimpse of what life must have been like back then. It's made me appreciate what I have now so much more, and also to realize why we do things today the way that we do, and where those customs and traditions came from originally.

My only criticism would be that this isn't a totally objective look at Victorian life - it is all tinged with Ms Flanders' personality and judgments, and her feminist leanings quickly become obvious throughout the beginning of the book. Now, I'm all for women's rights and all that, being a woman myself, but it got a bit tiring after a while to be reminded, YET again, of how hard life was for women in that era. One other little criticism is that the introductory chapter is a bit slow - don't give up! The rest of the book picks up the pace quite considerably. It's definitely worth it! It's changed my view of my own life in today's world, and been a wonderful, and fascinating journey back over a hundred years ago, from the safety and comfort of my rather cushy 21st century existence. I didn't want it to end, even though it removed my rose-tinted glasses of "charming" Victoriana entirely!
I am always curious about life in the past and this book is quite good at explaining all the things that they had in homes back in Victorian times. There are some diagrams and also pictures actually taken at that time. Tells some about family sizes, the people hired to work in the homes, problems with soot from fires, how often some parts of the kitchen were cleaned, etc. Quite interesting. I would have liked even more diagrams and pictures. Glad I got it.
Excellent read on what life was really like in the Victorian times. Feel soo sorry for the servants, who literally are treated like crap, for people who are too lazy to do for themselves, just because they were wealthy.