The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life" series
Posted by Carolyn B on March 24, 1998 at 22:36:30:
In response to Any recommendations on this Regency history book?, written by Leanne S on March 23, 1998 at 16:10:26
] It's called "The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England (Writer's Guide to Everday Life Series)" by Kristine Hughes. I understand that it's on bookserve (that or an earlier edition) but I can't get to bookserve just now (the dreaded "server not responding"). Anyway, I wondered if it was any good as it didn't make the "bibliography" list.
I just got my Writer's Digest Book Club mailing yesterday and the Regency/Victorian book is listed in there as a new book (1998)
I have the Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in the 1800s (primarily American history) by Marc McCutcheon (1993) from that same series, which I got as a bonus book, and it is really more of an encyclopedia/dictionary and rather superficial in parts. (under occupations "barmaid: a woman who served food and drinks in a tavern, hotel or bar") It does not have the detail of social and cultural history that I hope an author would want to write a historical novel. It is more randomly anecdotal than explanatory so I was rather disappointed (after having enjoyed the Writer's Digest "Howdunnit" series for mystery writers, which are very good).
It would be a helpful book for an absolute beginner to use as a jumping off point because of the chronologies and bibliography, and I keep it as a reference to look up occasional period words, dates of inventions, etc. but I have never tried to verify the accuracy of those chronologies. (I sorta get the sense that Writer's Digest Books thought this might be a good book to put together and they hired someone to do it and he compiled a bunch of stuff that he had laying around and they published it ; )
The bibliography is a bit of a hodgepodge. For example in the section "Slavery and Black Plantation Culture" where I have some sense of what's available in the literature, there are no books listed published after 1972, despite the fact that there has been MAJOR developments in the study of the history of slavery and many books published for both general and academic audiences between 1972 and 1993.
Having glanced over some other books in the series (Middle Ages, Prohibition through WWII), I did't see much difference in the approach. I suspect the new book may fall into the category of What Jane Austen Knew and Charles Dickens Ate (or was it the other way around?) of "interesting but don't make it your main reference" I wonder how well they will distinguish between Regency and Victorian?
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