I have two paper copies and one Kindle copy, so clearly I was keen to read it. It did still take me a while to get to it. This is the story/history of regency England.
Here’s the blurb …
The Regency began on 5 February 1811 when the Prince of Wales replaced his violently insane father George III as the sovereign de facto. It ended on 29 January 1820, when George III died and the Prince Regent became King as George IV. At the centre of the era is of course the Regent himself, who was vilified by the masses for his selfishness and corpulence. Around him surged a society defined by brilliant characters, momentous events, and stark contrasts; a society forced to confront a whole range of pressing new issues that signalled a decisive break from the past and that for the first time brought our modern world clearly into view.
This book is divided into five chapters with a prologue and epilogue;
- Prologue – The Regent and the Regency
- Chapter 1 – Crime, Punishment and the Pursuit of Freedom
- Chapter 2 – Theatres of Entertainment
- Chapter 3 – Sexual Pastimes, Pleasures, and Perversities
- Chapter 4 – Expanding Empire and Waging War
- Chapter 5 – Changing Landscapes and Ominous Signs
- Epilogue – The Modern World
It is a fascinating book, without any obfuscating academic jargon. And it has some lovely illustrations (both colour and black and white).
Some of the quotes about Austen
Austen knew that our biggest hopes sometimes rest on the smallest events, and that tragedy can be played out not just on the national stage or a foreign battlefield but also is a drawing room conversation or on a country walk.
His [Byron] reputation as a handsome ,brooding, anti-social elite stands clearly behind Austen’s portrait of Darcy in Pride and Prejudice
Austen was the great master of the technique that used social constraint to heighten rather than reduce sexual tension.
This book is great if you are interested in history, or Jane Austen, or Byron (not to mention Shelley and Mary Shelley).