Cover image for How to be a Victorian : a dawn-to-dusk guide to Victorian life
Title:
How to be a Victorian : a dawn-to-dusk guide to Victorian life
Author:
Goodman, Ruth, 1963-
Personal Author:
Edition:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W. W. Norton & Company, 2014.
Physical Description:
458 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Summary:
Drawing on her own adventures living in re-created Victorian conditions, Goodman serves as our bustling and fanciful guide to nineteenth-century life. Proceeding from daybreak to bedtime, she celebrates the ordinary lives of the most perennially fascinating era of British history. From waking up to the rapping of a "knocker-upper man" on the window pane to lacing into a corset after a round of calisthenics, from slipping opium to the little ones to finally retiring to the bedroom for the ideal combination of "love, consideration, control and pleasure, " the weird, wonderful, and somewhat gruesome intricacies of Victorian life are vividly rendered.
General Note:
"First published in Great Britain in 2013 by Penguin Books Ltd."--T.p. verso.

Includes index.
Language:
English
Contents:
Getting up -- Getting dressed -- A trip to the privy -- Personal grooming -- Morning exercise -- Breakfast -- The main business of the day -- Back at the house -- The midday meal -- The day's work resumes -- Meanwhile, for the young, there was school -- A few snatched hours of leisure -- The evening meal -- A bath before bed -- Behind the bedroom door.
ISBN:
9780871404855
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library DA533 .G557 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Clarence Library DA533 .G557 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Clearfield Library DA533 .G557 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Kenmore Library DA533 .G557 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Summary

Summary

Ruth Goodman believes in getting her hands dirty. Drawing on her ownadventures living in re-created Victorian conditions, Goodman serves asour bustling and fanciful guide to nineteenth-century life. Proceeding fromdaybreak to bedtime, this charming, illustrative work celebrates the ordinary lives ofthe most perennially fascinating era of British history. From waking up to the rappingof a "knocker-upper man" on the window pane to lacing into a corset after a round ofcalisthenics, from slipping opium to the little ones to finally retiring to the bedroomfor the ideal combination of "love, consideration, control and pleasure," the weird,wonderful, and somewhat gruesome intricacies of Victorian life are vividly renderedhere. How to Be a Victorian is an enchanting manual for the insatiably curious.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

On our side of the Atlantic, many of our citizens display a consistent hunger for information on Victorian Britain, as the popularity of some BBC shows and British films indicates. So Goodman's quirky but enjoyable exploration of the daily life of Victorians will have great appeal. Goodman, a historian specializing in British domestic and social life, recounts her efforts to dress, eat, sleep, and even not bathe like an ordinary Victorian. Included in her revelations are the difficulty of living life in a woman's corset, the confusion in coping with a relatively primitive and chaotic urban transport system, and the digesting of seemingly unappealing staples of the Victorian diet, including pigs feet and boiled suet pudding. Although Goodman often employs a lighthearted approach, she also makes clear that living conditions could be brutal, with frequent outbreaks of cholera, extremely high rates of infant mortality, and terribly unsafe and grinding workplace conditions. This is a revealing and often fascinating effort to re-create life in a bygone era.--Freeman, Jay Copyright 2014 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

British social historian Goodman reveals what life was like in the Victorian era in a manner most readers have likely never encountered before: by personally subscribing to Victorian mores and way of life. Goodman's impeccably researched account will raise readers' eyebrows with her adventures "living history." Along the way, she replicates an array of activities and behaviors: she creates and wears numerous styles of period clothing, tries out popular calisthenics for women and girls, uses 19th-century hygiene practices, adjusts to the discomfort of the corset, launders clothes laboriously by hand, and does much else. Goodman has meticulously documented the common Victorian man and woman, explaining practicalities, expenses, and rationales for their actions. For example, a popular scientific notion was that closed windows in rooms were unhealthy, so many people kept their windows open, even in freezing temperatures. Goodman's charming guide richly illustrates what daily life was like for common people undergoing the massive social changes of the time and succeeds in presenting "a more intimate, personal and physical sort of history." Illus. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Starred Review. Wake up. Place your feet on the cold floor. Next, quickly wash with water before venturing outside to the streets of London. It's a typical Victorian morning and Goodman, historian and presenter of the BBC documentary series Victorian Farm, aims to share it with readers. The author is an insightful escort to the past, having lived the Victorian life as closely as someone in the 21st century possibly can. In this title, Goodman uses personal experience, along with a wealth of delicate research, to take readers through everything involved in an average Victorian day, including brutal factory work, long train rides on uncomfortable seats, and hurried strolls through choking smog. Goodman skillfully creates a portrait of daily Victorian life with accessible, compelling, and deeply sensory prose. Her personal interjections say less about how the Victorians lived and more about how a modern woman would survive in the age of Queen Victoria, but Goodman's having conquered the corset and brushed her teeth with soot adds depth that isn't often seen in similar titles. VERDICT The material is compulsively readable, and a necessary addition to all collections with a focus on Victorian culture.-Erin Entrada Kelly, Media, PA (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

Prefacep. 1
1 Getting Upp. 5
2 Getting Dressedp. 29
3 A Trip to the Privyp. 96
4 Personal Groomingp. 107
5 Morning Exercisep. 149
6 Breakfastp. 157
7 The Main Business of the Dayp. 175
8 Back at the Housep. 209
9 The Midday Mealp. 250
10 The Day's Work Resumesp. 255
11 Meanwhile, for the Young, There Was Schoolp. 286
12 A Few Snatched Hours of Leisurep. 315
13 The Evening Mealp. 367
14 A Bath before Bedp. 388
15 Behind the Bedroom Doorp. 405
Epiloguep. 439
Acknowledgementsp. 441
Indexp. 445

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