Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew

Author: Daniel Pool
Genre: Life?
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5
Type: Non-fiction
Number of pages: 394
Time period: 1800's
My overall opinion: A fun fun book! I should mention first, before I elaborate on just how fun this is, that there is a section of several pages titled "Sex." Mom tore this section out, so I haven't read it, but I am quite sure that it's got information that we really don't need to know. So, I'm just warning you. However, everything else in this book is so fun! Sprinkled throughout are liberal references to works of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, and various other authors from this time period.

You learn about society, who leads off dances, what is eaten at dinner parties, what men wear, what women wear (very intersting!), how much money was worth, who was in power and what they could do, the ranks of titled people and how to seat them at a dinner party, where Yorkshire is, what the poorhouse was, what debtor's prison was, how the English stayed clean, what the rank of servants was, what servants wore and did in a day, and Much Much more. Much more. Lots more. And that's just the first 1/2!

The rest of the book is a giant glossary. It tells you what a hostler is (takes care of horses at inns), who a nob is (someone with a good deal of status), what a conventicle is (a term for a meeting of dissenters), and many more! For example: facing, lieutenant general, petty sessions, Piccadilly, pinchbeck, round game, and more! If you desperately want to know what any of those ending words/phrases mean, say so. :)

All in all: a great book!


beast'sbelle said...

Thanks for this review. I've seen this book on before, but I hate buying a book without knowing at least a little bit about it first. Sounds like this is one I should eventually add to my collection (minus the one chapter, of course). :)

Charity U said...

Beast'sbelle: So glad it was a helpful review! It was very fun to write. :) I'm planning to post an excerpt from the food part sometime soon on this blog, so look for that to read a sample!

I'm just like you are: I hate to buy a book without knowing much about it first. :)

beast'sbelle said...

Great! I'll look forward to it (the exerpt, that is). :)

Melody said...

This is such a nice book to have around for reference. I got it from the library once.

My favorite book of this type is 'The Jane Austen Handbook: A Sensible Yet Elegant Guide to Her World' by Margaret C. Sullivan. Have you read it? If not, I STRONGLY recommend it. Not only is it full of very interesting and useful information, but the author writes in such an amusing way, making indirect references to the JA novels, little jokes you get if you get them. ;-) It's really great to have around for reference too, and to read cover-to-cover.

Miss Laurie said...

Thanks for this review! I've been wondering about this book, it has such a neat title and I'm so interested in the history of the Victorian time period! I do really want to read 'The Jane Austen Handbook: A Sensible Yet Elegant Guide to Her World' by Margaret C. Sullivan. Mags runs AustenBlog which I've enjoyed following for a long time, her writing is so good. Oh, Jane Austen, how fascinating you are! :)

~Miss Laurie