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Q: Life of the 18th/19th century aristocracy ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Life of the 18th/19th century aristocracy
Category: Relationships and Society
Asked by: dreyer-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 09 Sep 2004 10:28 PDT
Expires: 09 Oct 2004 10:28 PDT
Question ID: 398919
I have exhausted all my options, and at times, have even considered
myself a Google-master.

I'm looking for a book/website/etc. that details the life of 18th or
19th century upper class.  What was their day to day life like?

This may sound odd - but I want to know about the lives of those men
who sat in dark wood panelled rooms, smoking pipes, tired from the
day's fox hunt.  Luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton and Hermes have
been around since 1854 and 1837 respectively, but who were buying
their products?

European aristocracy is mainly what I'm interested in, but American
will do as well.

This all may be a bit confusing, but I can attempt to clarify if necessary.
Subject: Re: Life of the 18th/19th century aristocracy
Answered By: inquisitive-ga on 09 Sep 2004 13:05 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi dreyer-ga ,

What an interesting question! As a genealogist, learning about daily
life throughout history is a passion of mine :)

Here are a few good books which I think provide what you are looking for:

English Society in the Eighteenth Century
by Roy Porter

What Jane Austin ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to
Whist-The Facts of Daily Life in Nineteenth-Century England
by Daniel Poole
(A reference book which covers the working class as well as the
aristocracy). More of a dictionary/glossary than a historical account.

An Elegant Madness: High Society in Regency England
by Venetia Murray
(Many reviewers say this one has some historical errors in it, but it
also is the most entertaining, easy to read account of social life
during the period 1780-1830).

High Society in the Regency Period: 1788-1830
By Venetia Murray
(A similar book from the same author)

The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy
By David Cannadine
(This one covers the latter part of the nineteeth century and the
first part of the twentieth).

On the Web, there is a lot on the topic, but it is primarily
scattered. With little bits here and there. Here are a few sites to
get you started. You may also want to check with your local library. A
lot of them offer free online access to a variety of databases which
include digitized books - including family and social histories. These
first-hand accounts are sometimes the best source of information on
daily life.

Here is an interesting excerpt from Regency House Party, a social
experiment turned book which took 5 men and 5 women back to England
during the Regency period:
"While the women [in the Regency House] learned to curb their modern
expectations and content themselves with long and languorous days with
little to do, the men were propelled into Regency life at a furious
pace. They spent their first days acquiring some of the skills and
attainments that were considered vital to increase one's
attractiveness to the opposite sex. "

18th Century Social Order outlines a bit on the distinctions between
the Peasants and Aristocracy and includes some discussion on the
aristocratic way of life.

This site covers all aspects of daily life - including some
information on the aristocratic class. Broken into many fascinating
sections and time periods, here are a few pages to get you started:

Time Traveller's Guide to Napoleon's Empire: Class & Customs

Time Traveller's Guide to Victorian Britain: Class & Customs

Hopefully these books and Web sites will get you started on your
quest. If you have further questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Happy reading,


Clarification of Answer by inquisitive-ga on 10 Sep 2004 04:39 PDT
And here's another classic book:

"English Landed Society in the Nineteenth Century"
By F M L Thompson

By the way, most of the books I've mentioned should be available
through interlibrary loan. You can find libraries which have them
through WorldCat and your local library should be able to help you
arrange the loan.

dreyer-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Amazing.  Just what I expected, the best....

Subject: Re: Life of the 18th/19th century aristocracy
From: ipfan-ga on 09 Sep 2004 14:21 PDT
Many of the entries here:
appear to be relevant to your inquiry as well.  I especially like
Oliver Wendell Holmes' "Our Hundred Days in Europe" and Charles
Dickens' "Dickens's Dictionary of London 1879."

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