Life in Regency England

Life in Regency England

Life in Regency England

Life in Regency England


This is a book about the thoughts, feelings, and behaviour of the men and women who lived in Regency England rather than yet another book about 'Regency' style in building and the fine arts (although that comes into it). 'Regency' is a term which has a legitimate application to English life for some few years after the official term of the Regency came to an end in 1820, and I have accepted the hang-over quite freely, drawing the line firmly with the accession of Queen Victoria, who was born in 1819.

The authors to whose works I am chiefly indebted are recorded in the reading-lists at the foot of each chapter, and my special thanks are due to my wife who ransacked them on my behalf at a time when ill-health prevented my reading much. Without her assistance I could not have fulfilled my engagement with my publisher. But I alone am responsible for the book's opinions, and its errors and limitations.

This is a period especially rich in literary sources, and anyone who writes its history must pay tribute to Jane Austen and George Borrow, William Hazlitt and S. T. Coleridge, William Cobbett and Samuel Bamford, among others. Some of them, like Borrow, wrote when the Regency was over, but it was the time of their youth, and they always remained its sons and daughters. It will be plain how great is my own debt also to such authorities of the present century as Humphry House, Sir John Summerson, Sir Harold Nicolson, and Lesley Blanch.

I would like to thank Mr Peter Kemmis Betty of Messrs Batsford for his expert and devoted handling of the problems of illustration.

R. J. W.

Elmdon Spring 1963 . . .

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