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How to Be a Victorian: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Victorian Life

de Ruth Goodman

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9433522,836 (4.23)31
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.… (mais)
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This was an excellent start to my 2015 reading! I love the idea of a "waking 'til sleeping" look at Victorian life in England. There were so many interesting tidbits and insights into how our world just wouldn't be what it is if it weren't for the enterprising Victorians. The book is lively and very readable and I found myself only skipping over a few pages about men's sports and later, a small bit about abortion.

I love how the author has so much personal experience with living the Victorian life. It sounds like she's had some very interesting employment. Some of my favorite parts include:

Interesting findings on her washing experiment (pages 15-16)

The way plaid shirts came to symbolize the manual laborer

That tiny waists were fashionable for men of the time and that they, like women, wore corsets to achieve the look!

Her hair care regimen on page 143---I might try it!

I also found the many cases of history repeating itself to be strangely satisfying. For instance, the English Victorians also struggled with schools focusing on standardized curriculum, rather than the individual needs of the student. Also, with all the talk about the rise of obesity---especially with the way the British like to get on us Americans about it---I found it rather ironic that only 2 out of 9 volunteers were considered physically fit enough to fight in the Boer War.

This will go into my permanent collection and I hope to find others by her soon!

( )
  classyhomemaker | Dec 11, 2023 |
This book has been the dark horse of my annual reading challenge. I did not expect to love it as much as I did. After all, you don't expect a history book to be poignant and funny, informative and relaxing; yet, this book managed to be all of that.

Ruth Goodman has quite the personality, and she's a certified badass in the series Victorian Farm where she lives on a Victorian Farm FOR A YEAR. She cuts apart a pig like it's nothing. She doesn't even blink. She's intense and brilliant, as well as humble and entertaining. A rare combination, but now you know that her book is going to be just as special as she is.

The book breaks apart the day of a typical Victorian, and what's unique is that it doesn't just focus on one social class but everybody: the poorest of the poor, the working class, the middle class, and the upper class all receive their due attention in this book, so the book feels well-rounded and inclusive.

Goodman also seemingly transitions from the day-to-day experiences to the overall themes of Victorian living. While she talks about children's games and their toys, she also talks about how p.e. classes originated from Britain's need to build up the strength and health of its citizens should there ever be a draft.

This book is full of fascinating tidbits, and we still see their influences today. Completely readable, this is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of daily life or anything Victorian. No library is complete without it. ( )
  readerbug2 | Nov 16, 2023 |
An interesting an easy read on the Victorians. I like how the book was structured and look forward to reading her book on the Tudors soon, which I believe is written in a similar style ( )
  LisaBergin | Apr 12, 2023 |
I had actually watched Ruth in Victorian Pharmacy and Victorian Farm before reading this book. (I've now seen all the farm series, the castle series, and working through the railroad/age of steam on YouTube). This was a delightful addition to both plus I could image her actually doing some of the things and hear her voice as I read. Definitely a recommend. ( )
  pacbox | Jul 9, 2022 |
Really excellent nonfiction depiction of the everyday life of Britains in the age of Victoria. I found the author's personal commentary on her hands-on experience to be particularly compelling. On the whole, a delightful read on what could have been a dryly presented subject, covering a huge amount of material well. ( )
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |
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» Adicionar outros autores (2 possíveis)

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Ruth Goodmanautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Hagger, DarrenDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Joy, George WilliamArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Tomlinson, PatienceNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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To all those who persuaded me to step forward into the nineteenth century.
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I want to explore a more intimate, personal and physical sort of history, a history from the inside out: one that celebrates the ordinary and charts the lives of common man, woman and child as they interact with the practicalities of their world. -Preface
It began with a shiver Rich or poor, in city dwelling or farm labourer's cottage, the first step out of bed was likely to leave you cold. -Getting Up, Chapter 1
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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.

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