Inside the Victorian Home:
A Portrait of Domestic Life in Victorian England
(W.W. Norton & Co., 2005)
Judith Flanders' Inside the Victorian Home: A Portrait of Domestic Life in Victorian England provides a solid background to Victorian novels, including much steampunk, as well as the actual ones written then.
The structure of this book is excellent for those of us who wonder more generally, what was it like back then? I can see it's less helpful for people doing specific research.
Still, as a reader, I think it worked very well. The set-up is browsing through the rooms in a middle-class Victorian house, what was done in them and why. This gives a coherent structure to the book -- especially since it also moves from birth to death -- and relates the architecture to the mores of the time and the lives people led. I found this fascinating.
Also -- the past is a foreign country. There are ways we're in sync; there are ways they are bafflingly foreign to us. I like knowing that! (A failure to appreciate such is why some moderns dislike Pride & Prejudice, because they say they would never act in such a manner! And yet, in my opinion, it's one of the great stories. Still, one needs context.)
This book is all about the context. And the structure makes it a really engaging read.
Highly recommended, especially for people who like historical fiction, whether actual or alternate (like steampunk).
book review by
29 March 2014
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