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Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England (Paperback)Amanda Vickery (author)
A fabulously indulgent peek behind the curtains of Georgian dwellings, Behind Closed Doors is testament both to Amanda Vickery’s exhaustive research and lively prose style. From stately homes to drab lodgings, this mesmerising book brings the rich history of the era to vivid life.
In this brilliant work, Amanda Vickery unlocks the homes of Georgian England to examine the lives of the people who lived there. Writing with her customary wit and verve, she introduces us to men and women from all walks of life: gentlewoman Anne Dormer in her stately Oxfordshire mansion, bachelor clerk and future novelist Anthony Trollope in his dreary London lodgings, genteel spinsters keeping up appearances in two rooms with yellow wallpaper, servants with only a locking box to call their own.
Vickery makes ingenious use of upholsterer's ledgers, burglary trials, and other unusual sources to reveal the roles of house and home in economic survival, social success, and political representation during the long eighteenth century. Through the spread of formal visiting, the proliferation of affordable ornamental furnishings, the commercial celebration of feminine artistry at home, and the currency of the language of taste, even modest homes turned into arenas of social campaign and exhibition.
Publisher: Yale University Press
Number of pages: 400
Dimensions: 197 x 127 mm
Edition: New in Paperback
'If until now the Georgian home has been like a monochrome engraving, Vickery has made it three dimensional and vibrantly colored. Behind Closed Doors demonstrates that rigorous academic work can also be nosy, gossipy, and utterly engaging.' - Andrea Wulf, New York Times Book Review
'Vickery's great skill lies in combining a sharp forensic eye with the ability to spot and tell stories, moving between different scales so smoothly that you can't see the joins. And then there is the wit of the thing. Few academic historians manage to be so funny without compromising the seriousness of their work. She did it 10 years ago in The Gentleman's Daughter and she has done it again here. It was worth the wait.' - Kathryn Hughes, The Guardian
'We see the Georgians at home as we have never seen them before in this ground-breaking book. Vickery can make a young wife's arrangement of china into an event of thrilling social and psychological tension. Behind Closed Doors is both scholarly and terrifically good fun. Worth staying at home for.' - Frances Wilson, Sunday Times
'[Behind Closed Doors] stands out ... [It] not only revels in the details of domestic life, it offers a very funny way of looking at otherwise familiar historical characters. Whoever would have guessed that the Duke of Cumberland, the Butcher of Culloden, had such an eye for a well-turned vase?' - Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Telegraph
'An evocative account of life in Georgian England ... How much we owe historians who trawl through the illegible and scattered archives for us to assemble these alternative accounts of history.' - Margaret Drabble, The Guardian
'This history of house interiors in Georgian England is a sparkling and erudite work from one of our best historians.' - Daily Telegraph
'Professor Vickery is a thorough and disciplined academic who has trawled through many often obscure archives and tapped unusual or long neglected reservoirs of information. But not for a moment is she overwhelmed by the mighty volume of her research. She weaves it all into a compelling narrative packed with anecdote, strange characters and all manner of weird and wonderful details about Georgian home life.' - Dan Cruickshank, Country Life
'Vickery is that rare thing an academic historian who writes like a novelist... an enthralling slice of domestic history.' - Jane Shilling, Daily Mail
'[Vickery] describes Enlightenment domesticity and the growth of elegant taste with wonderful aplomb and infectious enthusiasm ... [Behind Closed Doors] is especially gorgeous in unusual and telling illustrations.' - Christina Hardyment, History Today
'Comparison between Vickery and Jane Austen is irresistible. . . This book is almost too pleasurable, in that Vickery's style and delicious nosiness conceal some seriously weighty scholarship.' - Lisa Hilton, The Independent
'In history... the study if homes and home life has undergone a revolution in the past few decades. One of the leading figures in that revolution is Amanda Vickery. Who can resist a book that describes one diarist as a confirmed grumbletonian. One would have to be a confirmed grumbletonian indeed not to find enlightenment - and pleasure - on every page of this book.' - Judith Flanders, The Sunday Telegraph
'[Vickery] opens resolutely shut doors and peeps into the private lives of servants, aristocrats and the "polite and middling sorts" - merchants, clergy members, doctors and lawyers...Ms. Vickery's greatest achievement is to upend the notion that the home was divided into separate spheres in which men were responsible for brick and stone while women ruled over domestic life. Instead, she brilliantly shows that these boundaries were fluid and mutable...Few writers have such a talent for transforming the driest historical source into a gripping narrative.' - Andrea Wulf, International Herald Tribune
'What Vickery illuminates, often brilliantly, always entertainingly and through a myriad of examples from many different people, are the ways in which family and gender relations were played out in Georgian England.' - Stella Tillyard. Times Literary Supplement
'Amanda Vickery's beautifully textured exploration of domestic life.' - Michael Kerrigan, The Scotsman
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