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|Friday, December 04, 2009|
This is rather off topic, in terms of the Regency, but not if you love books, as I do. I spend a lot of time with books, and have found a whole zoo of animals which makes working with books more convenient, as well as charmingly whimsical.
If you are a book lover, or know one for whom you are seeking a special gift, then perhaps one of these bookish little critters might be just the thing.
Posted on 12/04/09 at 07:04:00 by Kathryn Kane
They really are. Some of them are just flat out cute, and others are so homely you can't help but love them.
As a crafter myself, I also appreciate her workmanship, which is quite good.
I hope you adopt one or two for yourself!
Just checked out the website - adorable!
- [Link to this item]
|Friday, November 27, 2009|
She was called the "Queen of Romance" in her day, though I suspect there are many romance readers today who have never heard her name. And yet, she is credited with writing more than seven hundred romance novels over the course of a seventy-year career. With her big hair, plumed hats and pink dresses, she became something of a caricature of herself in her later years. But she also did a lot of good in her long life, working diligently for many charities, and I think she was entitled to do as she pleased.
There are those who might dismiss her work as fluff, and perhaps some of her later novels might merit that description, but not her earlier work. The novels of Barbara Cartland gave me a lot of pleasure in my early years as a Regency romance devotee. May I share some reflections on the work of Barbara Cartland
We seek him here, We seek him there,
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere.
Is he in heaven? — Is he in hell?
That demmed, elusive Pimpernel.
The stories of The Scarlet Pimpernel
take place during the French Revolution, more than a score of years before the beginning of the English Regency. And yet, without the work of Baroness Orczy
, we might not have all those delightful Regency novels written by Georgette Heyer
Yes, I mean the cartoon cat and mouse. No, the Regency did not have cartoons, not as we know them, even though Peter Mark Roget
, of Thesaurus
fame, did present a paper entitled Explanation of an optical deception in the appearance of the spokes of a wheel when seen through vertical apertures
, in 1824, which ultimately led to the invention of the Zoetrope
and similar devices which were the antecedents of the film industry. Three years before Dr. Roget presented his paper, Pierce Egan
, a successful Regency-era journalist, published the first number of his new urban sporting journal called Life in London
Not only do we have Pierce Egan to thank, if that is the correct word, for the animated Tom & Jerry, but also in part for The Nonesuch
, The Corinthian
, Faro's Daughter
, Friday's Child
, Bath Tangle
, Regency Buck
Some months ago I wrote about Google Book Search
. But Google was not the first to digitize books and other documents and make them available online. Thirty-three years before Google scanned their first book, in 1971, Michael S. Hart
digitized a copy of the American Declaration of Independence
. This was barely two years after the first ARPANET
message was transmitted, which means the precursor of the internet as we know it had only taken its very first baby steps. Yet, Mr. Hart had the vision to see into the future, when books and other important documents of our culture would be freely available to all, regardless of their location. Thus was born Project Gutenberg
, named for the man who first used moveable type to print books in Europe, Johannes Gutenberg
And what does all of this have to do with the history of Regency England?
No, not Jane Austen's Mrs. Hurst from Pride and Prejudice
. The Mrs. Hurst who lent her name to the title of this delightful volume was a real woman, who lived during the Regency. Her home was in a small English village in Buckinghamshire
called Newport Pagnell
, and she loved to dance. She was captured in full swing one evening at her home in a charming watercolor by a young friend, Diana Sperling.
The full title of this book is Mrs Hurst Dancing & Other Scenes from Regency Life 1812 – 1823
. I stumbled across it a couple of weeks ago in my local library and was immediately enchanted. This volume contains full-size reproductions of a number of watercolor sketches made by a young woman called Diana Sperling during the years of the Regency and just beyond. Miss Sperling also wrote witty explanatory captions for most of these watercolors which gives a real flavor of the daily life of a family of the minor gentry during the Regency.
The Microcosm of London
is a glorious window into the social life and architecture of London on the cusp of the Regency. The original 1808 – 1810 edition of this magnificently illustrated set is extremely rare, and therefore prohibitively expensive. The reduced-size reprint of 1904 is nearly as scarce and almost as costly. But thanks to the world-wide web, this rich resource is freely available to anyone with a computer and an internet connection.
Just what is The Microcosm of London
, and where can you find it?
If you have not yet taken the time to explore this web site, I highly recommend it. MAPCO : Map and Plan Collection Online
is a treasure trove of historical maps of London and the British Isles. There are other maps available at the site, including some of various locales in Australia. Needless to say, my primary interest in the site is for the Regency-era maps of London and England which are presented in the MAPCO archives.
The Brattle Book Shop
is without doubt my favorite used book shop in Boston. It was not around during the Regency, but it was founded in 1825, during the reign of the former Prince Regent, George IV. It is possible that visitors to Massachusetts from the British Isles who had lived through the years of the Regency might have paid a visit to the shop while they were in Boston, so there is a tenuous connection between The Brattle Book Shop and the English Regency.
So, what do I like the most about The Brattle Book Shop?
Recently I came upon a book at my local library which quite piqued my interest. It was a history of the development and evolution of the concept of the English gentleman over the course of several centuries. Until I started reading the dust jacket of this book, I thought a gentleman was a gentleman was a gentlemen. I would certainly never have thought there was any point in writing a book on the subject.
Before I read this book, I must admit, I had a rather amorphous idea of what a gentleman really was. From my regular reading of Regency romance novels, I perceived a gentleman as a man of "good breeding," but just what did that mean? After reading this book, I have a much clearer view of just what it entailed to be an English gentleman. I also discovered that the years of the Regency were a period of transition for what it meant to be a gentleman in England.
|Friday, February 27, 2009|
As an avid reader of Regency romances and a life-long student of history, I find Google Book Search
to be an enormous electronic literary cookie jar. It is an important resource for both my leisure reading and my ongoing research.
At Google Book Search I can search or browse literally millions of books and magazines on any topic under the sun. I can read excerpts of many of these books and magazines. In some cases I can read the entire book. With a Google account, I can also create my own personal library of these digitized publications. If you have not yet investigated Google Book Search, you may find it is great resource for you, too.
Or perhaps more precisely, Madmen of Words. If you like to read, you probably like words. I love words, all kinds of words. But I care very much that they are used correctly. When one is writing, the best way to ensure one is using any word correctly is to refer to a reference book for words, such as a dictionary or thesaurus.
In these days of computers and databases, we all take reference materials like dictionaries and thesauri for granted, assuming they are easy to compile and publish. They are, after all, just lists of words, right? However, even in these days of powerful data management technology, the compilation and maintenance of word reference materials is quite demanding and labor-intensive. How much more so was it in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when all of the work must be done by hand, much of it by candle light. And yet, for three of the major monuments of word reference in the English language, we are indebted to the tenacious efforts of three men who suffered psychological problems, one of them so severe he was actually confined in a mental institution for much of his life. But in spite of their handicaps, they all persevered to produce word references essential to anyone who writes, to this very day.
Just who were these "Madmen of Words?"
|Friday, December 26, 2008|
has nothing to do with the Regency, but it has a great deal to do with books. So, if you have a lot of books, especially if you sometimes buy second or even third copies of books you already have, you might find you will love Readerware, too.
I have more than a thousand historical romance novels in my library, and at least twice as many research books. Not to mention my vast collection of needlework books. So many that I simply cannot keep track of them in my head. And then, last spring I found Readerware. I have never been more pleased with a software purchase.
|Friday, December 05, 2008|
In my articles, I have included links to Wikipedia
for most of the topics for which I want to provide additional information. Yet, in recent years there have been several instances when Wikipedia has been criticized as an unreliable source of information. As a trained scholar, have I betrayed my own educational standards? Am I breaking faith with my readers, directing them to an untrustworthy site?
No, I do not believe that I am. And the reasons are ...
|Friday, September 05, 2008|
"You can't think I'm going to totter all over London looking at a lot of buildings I don't want to see! Very happy to take you driving in the Park, but that's coming it too strong, my dear girl! ... Besides, I don't know anything about these curst places you want to see! Couldn't tell you anything about 'em!"
— Mr. Freddy Standen to Miss Kitty Charing
"Oh, but that need not signify! Look, I purchased this book in Hatchard's shop this morning, and it tells one everything! It is called The Picture of London, and it says here that it is a correct guide to all the Curiosities, Amusements, Exhibitions, Public Establishments, and Remarkable Objects in and near London, made for the use of Strangers, Foreigners, and all Persons who are not intimately acquainted with the Metropolis!"
— Miss Kitty Charing to Mr. Freddy Standen
I re-read Cotillion
recently, many years since I last read it in high school. This passage caught my eye this time around, because I now know how thoroughly Heyer researched her novels. Did she invent the guidebook which Kitty purchased for her London adventure? Hatchard's
was a real bookshop in Regency London. Was The Picture of London
a real guidebook of the city?