As popular a pet as cats are in modern day households, it was the dog that dominated the home and hearth of the 18th and early 19th century. Cats had their admirers, of course, amongst whom were such literary luminaries as Samuel Johnson and Lord Byron, but in general, their primary value lay in their ability to keep the premises free from vermin.
“The field of battle is a festival of honour; a sublime pageant. But this is war!”
Sir Robert Ker Porter, 1809.
Whether it is touched upon in conversation between those characters safe on the home front or dealt with directly via a character who has been in the military or is still serving abroad, war is a part of many historical novels. Indeed, there aren’t many fans of Georgian and Regency fiction who could not recite to you the salient facts of the Battles of Trafalgar or Waterloo. However, what makes us, as readers, invested in the characters does not come down to a mere recitation of facts on a timeline. It comes down to emotional authenticity.[…]Continue Reading
“In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”
So says Mr. Darcy to Elizabeth Bennett in what is not only one of the most famous scenes in Pride and Prejudice but arguably one of the most beloved in all of English Literature. […]Continue Reading
Pugs feature in many of our favorite Regency novels and, in most of them, the cheerful little dog, which currently ranks 32nd most popular breed in the United States, is not portrayed in a very flattering light. […]Continue Reading
“If you don’t take care my gel, you’ll turn into a radical like that Wollstonecraft woman.”
The Stanforth Secrets, Jo Beverley, 1989.
Born on April 27th 1759, Mary Wollstonecraft published A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792 when she was only thirty-three years old. In it, she argued against the natural inferiority of women, writing that “…it cannot be demonstrated that woman is essentially inferior to man, because she has always been subjugated” and that it was the neglected education of her “fellow creatures” that was the primary source of their misery.
As modern readers, it seems to be a perfectly reasonable, wholly uncontroversial argument. Indeed, basic commonsense. But what of readers in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, you ask? Surely they must have been scandalized by Wollstonecraft’s arguments for equality.[…]Continue Reading