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Jane Austen's England

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  1,487 ratings  ·  244 reviews
A cultural snapshot of everyday life in the world of Jane Austen

Jane Austen, arguably the greatest novelist of the English language, wrote brilliantly about the gentry and aristocracy of two centuries ago in her accounts of young women looking for love. Jane Austen’s England explores the customs and culture of the real England of her everyday existence depicted in her clas
Hardcover, 422 pages
Published August 15th 2013 by Viking
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Average rating 3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,487 ratings  ·  244 reviews

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The Colonial
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Spanning the period of Jane Austen’s birth in 1775 to her untimely death in 1817, the brilliant husband and wife Adkins-duo take on the social history of Georgian England, with the beginning years of the Regency period thrown into the mix as well. The Adkins have taken quite an undertaking in sifting through all of the research pertinent and available to the period, and they don’t shortcut some of the less-covered topics. Indeed, the subjects of superstition, breeding, filth, pleasure, and fashi ...more
Katie Lumsden
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Well-written, engaging, easy to read and full of little details.
This book does a wonderful job of bringing you a detailed and fascinating look at the world that Jane Austen inhabited. Granted many of the subjects covered won't appear in a Jane Austen book the same way the Fukushima earthquake wouldn't appear in a Twilight book.

Authors of JAFF should read this book. Especially the ones who love to have Darcy and Lizzy bathing multiple times per day in deep copper tubs of hot water.

Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The husband and wife historians, Roy and Lesley Adkins, have done it again. They've written a lively, immensely informative survey giving us a look at life in England during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Going beyond the rather narrow world that Austen writes about, the authors give us a glimpse of the daily lives of the middle and lower classes, who comprised three-quarters of the British population -- a population that included the great novelist herself.

If you want to become more f
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: uk, history
The past is a different country. Jane Austen's England brings it out pretty accurately. The book covers different aspects of life in England during Austen's lifetime. The topics covered include births, weddings, deaths, home, religion, fashion, health, childhood, work, leisure, transport, crime, etc. Not much is left out and you do receive a comprehensive understanding of life in Georgian England. It did miss a food and drinks chapter, which would have been also interesting.

Fun and long-forgotte
It’s probably fair to say this is neither an analytical nor a narrative history – certainly not the latter. What the authors do is take excerpts from first-hand accounts and put them together to provide the reader with insights into the past. It’s skilfully done though.

Jane Austen lived from 1775 to 1817, to my mind a particularly interesting period in British history, just at the beginning of the huge technological changes of the Industrial Revolution. Austen’s world still moved at the pace of
Sep 30, 2013 rated it liked it
What started out as a fascinating book describing cultural and historic details of the time period in which Jane Austen lived and wrote quickly got bogged down in excessive long quotations three-quarters of the way through. There was a lot that didn't get covered. Ironically, the author mentions that despite the wars and importance of the military during this time, she almost completely glosses over it herself. The Chapter entitled "On the Move" that discussed the types of travel available was o ...more
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, a-grade
Full review at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

Jane Austen’s England: Daily Life in the Georgian and Regency Periods is a great resource for fans of Austen who want to know more about daily life in her time. This book is not concerned with the global or political situation in England during Austen’s lifetime except inasmuch as politics affected daily life. Instead, the book starts with how people married and proceeds through childhood, work and leisure, religion, crime, medicine, and death to paint a
Venus Smurf
This book was absolutely beyond fascinating. It takes a look into the England of Jane Austin's day, describing common practices, common problems, behavior, settings...everything and the kitchen sink. It's intelligent, often funny, always insightful. Reading this completely enriched my understanding of Austen-era novels but also provided insight into society of the time. Very well researched, very detailed, very, very worth reading. My only complaint is that my copy came through a giveway and doe ...more
Brandy Painter
Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
4.5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this. The set up works really well, going through all the major aspects of life from birth to death and all the in between with primary source quotes liberally used. It is well cited as well.
Aug 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Jane Austen’s England by Roy Adkins and Lesley Adkins (Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England in the U.K.) is not the kind of book that will appeal to everybody, but for Janeites and English history buffs there is much to recommend it.

For the reader whose idea of the elegant world of Jane Austen has been drawn by film adaptations of her novels, the reality described by the Adkins might be dismaying. We see on screen the candlelit balls attended by women in beautiful gowns and men in powdered wi
Nov 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
I picked this one up for research purposes that focused on daily Georgian Era life. And for what I wanted, it was very helpful. That it included bits about Jane Austen's life? Bonus.

The book's chapters are sorted by topic and takes the natural beginning of birth and follows that through to the last chapter on death. I appreciated the approach the authors' took in that it wasn't dry and pedantic.
Even though this is non-fiction, there were protagonists of a sort. The authors chose a handful of pe
Jul 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
'Jane Austen's England' is some of the most readable nonfiction that I have encountered. Lacking that textbook feel so common in nonfiction, this book draws the reader in, educating and entertaining at the same time. Jane Austen's novels tend to focus on the upper class in England near the turn of the 19th century, but this book broadens the reader's knowledge of the common person's experience living in Jane Austen's time.

Chapters are broken up into particular areas of life, such as childhood, w
Sep 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Jane Austen's England covers life in the Georgian era from birth to death. The authors use letters, diaries and other period sources to describe how the common people REALLY lived. Far from the genteel world of the drawing rooms of Jane Austen's novels, The England portrayed in this novel is dark, dirty, diseased and at times crude. The authors nicely balance "period drama" world that we love to romanticize with the world of the common people. They cover the lives of the gentry and the aristocra ...more
One of my brothers got me this book for Christmas or my birthday- I can't remember which because they are close together.

It's an excellent reference book on Regency England! I already knew a lot of the information as I read which made me happy because it showed that I have retained the information I have been studying over the last few decades about Austen and her time! Still in all, I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to learn about the Regency Era! It is very detailed with lots of f
A bit anticlimactic, since I've read a number of Austen non-fiction recently. I feel like they skimped on providing examples from Austen's books when bringing up historical facts. The organization was strange. The chapters were organized into topics that moved chronologically from marriage to death, which was fine, but within the chapters the narrative veered all over the place. The authors should have grouped information within subsections. ...more
Sep 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Very well researched. Great use of primary sources - letters, diaries, newspaper articles, etc. I really liked that the authors chose 3 or 4 people from the time to focus on - it made the history feel more personal and alive.
Apr 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, 2020
A fantastic look at Jane Austen's England, though the eyes and words of real people. A great read for anyone new to the period! ...more
Jill Hutchinson
A tour through the England that existed during the time of novelist Jane Austen's life. And it touches on such diverse subjects as hygiene, transportation, religion, work, travel, etc. The authors (husband and wife) give equal attention to the rich and the poor and how each class lived during this period when the class system was very well defined and very restrictive. It also is rather depressing, since the hardships of the poor, especially the children of the poor, were almost beyond imagining ...more
Feb 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended, especially for lovers of Jane Austen, but also for readers of Regency romances and historical novels of the period. This book covers a lot of things that don't make it into the novels, like the appalling state of medicine and law at the time. Using quotes from diaries of the period, the authors illuminate the life of the time.
Chapters are: Wedding bells -- Breeding -- Toddler to teenager -- Home and hearth -- Fashions and filth -- Sermons and superstitions -- Wealth and work
Monica Fairview
I enjoyed reading this, although it wasn't as radical as I thought it would be. Anyone who's read David Nokes' autobiography is well aware of how much of a struggle it was for Jane Austen's family to keep up appearances when they were constantly worried about money.

It has some really good information, though. The section about the chimney sweeps was really good as were many of the sections. I think probably it's a very good starting point for those who are coming new to the Regency Period. I wou
Not as readable as the other books I've read about the late-Georgian and Regency eras. The authors used several contemporary diaries and memoirs as source material, and a few issues, not being mentioned in those sources, are skimmed over with little explanation. However, this does offer more information about the lives of the poor and working poor than the other references I've read. ...more
Apr 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
A look at the social history around the time of Jane Austen. The book uses Austen's life and letters, but also diaries and letters of a group of other, non-famous people to illuminate different aspects of the period. ...more
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Oct 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Bettie
Excellent social history.

For a further review: .
M.A. Nichols
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Overall, this is a great, informative book about the Georgian era. Though it took me a while to get through it, I enjoyed it and it was exactly what I was looking for. It has lots of really interesting information and tidbits about life in that era. If you're interested in the era, then this is the book for you! I've read "What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew" by Daniel Pool, which is an often cited history book for the era, but I thought this one was much better. There is a big differe ...more
I've been reading a lot of Regency Romances this year so I thought I needed more knowledge about the subject. This book covers many things, certainly Jane Austen's world but not precisely Jane Austen's stories' world. Reading this book was like reading a more detailed book of "Horrible History"... some aspects that I totally associated with Victorian period (a darker, more grittier period in my reader's mind) were part of the Georgian period, like body-snatchers O_O and death penalty for trivial ...more
May 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've found that there is a danger that history books might be dry and dull. However this one is very entertaining; it's a treat. It's well-written, well-researched and it seems to cover all aspects of every day life in this era, some of which I'd never considered before. So fascinating! I was impressed by the plethora of primary sources used which really brought alive the people of the day and gave them a voice. In the grand scheme of things, the period of time which encompassed Jane Austen's li ...more
Faith Hough
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Okay, so I read this for research. If you're not as nerdy about history as I am, you probably won't care for it; the authors use a great deal of original source material--letters, journals, newspaper quotes--and those can get long and archaically wordy. But they're right up my alley and were a huge help as I prepare my notes for a book... ...more
Sarah Brett
Jan 15, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very readable look at Regency England, and not as Austen-focussed as it might seem from the title. I’m not a fast reader of non-fiction usually but I sped through this, and kept coming across interesting nuggets I had to read out to my partner. Very much worth a read if you’re interested in this era, or the history of the UK more generally.
Rachel L
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book helped put Jane Austen into her historical and cultural setting, and was a fascinating read. Cannot recommend this highly enough!!
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Roy Adkins is a historian and archaeologist. He is also a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in London.

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