Synopses & Reviews
The Victorian age is much closer to us in time than we might believe. Yet at that time, in the most technologically advanced nation in the world, people buried meat in fresh earth to prevent mold forming and wrung sheets out in boiling water with their bare hands. Such household drudgery was routinely performed by the grandparents of people still living, but the knowledge of it has passed as if it had never been.
Judith Flanders's book is laid out like a Victorian house, taking you through the story of daily life from room to room. In each space she depicts the home's furnishings and decoration: from childbirth in the master bedroom, through the scullery and kitchen, the separate male and female domains of the drawing room and the parlor, and ending in the sickroom. A rich selection from diaries, letters, advice books, magazines, and paintings fills the rooms with the people and personalities of the age. 100 illustrations, 3 8-page color inserts.
What makes Flanders's book compelling is not only her keen eye for telling detail, her strong awareness of the importance of family context (already apparent in her first book, A Circle of Sisters) and her insights, but also her skill in handling literary sources that illuminate her subject....By slicing the front facade of the house and guiding the reader through a succession of rooms that convery the often frightening complexity of lives passed in them, Flanders brings the Victorian family into deft and vivid focus.
Nineteenth-century Britain was then the world's most prosperous nation, yet Victorians would bury meat in earth and wring sheets out in boiling water with their bare hands. Such drudgery was routine for the parents of people still living, but the knowledge of it has passed as if it had never been. Following the daily life of a middle-class Victorian house from room to room; from childbirth in the master bedroom through the kitchen, scullery, dining room, and parlor, all the way to the sickroom; Judith Flanders draws on diaries, advice books, and other sources to resurrect an age so close in time yet so alien to our own.
"[Flanders] knows what we want to know and is thoroughly engaging, undidactic company."--Katherine A. Powers,
About the Author
Judith Flanders is the author of A Circle of Sisters, which was nominated for the Guardian First Book Award. She lives in London.