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“I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.” - Jane Austen, Persuasion
A fine start
The Regency Years by Robert Morrison
Publication Date: 2019-04-30
A surprising and lively history of an overlooked era that brought the modern world of art, culture, and science decisively into view.
(Morrison, R. (2019). The Regency years: During which Jane Austen writes, Napoleon fights, Byron makes love, and Britain becomes modern. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.)
All Things Austen by Kirstin Olsen
Publication Date: 2008-10-30
This two volume reference encyclopedia provides quickly accessed, detailed explanations of nearly every aspect of the Regency Period from cosmetics and etiquette, travel and how the mail system worked, to the political background and consequences of the practice of Enclosure. Each volume includes a list of the subjects covered by articles and related topics, the second volume includes a full index, bibliography and timeline in the back.
(Olsen, K. (2008). All things Austen: A concise encyclopedia of Austen's world. Oxford: Greenwood World.)
Fashion in the Time of Jane Austen by Sarah Jane Downing
Publication Date: 2010-03-23
The fashion of the Regency was radically different from anything that came before or after it. For one brief shining moment women were liberated from the rigid stays of the past and had yet to be sandwiched into tight corsets, fabrics were lighter, brighter and there was an explosion in men's fashion. Filled with pictures and illustrations, this little booklet is packed with useful and entertaining information about Regency fashion.
(Downing, S. J. (2013). Fashion in the time of Jane Austen. Oxford: Shire.)
An excellent blog that coves Jane Austen, her novels and a wide range of topics related to the Regency Period, including food, fashion, music, class relations and social manners. Includes many links to primary sources material for research.
An Age of Elegance
The UK's Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces, Lucy Worsley, hosts this three part BBC documentary series about the Regency Period, when Austen lived and wrote. With characteristic wit, humor and knowledge Lucy takes views thorough topics as diverse as the wild and torrid life of the Prince Regent, the social tensions and upheavals of an England on the brink of industrialization, the Napoleonic Wars and the creation of the suit. Highly recommenced for anyone who wants to dip their toes into the world of Regency Britain.
(Worsley, L. (Writer). (n.d.). Elegance and Decadence: The Age of the Regency[Television series]. BBC.)
A deeper dive
An Elegant Madness by Venetia Murray
Publication Date: 1999-03-01
Deeply researched and illustrated with rare contemporary cartoons, prints, diaries, and caricatures, An Elegant Madness gives a more thorough study of the Regency with all its glamour and chaos.
(Murray, V. (1999). An elegant madness: High society in Regency England. New York: Viking.)
Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England
Publication Date: 1998-02-15
A study of everyday life in Regency and Victorian England provides anecdotes, written histories and first hand accounts, with useful sections of primary sources material. This book was written with writers in mind and may be good for anyone starting serious research project.
(Hughes, K. (1998). The Writers Guide to Everyday life in Regency and Victorian England, from 1811-1901. Cincinnati, OH: Writers Digest Books.)
Jane Austen's England by Roy Adkins; Lesley Adkins
Publication Date: 2014-07-29
Another rich account of Regency life.
(Adkins, R., & Adkins, L. (2014). Jane Austen's England: Daily life in the Georgian and Regency periods. New York: Penguin Books.)
The Napoleonic Wars
Napoleon by Andrew Roberts
Publication Date: 2014-11-04
The Napoleonic Wars touch every aspect of English life and had profound consequences for life in England during and after Jane's lifetime and the Regency. This relatively recent, and some say, definitive biography of the man who started it all.
(Roberts, A. (2015). Napoleon: A life. New York: Penguin.)
The Napoleonic Wars by Mike Rapport
Publication Date: 2013-03-14
If in a hurry, here is a quick and easy introduction to the basics of the Napoleonic Wars that would shaped so much of European life and politics in the early 19th century.
(Rapport, M. (2013). The Napoleonic Wars: A very short introduction. Oxford University Press.)
Waterloo by Bernard Cornwell
Publication Date: 2015-05-05
The history of one of the most famous and iconic military battles of all time the helped to birth the British Empire and set a trajectory for the modern world.
(Cornwell, B. (2015). Waterloo: The history of four days, three armies, and three battles. New York, NY: Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins.)