Week 1

Week 1: Tuesday, October 6, 2020
Eighteenth Century England

We begin our thirty-week journey with a look backward to the Eighteenth Century. Above you see Thomas Gainsborough's magnificent portrait of an English gentleman with his wife: Mr. and Mrs. Andrews (National Gallery, London).

Our reading for the year is centered on one great novel each quarter:

Jan Austen in Fall Quarter. Charles Dickens in Winter Quarter, Rudyard Kipling in Spring Quarter.

 

Jane Austen,

Pride and Prejudice,

Penguin Books; Penguin Classics edition (December 31, 2002),

ISBN 0141439513

Charles Dickens,

Great Expectations,

Penguin Classics; Revised edition (December 31, 2002),

ISBN 0141439564

Rudyard Kipling,

Kim,

Penguin Classics; Reprint edition (November 29, 2011),

ISBN 0141442379

RECOMMENDED READING

This wonderful book by Christopher Hibbert will be useful to us all year. Hibbert is one of greatest "popular" historians, meaning that he writes books you want to read. Many of you have used his great one-volume history of the Medici as well as his excellent History of Rome, History of Florence, and History of Venice.Many of us used his excellent biography of Mussolini last year in the Modern Italy class. IN this book, Hibbert takes us all through Victorian society. We have not made it "required" but we are sure you will enjoy it if you buy it and read it.

Christopher Hibbert,

Life in Victorian England,

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 31, 2016),

ISBN 1541383559

David Cannadine,

Victorious Century: The United Kingdom, 1800-1906,

Viking (February 20, 2018),

ISBN 052555789X

2

Week 2: Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Aristocracy and Mobility

Thomas Gainsborough was the best artistic interpreter of Eighteenth Century Aristocracy. His career reveals the spectacular luxury of the English upper class as well as the look of the country, the towns such as Bath where Gainsborough lived. But there was another England, the England of the poor working their way up. And no story so brilliantly illustrates that climb as does the story of Lady Emma Hamilton.

RECOMMENDED READING

Christopher Hibbert,

Life in Victorian England,

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 31, 2016),

ISBN 1541383559

 

3

Week 3: Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Edmund Burke

ENGLAND AND THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
AS INTERPRETED BY EDMUND BURKE. (1729-1797)

There are few political books that have sustained interest over the centuries as has Edmund Burke's Reflections on the French Revolution. One reason may be that it seems prophetic. He wrote it early in the Revolution, before we knew the horrors of the Terror and before we knew that it would end in the tyranny of Napoleon. Yet, Burke saw it all as it turned out. He died before he had the opportunity to see the outcome. But Burke summed up all the fears and terrors of democracy run wild that scree English democrats. England always worried about the radicals skyjacking their own democratic state. They always worried that a demagogue would appear and sweep everything away: king, queen, nobility, dukes, duchesses, all of it. And the French Revolution with its guillotine seemed to prove real all the fears that English political thinkers had warned about. Burke sums it all up in his Reflections.

 studio of Sir Joshua Reynolds, oil on canvas, (1767-1769)

RECOMMENDED READING

Edmund Burke,

Reflections on the Revolution in France,

Oxford University Press; Reissue edition (June 15, 2009),

ISBN 0199539022

Christopher Hibbert,

Life in Victorian England,

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 31, 2016),

ISBN 1541383559

4

Week 4: Tuesday, October 27, 2020
Jane Austen

.
Jane Austen  (1775 – 1817) was an English novelist known primarily for her six major novels, which interpret, critique and comment upon the British landed gentry at the end of the 18th century. Austen's plots often explore the dependence of women on marriage in the pursuit of favorable social standing and economic security. Her works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century literary realism.

With the publications of Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1815), she achieved success as a published writer. She wrote two additional novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published posthumously in 1818, and began another, eventually titled Sanditon, but died before its completion. Her novels have rarely been out of print, although they were published anonymously and brought her little fame during her lifetime.

A significant transition in her posthumous reputation occurred in 1833, when her novels were republished in Richard Bentley's Standard Novels series, illustrated by Ferdinand Pickering, and sold as a set.[4] They gradually gained wider acclaim and popular readership. In 1869, fifty-two years after her death, her nephew's publication of A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced a compelling version of her writing career and supposedly uneventful life to an eager audience.

Austen has inspired a large number of critical essays and literary anthologies. Her novels have inspired many films, from 1940's Pride and Prejudice to more recent productions like Sense and Sensibility (1995) and Love & Friendship (2016).

Jane Austen's use of biting irony, along with her realism and social commentary have earned her great and historical importance to critics and scholars. (Wikipedia)

 

REQUIRED READING

Jane Austen,

Pride and Prejudice,

Penguin Books; Penguin Classics edition (December 31, 2002),

ISBN 0141439513

RECOMMENDED READING

Christopher Hibbert,

Life in Victorian England,

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 31, 2016),

ISBN 1541383559

5

Week 5: Tuesday, November 3, 2020
Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen is one of the most amazing writers in the English language. She seemed to spring fully formed like Athena, ready to write. Where did she get her skills? It is still a mystery. All the novels are excellent; all are worth reading. This is another unique aspect of her work. Most novelists write some terrible novels, learn their craft, get better, and then in their prime give us their greatest work. But not Austen. So we could read any one of her novels and be rewarded. But we have chosen Pride and Prejudice for our class. I think it is perfect. Really perfect. The characters, the settings, the rooms, the teas, the conversations: everything rings true and perfectly formed. And if you want a romantic story how could anything be better than Elizabeth, all pride and nerves, and Darcy, all pride and arrogance.  We will view some of the 2005 film version (there are many) with the spectacular cast including Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen, Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland, Tom Hollander, Rosamund Pike,  and Judi Dench.

REQUIRED READING

Jane Austen,

Pride and Prejudice,

Penguin Books; Penguin Classics edition (December 31, 2002),

ISBN 0141439513

RECOMMENDED READING

Christopher Hibbert,

Life in Victorian England,

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 31, 2016),

ISBN 1541383559

6

Week 6: Tuesday, November 10, 2020
Regency England

The Georgian Era of British history begins to wane as old George III slipped into his dotage and his son, the future George IV, took over the running of the government. Thus we have about twenty years of early nineteenth-century English history during which the dominant figure is the Regent-King George. The "Regency" is seen as an era of frivolity and excess sandwiched between the urgent concerns of the reign of George III and the serious world of Victoria. Here is a good review from Wikipedia: "The Regency in Great Britain was a period when King George III was deemed unfit to rule and his son ruled as his proxy as Prince Regent. On the death of George III in 1820, the Prince Regent became George IV. The term Regency (or Regency era) can refer to various stretches of time; some are longer than the decade of the formal Regency which lasted from 1811–1820. The period from 1795 to 1837, which includes the latter part of the reign of George III and the reigns of his sons George IV and William IV, is often regarded as the Regency era, characterised by distinctive trends in British architecture, literature, fashions, politics, and culture. The Regency era ended in 1837 when Queen Victoria succeeded William IV.The Regency is noted for its elegance and achievements in the fine arts and architecture. This era encompassed a time of great social, political, and economic change. War was waged with Napoleon and on other fronts, affecting commerce both at home and internationally as well as politics. Despite the bloodshed and warfare, the Regency was also a period of great refinement and cultural achievement, shaping and altering the societal structure of Britain as a whole. One of the greatest patrons of the arts and architecture was the Prince Regent himself (the future George IV). Upper class society flourished in a sort of mini-Renaissance of culture and refinement. As one of the greatest patrons of the arts, the Prince Regent ordered the costly building and refurbishing of the beautiful and exotic Brighton Pavilion, the ornate Carlton House, as well as many other public works and architecture (see John Nash, James Burton, and Decimus Burton). Naturally, this required dipping into the treasury and the Regent, and later, King's exuberance often outstripped his pocket, at the people's expense. Society was also considerably stratified. In many ways there was a dark side to the beauty and fashion in England at this time. In the dingier, less affluent areas of London, thievery, womanising, gambling, the existence of rookeries, and constant drinking ran rampant. The population boom—the population increased from just under a million in 1801 to one and a quarter million by 1820 —created a wild, roiling, volatile, and vibrant scene. According to Robert Southey, the difference between the strata of society was vast indeed: 'The squalor that existed beneath the glamour and gloss of Regency society provided sharp contrast to the Prince Regent's social circle. Poverty was addressed only marginally. The formation of the Regency after the retirement of George III saw the end of a more pious and reserved society, and gave birth of a more frivolous, ostentatious one. This change was influenced by the Regent himself, who was kept entirely removed from the machinations of politics and military exploits. This did nothing to channel his energies in a more positive direction, thereby leaving him with the pursuit of pleasure as his only outlet, as well as his sole form of rebellion against what he saw as disapproval and censure in the form of his father.' Driving these changes was not only money and rebellious pampered youth, but also significant technological advancements. In 1814 The Times adopted steam printing. By this method it could now print 1,100 sheets every hour, not 200 as before—a fivefold increase in production capability and demand. This development brought about the rise of the wildly popular fashionable novelsin which publishers spread the stories, rumours, and flaunting of the rich and aristocratic, not so secretly hinting at the specific identity of these individuals. The gap in the hierarchy of society was so great that those of the upper classes could be viewed by those below as wondrous and fantastical fiction, something entirely out of reach yet tangibly there."

RECOMMENDED READING

Christopher Hibbert,

Life in Victorian England,

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 31, 2016),

ISBN 1541383559

Carolly Erickson,

Our Tempestuous Day: A History of Regency England,

William Morrow Paperbacks,

ISBN 0380813343

7

Week 7: Tuesday, November 17, 2020
The Duke and Duchess of Kent

The parents of Queen Victoria lived an extraordianry life in the England of the early 1800's where their little girl was always a potential monarch, but only 5th in line at her birth. Their story is fascinating.

THANKSGIVING NEXT WEEK. WE TAKE OFF THE WHOLE WEEK.

Christopher Hibbert,

Life in Victorian England,

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 31, 2016),

ISBN 1541383559

8

Week 8: Tuesday, December 1, 2020
King George IV

George IV (George Augustus Frederick; 12 August 1762 – 26 June 1830) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of Hanover following the death of his father, George III, on 29 January 1820, until his own death ten years later. From 1811 until his accession, he served as Prince Regent during his father's final mental illness. George IV led an extravagant lifestyle that contributed to the fashions of the Regency era. He was a patron of new forms of leisure, style and taste. He commissioned John Nash to build the Royal Pavilion in Brighton and remodel Buckingham Palace, and Sir Jeffry Wyattville to rebuild Windsor Castle. His charm and culture earned him the title "the first gentleman of England", but his poor relationship with both his father and his wife, Caroline of Brunswick, and his dissolute way of life, earned him the contempt of the people and dimmed the prestige of the monarchy. He even forbade Caroline to attend his coronation and asked the government to introduce the unpopular Pains and Penalties Bill in a desperate, unsuccessful attempt to divorce her. For most of George's regency and reign, Lord Liverpool controlled the government as Prime Minister, with little help from George. His ministers found his behaviour selfish, unreliable and irresponsible. Taxpayers were angry at his wasteful spending at a time when Britons were fighting in the Napoleonic Wars. He did not provide national leadership in time of crisis, nor act as a role model for his people. Liverpool's government presided over Britain's ultimate victory, negotiated the peace settlement, and attempted to deal with the social and economic malaise that followed. After Liverpool's retirement, George was forced to accept Catholic emancipation despite opposing it. His only legitimate child, Princess Charlotte, died before him in 1817 and so he was succeeded by his younger brother, William. (Wikipedia)

Christopher Hibbert,

Life in Victorian England,

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 31, 2016),

ISBN 1541383559

9

Week 9: Tuesday, December 8, 2020
King William IV

William IV (William Henry; 21 August 1765 – 20 June 1837) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover from 26 June 1830 until his death. The third son of George III and younger brother and successor to George IV, he was the last king and penultimate monarch of Britain's House of Hanover. William served in the Royal Navy in his youth and was, both during his reign and afterwards, nicknamed the "Sailor King".[1][2] He served in North America and the Caribbean. In 1789, he was created Duke of Clarence and St Andrews. Since his two older brothers died without leaving legitimate issue, he inherited the throne when he was 64 years old. His reign saw several reforms: the poor law was updated, child labour restricted, slavery abolished in nearly all of the British Empire, and the British electoral system refashioned by the Reform Act 1832. Although William did not engage in politics as much as his brother or his father, he was the last monarch to appoint a prime minister contrary to the will of Parliament. Through his brother, the Viceroy of Hanover, he granted his German kingdom a short-lived liberal constitution. At the time of his death William had no surviving legitimate children, but he was survived by eight of the ten illegitimate children he had by the actress Dorothea Jordan, with whom he cohabited for twenty years. William was succeeded in the United Kingdom by his niece, Victoria, and in Hanover by his brother, Ernest Augustus.
(Wikipedia)

RECOMMENDED READING

Christopher Hibbert,

Life in Victorian England,

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 31, 2016),

ISBN 1541383559

10

Week 10: Tuesday, December 15, 2020
Queen Victoria

WIKIPEDIA: Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she adopted the additional title of Empress of India. Victoria was the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of George III of the United Kingdom. Both the Duke of Kent and King George III died in 1820, and Victoria was raised under close supervision by her German-born mother, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. She inherited the throne at the age of 18, after her father's three elder brothers had all died, leaving no surviving legitimate children. The United Kingdom was already an established constitutional monarchy, in which the sovereign held relatively little direct political power. Privately, Victoria attempted to influence government policy and ministerial appointments; publicly, she became a national icon who was identified with strict standards of personal morality. Victoria married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in 1840. Their nine children married into royal and noble families across the continent, tying them together and earning her the sobriquet "the grandmother of Europe". After Albert's death in 1861, Victoria plunged into deep mourning and avoided public appearances. As a result of her seclusion, republicanism temporarily gained strength, but in the latter half of her reign her popularity recovered. Her Golden and Diamond Jubilees were times of public celebration. Her reign of 63 years and seven months is known as the Victorian era and was longer than that of any of her predecessors. It was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire. She was the last British monarch of the House of Hanover. Her son and successor, Edward VII, inaugurated the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the line of his father.

RECOMMENDED READING

Christopher Hibbert,

Life in Victorian England,

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 31, 2016),

ISBN 1541383559

RECOMMENDED READING

We are very fortunate to have a new biography of Victoria just in time for our class. Julia Baird has written a masterpiece of a biography about this fascinating and complicated woman. I can tell you that you will love it. The author discovered the real Victoria as opposed to the cartoon character. It is a great book but also a great read. Once you start, you will never want to put it down. The family, the mother, the husband (Oh my god! What a husband!) the tyrants trying to order her around. It is all here and all I can say is: watch out for the next book by Julia Baird.

REVIEWS
“Victoria the Queen, Julia Baird’s exquisitely wrought and meticulously researched biography, brushes the dusty myth off this extraordinary monarch. Right out of the gate, the book thrums with authority as Baird builds her portrayal of Victoria. Overturning stereotypes, she rips this queen down to the studs and creates her anew. . . . Baird’s Victoria isn’t the woman we expect to meet. Her queen is a pure iconoclast: emotional, demonstrative, sexual and driven. . . . Baird writes in the round. She constructs a dynamic historical figure, then spins out a spherical world of elegant reference, anchoring the narrative in specific detail and pinning down complex swaths of history that, in less capable hands, would simply blow away.”—The New York Times Book Review

“In this in-depth look at a feminist before her time, you’ll balk at, cheer on, and mourn the obstacles in the life of the teen queen who grew into her throne.”—Marie Claire

Julia Baird,

Victoria: The Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire,

Random House; 1st Edition edition (November 22, 2016),

ISBN 1400069882

All

Week 1: Tue., Oct. 6, 2020
Eighteenth Century England

We begin our thirty-week journey with a look backward to the Eighteenth Century. Above you see Thomas Gainsborough's magnificent portrait of an English gentleman with his wife: Mr. and Mrs. Andrews (National Gallery, London).

Our reading for the year is centered on one great novel each quarter:

Jan Austen in Fall Quarter. Charles Dickens in Winter Quarter, Rudyard Kipling in Spring Quarter.

 

Jane Austen,

Pride and Prejudice,

Penguin Books; Penguin Classics edition (December 31, 2002),

ISBN 0141439513

Charles Dickens,

Great Expectations,

Penguin Classics; Revised edition (December 31, 2002),

ISBN 0141439564

Rudyard Kipling,

Kim,

Penguin Classics; Reprint edition (November 29, 2011),

ISBN 0141442379

RECOMMENDED READING

This wonderful book by Christopher Hibbert will be useful to us all year. Hibbert is one of greatest "popular" historians, meaning that he writes books you want to read. Many of you have used his great one-volume history of the Medici as well as his excellent History of Rome, History of Florence, and History of Venice.Many of us used his excellent biography of Mussolini last year in the Modern Italy class. IN this book, Hibbert takes us all through Victorian society. We have not made it "required" but we are sure you will enjoy it if you buy it and read it.

Christopher Hibbert,

Life in Victorian England,

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 31, 2016),

ISBN 1541383559

David Cannadine,

Victorious Century: The United Kingdom, 1800-1906,

Viking (February 20, 2018),

ISBN 052555789X

Week 2: Tue., Oct. 13, 2020
Aristocracy and Mobility

Thomas Gainsborough was the best artistic interpreter of Eighteenth Century Aristocracy. His career reveals the spectacular luxury of the English upper class as well as the look of the country, the towns such as Bath where Gainsborough lived. But there was another England, the England of the poor working their way up. And no story so brilliantly illustrates that climb as does the story of Lady Emma Hamilton.

RECOMMENDED READING

Christopher Hibbert,

Life in Victorian England,

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 31, 2016),

ISBN 1541383559

 

Week 3: Tue., Oct. 20, 2020
Edmund Burke

ENGLAND AND THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
AS INTERPRETED BY EDMUND BURKE. (1729-1797)

There are few political books that have sustained interest over the centuries as has Edmund Burke's Reflections on the French Revolution. One reason may be that it seems prophetic. He wrote it early in the Revolution, before we knew the horrors of the Terror and before we knew that it would end in the tyranny of Napoleon. Yet, Burke saw it all as it turned out. He died before he had the opportunity to see the outcome. But Burke summed up all the fears and terrors of democracy run wild that scree English democrats. England always worried about the radicals skyjacking their own democratic state. They always worried that a demagogue would appear and sweep everything away: king, queen, nobility, dukes, duchesses, all of it. And the French Revolution with its guillotine seemed to prove real all the fears that English political thinkers had warned about. Burke sums it all up in his Reflections.

 studio of Sir Joshua Reynolds, oil on canvas, (1767-1769)

RECOMMENDED READING

Edmund Burke,

Reflections on the Revolution in France,

Oxford University Press; Reissue edition (June 15, 2009),

ISBN 0199539022

Christopher Hibbert,

Life in Victorian England,

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 31, 2016),

ISBN 1541383559

Week 4: Tue., Oct. 27, 2020
Jane Austen

.
Jane Austen  (1775 – 1817) was an English novelist known primarily for her six major novels, which interpret, critique and comment upon the British landed gentry at the end of the 18th century. Austen's plots often explore the dependence of women on marriage in the pursuit of favorable social standing and economic security. Her works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century literary realism.

With the publications of Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1815), she achieved success as a published writer. She wrote two additional novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published posthumously in 1818, and began another, eventually titled Sanditon, but died before its completion. Her novels have rarely been out of print, although they were published anonymously and brought her little fame during her lifetime.

A significant transition in her posthumous reputation occurred in 1833, when her novels were republished in Richard Bentley's Standard Novels series, illustrated by Ferdinand Pickering, and sold as a set.[4] They gradually gained wider acclaim and popular readership. In 1869, fifty-two years after her death, her nephew's publication of A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced a compelling version of her writing career and supposedly uneventful life to an eager audience.

Austen has inspired a large number of critical essays and literary anthologies. Her novels have inspired many films, from 1940's Pride and Prejudice to more recent productions like Sense and Sensibility (1995) and Love & Friendship (2016).

Jane Austen's use of biting irony, along with her realism and social commentary have earned her great and historical importance to critics and scholars. (Wikipedia)

 

REQUIRED READING

Jane Austen,

Pride and Prejudice,

Penguin Books; Penguin Classics edition (December 31, 2002),

ISBN 0141439513

RECOMMENDED READING

Christopher Hibbert,

Life in Victorian England,

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 31, 2016),

ISBN 1541383559

Week 5: Tue., Nov. 3, 2020
Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen is one of the most amazing writers in the English language. She seemed to spring fully formed like Athena, ready to write. Where did she get her skills? It is still a mystery. All the novels are excellent; all are worth reading. This is another unique aspect of her work. Most novelists write some terrible novels, learn their craft, get better, and then in their prime give us their greatest work. But not Austen. So we could read any one of her novels and be rewarded. But we have chosen Pride and Prejudice for our class. I think it is perfect. Really perfect. The characters, the settings, the rooms, the teas, the conversations: everything rings true and perfectly formed. And if you want a romantic story how could anything be better than Elizabeth, all pride and nerves, and Darcy, all pride and arrogance.  We will view some of the 2005 film version (there are many) with the spectacular cast including Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen, Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland, Tom Hollander, Rosamund Pike,  and Judi Dench.

REQUIRED READING

Jane Austen,

Pride and Prejudice,

Penguin Books; Penguin Classics edition (December 31, 2002),

ISBN 0141439513

RECOMMENDED READING

Christopher Hibbert,

Life in Victorian England,

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 31, 2016),

ISBN 1541383559

Week 6: Tue., Nov. 10, 2020
Regency England

The Georgian Era of British history begins to wane as old George III slipped into his dotage and his son, the future George IV, took over the running of the government. Thus we have about twenty years of early nineteenth-century English history during which the dominant figure is the Regent-King George. The "Regency" is seen as an era of frivolity and excess sandwiched between the urgent concerns of the reign of George III and the serious world of Victoria. Here is a good review from Wikipedia: "The Regency in Great Britain was a period when King George III was deemed unfit to rule and his son ruled as his proxy as Prince Regent. On the death of George III in 1820, the Prince Regent became George IV. The term Regency (or Regency era) can refer to various stretches of time; some are longer than the decade of the formal Regency which lasted from 1811–1820. The period from 1795 to 1837, which includes the latter part of the reign of George III and the reigns of his sons George IV and William IV, is often regarded as the Regency era, characterised by distinctive trends in British architecture, literature, fashions, politics, and culture. The Regency era ended in 1837 when Queen Victoria succeeded William IV.The Regency is noted for its elegance and achievements in the fine arts and architecture. This era encompassed a time of great social, political, and economic change. War was waged with Napoleon and on other fronts, affecting commerce both at home and internationally as well as politics. Despite the bloodshed and warfare, the Regency was also a period of great refinement and cultural achievement, shaping and altering the societal structure of Britain as a whole. One of the greatest patrons of the arts and architecture was the Prince Regent himself (the future George IV). Upper class society flourished in a sort of mini-Renaissance of culture and refinement. As one of the greatest patrons of the arts, the Prince Regent ordered the costly building and refurbishing of the beautiful and exotic Brighton Pavilion, the ornate Carlton House, as well as many other public works and architecture (see John Nash, James Burton, and Decimus Burton). Naturally, this required dipping into the treasury and the Regent, and later, King's exuberance often outstripped his pocket, at the people's expense. Society was also considerably stratified. In many ways there was a dark side to the beauty and fashion in England at this time. In the dingier, less affluent areas of London, thievery, womanising, gambling, the existence of rookeries, and constant drinking ran rampant. The population boom—the population increased from just under a million in 1801 to one and a quarter million by 1820 —created a wild, roiling, volatile, and vibrant scene. According to Robert Southey, the difference between the strata of society was vast indeed: 'The squalor that existed beneath the glamour and gloss of Regency society provided sharp contrast to the Prince Regent's social circle. Poverty was addressed only marginally. The formation of the Regency after the retirement of George III saw the end of a more pious and reserved society, and gave birth of a more frivolous, ostentatious one. This change was influenced by the Regent himself, who was kept entirely removed from the machinations of politics and military exploits. This did nothing to channel his energies in a more positive direction, thereby leaving him with the pursuit of pleasure as his only outlet, as well as his sole form of rebellion against what he saw as disapproval and censure in the form of his father.' Driving these changes was not only money and rebellious pampered youth, but also significant technological advancements. In 1814 The Times adopted steam printing. By this method it could now print 1,100 sheets every hour, not 200 as before—a fivefold increase in production capability and demand. This development brought about the rise of the wildly popular fashionable novelsin which publishers spread the stories, rumours, and flaunting of the rich and aristocratic, not so secretly hinting at the specific identity of these individuals. The gap in the hierarchy of society was so great that those of the upper classes could be viewed by those below as wondrous and fantastical fiction, something entirely out of reach yet tangibly there."

RECOMMENDED READING

Christopher Hibbert,

Life in Victorian England,

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 31, 2016),

ISBN 1541383559

Carolly Erickson,

Our Tempestuous Day: A History of Regency England,

William Morrow Paperbacks,

ISBN 0380813343

Week 7: Tue., Nov. 17, 2020
The Duke and Duchess of Kent

The parents of Queen Victoria lived an extraordianry life in the England of the early 1800's where their little girl was always a potential monarch, but only 5th in line at her birth. Their story is fascinating.

THANKSGIVING NEXT WEEK. WE TAKE OFF THE WHOLE WEEK.

Christopher Hibbert,

Life in Victorian England,

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 31, 2016),

ISBN 1541383559

Week 8: Tue., Dec. 1, 2020
King George IV

George IV (George Augustus Frederick; 12 August 1762 – 26 June 1830) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of Hanover following the death of his father, George III, on 29 January 1820, until his own death ten years later. From 1811 until his accession, he served as Prince Regent during his father's final mental illness. George IV led an extravagant lifestyle that contributed to the fashions of the Regency era. He was a patron of new forms of leisure, style and taste. He commissioned John Nash to build the Royal Pavilion in Brighton and remodel Buckingham Palace, and Sir Jeffry Wyattville to rebuild Windsor Castle. His charm and culture earned him the title "the first gentleman of England", but his poor relationship with both his father and his wife, Caroline of Brunswick, and his dissolute way of life, earned him the contempt of the people and dimmed the prestige of the monarchy. He even forbade Caroline to attend his coronation and asked the government to introduce the unpopular Pains and Penalties Bill in a desperate, unsuccessful attempt to divorce her. For most of George's regency and reign, Lord Liverpool controlled the government as Prime Minister, with little help from George. His ministers found his behaviour selfish, unreliable and irresponsible. Taxpayers were angry at his wasteful spending at a time when Britons were fighting in the Napoleonic Wars. He did not provide national leadership in time of crisis, nor act as a role model for his people. Liverpool's government presided over Britain's ultimate victory, negotiated the peace settlement, and attempted to deal with the social and economic malaise that followed. After Liverpool's retirement, George was forced to accept Catholic emancipation despite opposing it. His only legitimate child, Princess Charlotte, died before him in 1817 and so he was succeeded by his younger brother, William. (Wikipedia)

Christopher Hibbert,

Life in Victorian England,

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 31, 2016),

ISBN 1541383559

Week 9: Tue., Dec. 8, 2020
King William IV

William IV (William Henry; 21 August 1765 – 20 June 1837) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover from 26 June 1830 until his death. The third son of George III and younger brother and successor to George IV, he was the last king and penultimate monarch of Britain's House of Hanover. William served in the Royal Navy in his youth and was, both during his reign and afterwards, nicknamed the "Sailor King".[1][2] He served in North America and the Caribbean. In 1789, he was created Duke of Clarence and St Andrews. Since his two older brothers died without leaving legitimate issue, he inherited the throne when he was 64 years old. His reign saw several reforms: the poor law was updated, child labour restricted, slavery abolished in nearly all of the British Empire, and the British electoral system refashioned by the Reform Act 1832. Although William did not engage in politics as much as his brother or his father, he was the last monarch to appoint a prime minister contrary to the will of Parliament. Through his brother, the Viceroy of Hanover, he granted his German kingdom a short-lived liberal constitution. At the time of his death William had no surviving legitimate children, but he was survived by eight of the ten illegitimate children he had by the actress Dorothea Jordan, with whom he cohabited for twenty years. William was succeeded in the United Kingdom by his niece, Victoria, and in Hanover by his brother, Ernest Augustus.
(Wikipedia)

RECOMMENDED READING

Christopher Hibbert,

Life in Victorian England,

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 31, 2016),

ISBN 1541383559

Week 10: Tue., Dec. 15, 2020
Queen Victoria

WIKIPEDIA: Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she adopted the additional title of Empress of India. Victoria was the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of George III of the United Kingdom. Both the Duke of Kent and King George III died in 1820, and Victoria was raised under close supervision by her German-born mother, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. She inherited the throne at the age of 18, after her father's three elder brothers had all died, leaving no surviving legitimate children. The United Kingdom was already an established constitutional monarchy, in which the sovereign held relatively little direct political power. Privately, Victoria attempted to influence government policy and ministerial appointments; publicly, she became a national icon who was identified with strict standards of personal morality. Victoria married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in 1840. Their nine children married into royal and noble families across the continent, tying them together and earning her the sobriquet "the grandmother of Europe". After Albert's death in 1861, Victoria plunged into deep mourning and avoided public appearances. As a result of her seclusion, republicanism temporarily gained strength, but in the latter half of her reign her popularity recovered. Her Golden and Diamond Jubilees were times of public celebration. Her reign of 63 years and seven months is known as the Victorian era and was longer than that of any of her predecessors. It was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire. She was the last British monarch of the House of Hanover. Her son and successor, Edward VII, inaugurated the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the line of his father.

RECOMMENDED READING

Christopher Hibbert,

Life in Victorian England,

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 31, 2016),

ISBN 1541383559

RECOMMENDED READING

We are very fortunate to have a new biography of Victoria just in time for our class. Julia Baird has written a masterpiece of a biography about this fascinating and complicated woman. I can tell you that you will love it. The author discovered the real Victoria as opposed to the cartoon character. It is a great book but also a great read. Once you start, you will never want to put it down. The family, the mother, the husband (Oh my god! What a husband!) the tyrants trying to order her around. It is all here and all I can say is: watch out for the next book by Julia Baird.

REVIEWS
“Victoria the Queen, Julia Baird’s exquisitely wrought and meticulously researched biography, brushes the dusty myth off this extraordinary monarch. Right out of the gate, the book thrums with authority as Baird builds her portrayal of Victoria. Overturning stereotypes, she rips this queen down to the studs and creates her anew. . . . Baird’s Victoria isn’t the woman we expect to meet. Her queen is a pure iconoclast: emotional, demonstrative, sexual and driven. . . . Baird writes in the round. She constructs a dynamic historical figure, then spins out a spherical world of elegant reference, anchoring the narrative in specific detail and pinning down complex swaths of history that, in less capable hands, would simply blow away.”—The New York Times Book Review

“In this in-depth look at a feminist before her time, you’ll balk at, cheer on, and mourn the obstacles in the life of the teen queen who grew into her throne.”—Marie Claire

Julia Baird,

Victoria: The Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire,

Random House; 1st Edition edition (November 22, 2016),

ISBN 1400069882