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Behind Closed Doors
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In this brilliant new work, Amanda Vickery unlocks the homes of Georgian England to examine the lives of the people who lived there. Writing with her customary wit and verve, she introduces us to men and women from all walks of life: gentlewoman Anne Dormer in her stately Oxfordshire mansion, bachelor clerk and future novelist Anthony Trollope in his dreary London lodgings, genteel spinsters keeping up appearances in two rooms with yellow wallpaper, servants with only a locking box to call their own. Vickery makes ingenious use of upholsterer's ledgers, burglary trials, and other unusual sources to reveal the roles of house and home in economic survival, social success, and political representation during the long eighteenth century. Through the spread of formal visiting, the proliferation of affordable ornamental furnishings, the commercial celebration of feminine artistry at home, and the currency of the language of taste, even modest homes turned into arenas of social campaign and exhibition.
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About the Author

Amanda Vickery is professor of history, Royal Holloway University of London, and the author of The Gentleman's Daughter: Women's Lives in Georgian England, which won the Whitfield, Wolfson, and Longman History Today prizes.

Reviews

"'not for a moment is she overwhelmed by the mighty volume of her research. She weaves it all into a compelling narrative packed with anecdote, strange characters and all manner of weird and wonderful details about Georgian home life.' Dan Cruickshank, Country Life 'Vickery is that rare thing an academic historian who writes like a novelist... an enthralling slice of domestic history.' Jane Shilling, Daily Mail 'Vickery's great skill lies in combining a sharp forensic eye with the ability to spot and tell stories, moving between different scales so smoothly that you can't see the joins. And then there is the wit of the thing.' Kathryn Hughes, The Guardian 'We see the Georgians at home as we have never seen them before in this ground-breaking book... Behind Closed Doors is both scholarly and terrifically good fun. Worth staying at home for.' Frances Wilson, Sunday Times 'Comparison between Vickery and Jane Austen is irresistible... This book is almost too pleasurable, in that Vickery's style and delicious nosiness conceal some seriously weighty scholarship.' Lisa Hilton, The Independent 'Who can resist a book that describes one diarist as a confirmed grumbletonian. One would have to be a confirmed grumbletonian indeed not to find enlightenment - and pleasure - on every page of this book.' Judith Flanders, Sunday Telegraph 'Behind Closed Doors stands out... [It] not only revels in the details of domestic life, it offers a very funny way of looking at otherwise familiar historical characters.' Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Telegraph 'An evocative account of life in Georgian England... How much we owe historians who trawl through the illegible and scattered archives for us to assemble these alternative accounts of history." Margaret Drabble, The Guardian"

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