Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Victorians consider the Regency: Magazines and Newspapers

This past August I wrote a blog about 1865 in the Regency. My new book, due out in February 2019, is titled The Governess's Peculiar Journey. (It just received an excellent review; I am so excited.) The governess in question time-travels from 1865 to 1815.

This is problematic for her as the mid-and late-Victorians found nothing to admire in the world of their fathers and grandfathers. Indeed they seem to have despised it, and regarded it as an embarrassment.

Victorian books on the recently past eras of George III, the Prince Regent (George IV) and his successor William IV abounded. And they weren't complimentary.

The book "When William IV was King" by John Ashton, published in 1896, began with the death of George IV in 1830. After reproducing articles on the sale of his Majesty's effects, he goes on to say that there was not much interest in the items and very little respect for either the late king or his possessions.
 "The Dawn of the XIXth Century in England: A Social Sketch of the Times" also by John Ashton, took on a more blatant note of disrespect, poking fun at ladies' fashions.

 And at the educational system of the earlier time:

"Follies & Fashions of our Grandfathers" by Andrew W. Tuer is designed in imitation of the journals popular at the beginning of the century. By taking unusual items from original magazines the author makes a new journal dated 1807 (some eighty years before the publication date). It pokes fun at the early days of the century whenever it can and the introduction contains some telling criticisms.

"The Year 1800 or The Sayings and Doings of our Fathers and Mothers: 60 Years Ago" by F. Perigal exposes the early part of the century in a different way. The author uses original newspaper and magazine items to illustrate different topics such as 'Amusements' and 'Science'. The items are carefully chosen to show the 'ignorance' of the earlier age.
Every era looks back at those before it with a certain degree of pity, and something of nostalgia. That Victorian era looked back to its Regency roots with disdain and distaste shows the Victorians in a unattractive light. 

My heroine revises her opinions about both eras! See more about the book at my website -

Next month, we'll look at Christmas...

'Til then, all the best,


N.B. All books cited above should be available at Google Books for download.