Eavesdropping on Jane Austen's England: How Our Ancestors Lived Two Centuries Ago

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Little, Brown, 2013 - England - 422 pages
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Jane Austen, arguably the greatest novelist of the English language, lived from 1775 to 1817. Her fiction focuses on the gentry and aristocracy, and her heroines are young women looking for love. Yet the comfortable, tranquil country that she brilliantly devised is a complete contrast to the England in which she actually lived. For twenty-nine of Jane Austen's forty-one years, the country was embroiled in war.

Eavesdropping on Jane Austen's England explores the real England of that time. Roy and Lesley Adkins vividly portray fascinating aspects of the daily lives of ordinary people, from forced marriages and the sale of wives in marketplaces to boys and girls working down mines or as chimney sweeps, this book eavesdrops on the daily chore of fetching water, the horror of ghosts and witches, Saint Monday, bull baiting, sedan chairs, highwaymen, the stench of corpses swinging on roadside gibbets and the horrors of surgery without anaesthetics.

Giving a voice to these forgotten people and revealing how they worked, played and struggled to survive, Eavesdropping on Jane Austen's England is an authoritative and gripping account that is sometimes humorous, often shocking, but always entertaining.

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About the author (2013)

Roy and Lesley Adkins are husband-and-wife historians and archaeologists, the bestselling authors of eighteen widely acclaimed books on social and naval history, archaeology, ancient Rome, ancient Greece and Egyptology. Their books include Jack Tar, Trafalgar, The War for All the Oceans, Empires of the Plain and The Keys of Egypt and have so far been translated into seventeen languages worldwide. Roy and Lesley Adkins are elected Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries of London and Members of the Institute for Archaeologists. For further information about them and their books, see their website www.adkinshistory.com.

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