^ The Royal Pavilion, Brighton.
A magnificent, exotic structure used as the Regent's summer holiday residence, for entertaining on a sumptuous scale. Mentioned in 'The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey'
^ 12th Century Church of St Mary & Holy Cross, Alderminster, 4 miles south of Stratford-upon-Avon.
During the Regency period, the church helped govern social mores - even if not everybody practiced what was preached. Men of faith, such as William Wilberforce
helped change society for the better, such as petitioning for the end of slavery.
The Regency Era
The Regency era refers specifically to the years 1811-1820 when the Prince Regent (later King George IV) was ruling in place of his father, King George III, who was deemed mad and unfit to rule. The Regency is a sub-period of the Georgian era (from 1714-1837, when a series of kings named George ruled England), which preceded the advent of Queen Victoria to the throne in 1837.
The Regency era is known for:
*the continued wars in the Peninsular against France
* for the exploits of the Duke of Wellington
* Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice' (published in 1813)
* Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' (published in 1816)
* 'Ivanhoe' by Walter Scott (published in 1819).
It was a time of excess (such as the extravagances of the Royal Pavilion in Brighton), adventure and exploration ('Elgin's marbles' - Greek artefacts brought to London by Lord Elgin - were first displayed at the British Museum in 1817), and social upheaval, such as the Luddite uprisings, as rural workers fought for their traditional ways of life to be maintained against the rise of industrialisation.
Social division was strictly upheld, the social order ranging from royalty to aristocracy to gentry to the middle and lower classes. A person 'in trade' tended to be stigmatised by the upper classes, whilst the servants, labourers, and poor could only dream to have life be so fine. Yet despite the warfare and social unrest, this was also a time of great achievement in culture and technological advancement, leading to the Britain of today.
Regency slang (cant) is something that makes reading a Regency novel so much fun! But much like the phrases used by today's teenagers can prove bewildering to different generations, there can be an element of decoding necessary to understand the idiom of a world from two centuries ago.
While some forms of slang can be found in Jane Austen's works, Georgette Heyer is often considered the queen of Regency cant. Although she wrote in the 1930s to 1960s, her exceptional research skills resulted in a vast collection of letters and diaries from that time period, so her use of slang gives a sense of authenticity that makes her novels such a delight to read.
Some examples include:
* 'a bag of moonshine' = a lot of nothing
* 'doing it much too brown' = to overly exaggerate or lie
* 'to cast up one's accounts' = to be sick
* 'mutton-headed' & 'buffle-headed' = to be stupid or foolish
* 'hoyden' = tomboyish girl
* 'a green girl' = an inexperienced and naive young woman
* 'leg-shackled' = to be married
* 'a diamond of the first water' = an exceptionally beautiful woman
* a 'chit' = a (forward) young girl
* a 'Bluestocking' = educated, bookish woman
* 'the ton' = the highest of high society, usually the aristocracy
Lyme Park, Cheshire, used as the inspiration for Pemberley in the wonderful 1995 production of 'Pride and Prejudice'
A typical scene in rural England - stone walls and rolling countryside - perfect for a hoydenish young lady, with a hem 'six inches deep in mud'
A Regency gentleman had to perfect the art of tying the neckcloth (cravat) - of which
existed many styles and variations
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