It’s “Regency Week” on linnetmoss.com!
As an English major reared on Austen, Scott, Wordsworth, Coleridge and Shelley, I’m used to thinking of the early nineteenth century as the “Regency period.” Which is a very Anglo perspective, because of course the rest of the world was getting on with its business as well. Especially Napoleon.
Though it is emblematic of the age, the actual Regency only lasted nine years, from 1811 to 1820, when King George III was mad and the Prince of Wales ruled as “the Regent.” The styles of dress, the manners, the morals, the poetry, novels and music from 1800 to about 1830 are probably better described as characteristic of the “Romantic period” in Europe:
- Grimm’s Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm was published in 1812.
- Napoleon escaped from Elba and the Battle of Waterloo was fought in 1815.
- Lord Byron was at the height of his notoriety (and beauty) in 1816.
- Beethoven finished his last symphony (the ninth) in 1824.
One of my beloved little books is an almanac from Hamburg in 1816, the year Jane Austen published Emma. The hand-colored illustrations show people in clothing that seems drawn straight from one of her novels.
The Germans had also fought Napoleon, and the military men seem to have had a magnetic effect on the ladies, very much as the officers in their resplendent uniforms turned the heads of the younger Bennet girls in Pride and Prejudice.
Women and girls have their distinct occupations, which seem to be attending balls and gossiping for the older ladies, and painting or music for the younger.
The well-to-do could enjoy a domestic idyll in the country, complete with swans in a lake that holds a Romantic “folly” and antiquarian statuary.
Stay tuned for more delights from the Napoleonic Era during Regency Week on linnetmoss.com! I’ll be featuring Jane Austen’s earthy sense of humor, and we’ll learn about bedtime stories read by Beautiful Man Richard Armitage…