What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew

What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew : From Fox Hunting to Whist-the Facts of Daily Life in Nineteenth-Century England

3.84 (4,833 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 3 business days
When will my order arrive?


A "delightful reader's companion" (The New York Times) to the great nineteenth-century British novels of Austen, Dickens, Trollope, the Bront s, and more, this lively guide clarifies the sometimes bizarre maze of rules and customs that governed life in Victorian England. For anyone who has ever wondered whether a duke outranked an earl, when to yell "Tally Ho!" at a fox hunt, or how one landed in "debtor's prison," this book serves as an indispensable historical and literary resource. Author Daniel Pool provides countless intriguing details (did you know that the "plums" in Christmas plum pudding were actually raisins?) on the Church of England, sex, Parliament, dinner parties, country house visiting, and a host of other aspects of nineteenth-century English life--both "upstairs" and "downstairs.

An illuminating glossary gives at a glance the meaning and significance of terms ranging from "ague" to "wainscoting," the specifics of the currency system, and a lively host of other details and curiosities of the day.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 416 pages
  • 138 x 216 x 20mm | 399.99g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 45 b-w line art t-o
  • 0671882368
  • 9780671882365
  • 76,490

Table of contents



Part One

The Basics


The Calendar

Hogsheads and Drams: English Measurement



The Public World

Precedence: Of Bishops, Barristers, and Baronets

The Titled

How to Address Your Betters

Esq., Gent., K.C.B., etc.

Status: Gentlemen and Lesser Folk


Society and "The Season"

Basic Etiquette

How to Address the Nontitled

"May I Have This Dance?"

The Rules of Whist and Other Card Games

Calling Cards and Calls

The Major Rituals

Presentation at Court

The Dinner Party

The Ball

The Country House Visit


Being Wealthy

Entail and Protecting the Estate

Bankruptcy, Debt, and Moneylending

Power and the Establishment

The Government

Britannia Rules the Waves

The Army

The Church of England

Oxford and Cambridge


"The Law Is a Ass"


Crime and Punishment


The Horse

Please, James, the Coach

The Railroad

The Mail

The Country

Life on the Farm

The Midlands, Wessex, and Yorkshire

Who's Who in the Country

Shire and Shire Alike: Local Government in Britain

"The Theory and System of Fox Hunting"

Vermin, Poachers, and Keepers

Fairs and Markets

The Private World

"Reader, I Married Him"


An Englishman's Home

Houses with Names



How the English Kept Clean

"Please, Sir, I Want Some More."



Drink and the Evils Thereof

Women's Clothing

Men's Clothing


The Governess

A Taxonomy of Maids

Victorian Recycling

The Grim World

The Orphan



The Workhouse



Death and Other Grave Matters

Part Two



show more

Review Text

"A delightful book ... indispensable to lovers of Victorian literature." (M.G. Lord New York Newsday)
show more

Review quote

Patrick T. Reardon Chicago Tribune This entertaining social history is just the ticket for Americans who like to read Dickens and other 19th-century novelists...or for anyone who likes to read histories and biographies of that era. Glenn Giffin The Denver Post It's great fun reading this, and Pool has provided a valuable service. Geoffrey Stokes The Boston Globe Indispensable...Pool has gathered together...the facts of daily life in 19th-century England, and no one who likes an occasional dip into the period's history or literature can afford to be without it. M.G. Lord New York Newsday A delightful book...indispensable to lovers of Victorian literature.
show more

About Daniel Pool

Daniel Pool received a doctorate in political science from Brandeis University and a law degree from Columbia University. He lives in New York City.
show more

Rating details

4,833 ratings
3.84 out of 5 stars
5 26% (1,244)
4 40% (1,933)
3 29% (1,388)
2 5% (221)
1 1% (47)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X