Emz’s Library: What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew

Horror writing month – reference books.

What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew, by Daniel Pool
From fox hunting to whist- the facts of daily life in 19th century England

whatjaneaustenatecoverartThis is by far the most helpful book I’ve ever bought in regards to 19th century England. I borrowed this book from a friend before I even had access to the internet. I borrowed it for so long, I was ashamed, returned it, and bought my own. There are just some books that are too valuable to borrow or loan from the library and this is one of them. Not only has it helped me understand the time period and write truer accounts, it’s become a valuable source of understanding the everyday life of the age. Even if you aren’t a writer, this book is interesting.

There is a glossary in back which gives you more than what a dictionary can give. Not only what the word means, but what the word meant (what significance it held) in that time period.

The book also has extensive explanations about occupations and classes, games and leisure activity, and the subject I’ve used it most for, currency and titles. Nowadays you can surely get a lot of this stuff online, but how many hours searching would you have to do before you found it all and how can you be sure it’s as accurate as a fact checked book such as this?

As a reader, I especially liked all the game descriptions and glossary. When first reading Jane Austen’s and Dickens’ works, there are many things I wanted to know more about. I wish I’d had such a book to help me understand the culture before I was fully versed as we are now with all the movies in the genre.

This is definitely my number one book in my authors reference shelf.