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  • Regency Etiquette

  • The Mirror of Graces (1811); or The English Lady's Costume
  • By: A Lady of Distinction
  • Narrated by: Nadia May
  • Length: 4 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Europe
  • 3.7 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Summary

This book, written by a woman who wished to remain anonymous, covers the social customs and manners of her time, the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the times of Jane Austen and of Napoleon. It is devoted in large part to the "English lady's costume" but also covers deportment, movement, the correct dances, propriety, and aids to beauty and health.

"Naturally, a 'Lady of Distinction', in coy anonymity, has written it. But this book was no joke in Regency times, and much of the advice would have been taken very much to heart....The style of writing of this period can only be described as flowery; everything is padded out with endless adjectives, adverbs, and classical references. So one receives the following advice: 'Again, I repeat, the libertine, the gross Epicurean, may feast his imbruted gaze upon a form so stripped of decency; for he is a creature whose senses are bent to the earth and the basest offerings are his banquet.' This, apparently, is the result of leaving too much shoulder showing!" (Anne Woodley, editor, Regency Collection On-Line)

This audiobook will be especially indispensable to anyone interested in the times of Jane Austen, of English Regency, of Napoleon, the early United States, and the War of 1812.

(P)2004 Blackstone Audiobooks

What listeners say about Regency Etiquette

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Fascinating social document

If you like Georgette Heyer's novels you will enjoy this book. Apart from the social history itself, with the kind of daily details seldom given (the corsetry section alone is a real eye-opener) it is beautifully read, by an excellent speaker who seems to be offering guidance in the most appropriate way. If you are not used to listening to fact books, this could be a really good start.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kestrel
  • 15-12-07

A treasure for scholars and writers

Those who are hoping for a modern narrative will be disappointed. But for listeners who want to understand the Georgian era, this is a valuable little book from the period, which reveals more about social and religious thought than it does about etiquette and fashion. Like many of the "conduct books" written at the time, this book exhorts women to be modest above all and in all things. The author gives guidelines for young women concerning dress, deportment, and many other aspects of life in the upper classes, all with strong messages about social duty, deeply rooted in religion. Be prepared for a writing style that sounds stuffy and pretentious today, but was a model of refinement in its time.

6 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Aaron Elliott
  • 23-04-07

Kept Me at a Distance

I was drawn to this book for its time period. Post Napoleon/Pre Dickens. The one charm of this book is the fact that not only is it dated...but dated with a Jane Austen sensibility. A book on deportment, fashion and nutrition. What to wear, what to say, what to own. The stifling stuffiness kept me from connecting with this book, but I enjoyed the information and the schoolmistress delivery.


4 people found this helpful

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  • TabithaD
  • 24-07-21

A period book of “good” mental development

This is not Emily Post or what we expect from a modern book of etiquette. you won’t find “these are the hours for morning calls.”

Narrator is outstanding and kept me listening even when my interest waned.

From a scholarly viewpoint, it’s an interesting dive Into the mindset of the regency period. The majority of the book describes good mental attitudes towards ones social superiors and inferiors, and the perils of showy behaviour. Much of it grates on modern sensibilities, but if you approach it as a social historian, it’s interesting. The last chapter has some recipes for creams, unguents and remedies. (Now I’m wondering what is the difference between sweet almond oil and oil of bitter almonds.)

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  • hamster
  • 03-02-21

What a History Lesson

This book is what WAS, years ago. So, for someone like me, who studies dress, etiquette, makeup, and such, it was a bullseye!

I did enjoy the narration, it was fast. I do not think it could be read any other way, so I gave it high marks.

I quite enjoyed this for the history and wishing many, many woman continued to care for themselves. I am one of those women who need to shape up!

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  • Emma
  • 09-10-12

For History or Regency Novel Enthusiasts

Would you listen to Regency Etiquette again? Why?

I very much enjoyed this book and would listen to it again. It was interesting to listen to when keeping in mind Jane Austen's novels and the history of the period. I'm fond of history, Jane Austen and etiquette manuals encompassed two of the genres and helped my enjoyment of the third so I was very happy!

What about Nadia May’s performance did you like?

Nadia May read the book exactly as I would imagine a lady of the period reading it. Very prim and proper but still enjoyable to listen to.