A secret submarine plot, death in the Royal family, and a method to signal extra-terrestrials are events of a year marked by political unrest and economic depression.
After the Napoleonic Wars the economy was still down, and important reforms had been delayed over the wars. The fear of Napoleon’s influence was still tangible, with rumours about his possible escape from St. Helena becoming stronger by the end of the year. Additionally, the monarchy was in a crisis, shaken by death and scandal.
Which political, scientific, social, and literary events and anniversaries are of interest to Regency Enthusiasts in 2020? Have a look at my list of 20 events of 1820 here: Continue reading →
If you were a time traveller in 1820 longing for a good read, what would be your options?
Check out the list of popular fiction releases, and the latest findings from science, travel, and philosophy on the non-fiction book shelf!
I have added links to online versions of each book, so you can actually read like its 1820:
The year 2020 brings anniversaries of iconic persons of the Regency period. We will, e.g., remember the 200th anniversary of the death of the scientist Jospeh Banks and the 250th anniversary of the birth of the poet William Wordsworth. Accordingly, publishers will regale us with new biographies. But there is more to look forward to in 2020. Have a look at the non-fictions books about the Georgian Age already scheduled for 2020:
Will there be rain, sun or snow within the next days? Should I plant my crops – or rather delay a journey? Predicting the weather was an art by itself in the 18th century. A scientific approach to weather forecasting started in earnest from the early 18th century, but progress was slow. So how did people like Jane Austen forecast the weather?
Brandy, tea, salt – these products are famed-famous as objects of smuggling in the 18th century. Did you know that Scottish whisky was an object of the illegal trade, especially between 1780 – 1823? Whisky was called ‘moonshine’ then, as it was illicitly produced at night in small cottages in the Highlands, and secretly transported by smugglers to harbours for further distribution.
Georg Forster was a central figure of the Enlightenment in Germany. He travelled with Captain James Cook on the second voyage (1772-1775), and was a member of the Royal Society. He also became known as the founder of modern travel writing. In 1790, the famous scientist chose England as his destination. Young Alexander von Humboldtaccompanied him, at that time a budding scientific talent. Forster turned the impression of the trip into a book titled “Views of the Lower Rhine, from Brabant, Flanders, Holland, England, and France in April, May and June 1790”. It was published from 1791–94.
Here are some observations on Georgian England meant to amuse readers on the Continent:
Alexander von Humboldt (1769 – 1859) was the celebrated explorer of his generation. It is little known that he started his scientific career with a trip to England in 1790. He was 20 years old, and travelled with the famous Georg Forster, author of “A Voyage Round the World”, member of the Royal Society and of Captain James Cook’s crew on the second voyage (1772-1775). The experienced explorer and the young men had met in 1789 in Mainz / Germany. Alexander was fascinated by the lively and powerful Forster, his impressive career and exiting plans. He dedicated his first scientific thesis about mineralogical observations on basalts to Forster. It is no surprise that Alexander was delighted when Forster, recognizing the budding talent, asked the young man to join him on his next trip in 1790. Destination: England. Find out how the journey to England influenced the life of Alexander von Humboldt.
Around the turn of the 19th century, Joseph Mallord William Turner was a young, restless painter, always on the lookout for inspiration for his art. After having toured many parts of Britain, he planned to visit the Continent. He was especially interested in the awe-inspiring, romantic Swiss Alps – considered by many a rocky, dangerous wasteland. Thus, aged about 27, and still being an unknown artist, he decided to follow his plans through. Let’s accompany him on his first ever trip abroad.
Hand-held fans, previously reserved for royalty and aristocrats, become a
must-have accessory for every lady in high society at the end of the 17th
century. The trend to carry a fan spreads rapidly through society.
With this, the decoration of the fan leave becomes light-hearted: The
religious and classical motifs give way to pastoral scenes, al fresco
parties, and themes of love-and-courtship. Interestingly, fashion itself
also features on the fashionable accessories, serving as a fashion
plate and fashion statement.
Captain Corbet James D’Auvergne could lay claim to knowing Jane Austen. The authoress mentions him in two letters to her sister Cassandra. Read more about Captain D’Auvergne connection to Jane Austen, and his achievements as Acting Governor of a tiny island in the North Sea called Heligoland.
After a ball at the Dolphin Hotel in Southampton in December 1808, Jane Austen – proficient as ever in summing up a gentleman’s potential as a spouse – noted that Corbet James D’Auvergne was both a captain in the Royal Navy and a ship owner. The remark might have been a joke about husband-hunting, but the Captain was indeed a good catch for a lady looking for hero-material in her husband. Besides, he was still single. Any lady furthering her acquaintance with him should know, however, that he had his hands in large-scale smuggling. Continue reading →