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Posts Tagged ‘From the Ballroom to Hell’

My recent Alibris purchases include the following:

Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking by Kate Culquhoun. This book is a social history of Britain told through the developments of its cooking. It encompasses royal feasts and street food, the skinning of eels, and the making of strawberry jelly. More interestingly,  it mixes the tales of culinary stars with ordinary cooks. The book is filled with tidbits like this:

Soon boilers like the one at Bretton Hall in Yorkshire were being installed at the backs of ranges to supply ready hot water and steam for cooking. Then Joseph Langmead patented a design from which all future closed ranges would develop, using flues to spread a more even though still inefficient heat to the side oven. p235

Hubbub: Filth, Noise & Stench in England, 1660-1770 by Emily Cockayne addresses the noisy, messy, and smelly metropolis that was London in the 18th Century. Using a vast array of sources, from novels to records of urban administration to diaries, Emily Cockayne populates her book with anecdotes from the quirky lives of the famous and the obscure.

Street lamps were high maintenance. The lighters needed to carry ladders and other apparatus. Contractors topped up the reservoirs with oil, trimmed wicks and lit the lamps at specified hours. p 224

From the Ballroom to Hell: Grace and Folly in Nineteenth-Century Dance, by Elizabeth Aldrich. “Dancing and etiquette are inseparable,” wrote one 19th-century dancing master quoted in this scholarly glimpse into ballrooms past. Newly moneyed Americans of that era craved guidance on how to comport themselves, and publishers responded with scores of manuals on etiquette, fashion and dance instruction. As dance historian Aldrich demonstrates through more than 100 excerpts from these guides, balls and dance offer a key to understanding the social aspirations of the period.

Nineteenth-century men and women were preoccupied with learning the proper way of conducting themselves not only in the ballroom but in all social interactions. But it was precisely in the ballroom that ladies and gentlemen best demonstrated their mastery of the rules of etiquette and social intercourse. p xvii

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