The World of Jane Austen ~ Social Life & Customs

Includes:  General Sources; Cookery; Dance; Etiquette; Fashion; Letter-writing; Music; Theatre; etc. [and not complete by any means]
  1. Day, Malcolm.  Voices from the World of Jane Austen.  David & Charles, 2006.
  2.  Erickson, Carolly.  Our Tempestuous Day: A History of Regency England.  NY:  William Morrow, 1986. 
  3. Girouard, Mark.  Life in the English Country House:  A Social and Architectural History.  New Haven:  Yale University Press, 1978.
  4. Hughes, Kristine. Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England, from 1811-1901.  Cincinnati, OH:  Writer’s Digest Books, 1998.
  5. Kloester, Jennifer.  Georgette Heyer’s Regency World.  London:  William Heinemann, 2005.
  6. Laudermilk, Sharon and Teresa L. Hamlin.  The Regency Companion.  NY:  Garland, 1989.
  7. Murray, Venetia. An Elegant Madness: High Society in Regency England.  Viking, 1999.
  8. Olsen, Kristin. All Things Austen.  Greenwood Press, 2005.  [a must-have two-volume compendium of “all things Austen”  focusing on her regency times; a one-volume  abridged version in paperback is also available].
  9. Pool, Daniel.  What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: from fox-hunting to whist – the facts of daily life in Nineteenth-century England.  NY:  Simon & Schuster, 1993.
  10. Porter, Roy.  English Society in the Eighteenth Century [Penguin Social History of Britain].  Rev. ed.  Penguin, 1990.
  11. Sinclair, Olga.  Gretna Green:  a romantic history.  London:  Unwin  Hyman, 1989
  12. Vickery, Amanda.  Behind Closed Doors:  At Home in Georgian England.  New Haven, CT:  Yale University Press, 2009.
  13. Vickery, Amanda.  The Gentleman’s Daughter: Women’s Lives in Georgian England.  New Haven, CT:  Yale University Press, 1998.
  14. Walkley, Christina.  Welcome Sweet Babe:  a book of Christenings.  London:  Peter Owen,  1987.  [Includes a bibliography, an appendix on how to make a Victorian christening robe, and recipes.]


  1. Beeton, Isabella.  The Book of Household Management. 1861. [at; also ebooks edition at Adelaide]
  2. Black, Maggie and Deirdre Le Faye.  The Jane Austen Cookbook.  London:  British Museum Press, 1995.
  3. Bradley, Richard.  The Country Housewife and Lady’s Director.  London, 1728.
  4. Lane, Maggie.  Jane Austen and Food.  London:  Hambledon, 1995.
  5. Olsen, Kirsten.  Cooking with Jane Austen.  Westport, CT:  Greenwood, 2005.
  6. Smith, Eliza.  The Compleat Housewife.  London, 1727 ;  available in a new edition introduced by Elizabeth Kowalski Wallace (2009) at Chawton House Library
  7. Wilson, Kim.  Tea with Jane Austen.  Madison, WI:  Jones Books, 2004.





DANCE   [see also ” Music ” below] 

  1. Franks, Arthur Henry.  Social Dance:  A Short History.  London: Routledge, 1963.
  2. Lee-Riffe, Nancy M.  “The Role of Country Dance in te Fiction of Jane Austen”, Women’s Writing, 5:1 [1998], pp. 103-12.
  3. Richardson, Philip J.S.  The Social Dances of the Nineteenth Century in England.  London: Herbert Jenkins,  1960.
  4. Wilson, Thomas.  A Companion to the Ball Room.  London, 1816.
  5.  Wilson, Thomas, dancing master. An analysis of country dancing: wherein are displayed all the figures ever used in country dances, in a way so easy and familiar, that persons of the meanest capacity may in a short time acquire (without the aid of a master) a complete knowledge of that rational and polite amusement. To which are added, instructions for dancing some entire new reels; together with the rules, regulations, and complete etiquette of the ball room. By T. Wilson … Embellished and illustrated with engravings on wood, by J. Berryman. London, Printed by W. Calvert, to be had to Mr. Dutton [etc.] 1808.


  1. Gisborne, Thomas.  An Enquiry into the Duties of the Female Sex.  7th ed.  London, 1806. [Google Books]
  2. The Mirror of the Graces, or the English Lady’s Costume.  1830 [Google Books] – with “hints on female accomplishments and manners”
  3.  The Polite Academy: or, School of Behavior for Young Gentlemen and Ladies. Intended as a Foundation for Good Manner and Polite Address.  London, 1768.
  4. Ross, Josephine; illus by Henrietta Webb.  Jane Austen’s Guide to Good Manners:  Compliments, Charades & Horrible Blunders.  NY:  Bloomsbury, 2006.


  1. Byrde, Penelope.  Jane Austen Fashion:  Fashion and Needlework in the Works of Jane Austen. Ludlow:  Excellent Press, 1999; reprinted by Moonrise Press in 2008.  [originally published in 1979 by the Bath City Council as “A Frivolous Distinction: Fashion and Needlework in the Works of Jane Austen”] 
  2. Dowling, Sarah Jane.  Fashion in the Time of Jane Austen.  Oxford:  Shire, 2010.  


Wallace, Robert K.  Jane Austen and Mozart: Classical Equilibrium in Fiction and Music. 1983.


  • AFTERNOON TEA SERENADE.  San Francisco Silverwood Ensemble.  Sharon O’Connor’s Menus and Music, Vol. XII (Menus and Music, 1997)  A wonderful compilation of works by Bach, Faure, Mozart, Anonymous (obviously a woman!), Miyagi, Debussy, Saint-Saens, Lully, Satie, and Salzedo…all perfect background for your next Jane Austen Tea!  (and the recipe book is totally delicious!)
  • THE JANE AUSTEN COMPANION (Nimbus Records, 1996)  Includes 15 tracks by Mendelssohn, Haydn, Fasch, Bach, Boyce, Mehul, and Schubert, and an article by David A. Threasher on Jane Austen and the music of her time.
  • JANE AUSTEN’S SONGBOOK (Albany Records) – marketed as ‘Jane Austen’s favourite vocal music, collected and copied out in her own hand’
  • JANE AUSTEN SONGS; performed by Patricia Wright (soprano) and John Gillaspie (fortepiano) (Pearl)
  • PIANO CLASSICS FROM THE WORLD OF JANE AUSTEN; performed by Karlyn Bond (Wildman Music Group, 1996)  Includes works by Haydn, Field, Cramer, Mozart, Clementi, Johann Schobert, and Beethoven, with an essay by Bond and a selected bibliography about Austen and music.
  • THE PRIDE AND PREJUDICE COLLECTION: A SELECTION OF DANCES POPULAR IN THE 18TH & 19TH CENTURIES.  Music by the Pemberley Players (Fain Music, 1997)  “To be fond of dancing is a certain step towards falling in love” (JA)


Music From Films

  • EMMA: MUSIC FROM THE MIRAMAX MOTION PICTURE; music by Rachel Portman (Hollywood Records)
  • PRIDE AND PREJUDICE:  ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK FROM THE BBC TELEVISION SERIAL.  Music composed and conducted by Carl Davis, Melvyn Tan (fortepiano).  (BBC Audio, 1995).  Hearing the music brings to mind every scene from the movie, and thus, not a bad way to spend 54 minutes, 46 seconds…but you will of  course then need to sit and watch the 6-hour movie all over again!
  • PRIDE AND PREJUDICE: MUSIC FROM THE MOTION PICTURE; music by Dario Marianello; performed by Jean-Yves Thibaudet (Decca)



  1. Byrne, Paula.  Jane Austen and the Theatre.  London:  Hambledon, 2002.
  2. Gay, Penny.  Jane Austen and the Theatre.  Cambridge University Press, 2002.

[not too confusing!]

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