This is just a partial bibliography of some of my favorite sources. If you have particular questions about any of my research, please e-mail me or comment! It’s a subject I never get tired of talking about.
1. Bread or Blood: a study of the agrarian riots in East Anglia in 1816, by A.J. Peacock. This book was an invaluable source on “what happened in ’16” and on the hardships of the English working class in the era. As E.P. Thompson says in his foreword, “Those who are interested in the history of the common people will read this book anyway. Those who sentimentalize Regency England need to read it most of all.” Got me on both counts!
2. English Country Life 1780–1830, by E.W. Bovill, provided me with great information about country life in general and the poaching wars in particular.
3. The Genesis of Modern Management: a Study of the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain, by Sidney Pollard, taught me almost everything I know about the operations and bookkeeping of landed estates and of manufacturers like Edward’s boss and Mr. Brown.
4. An Open Elite?: England 1540–1880, by Lawrence Stone and Jeanne C. Fawtier Stone. This book analyzes the marriage and inheritance patterns of the British upper class, and evaluates the possibility of upward mobility and/or intermarriage with people from a lower socioeconomic background. A fascinating book that, by the way, contains the clearest explanation of how entails work of anything I’ve read.
5. Highways and Byways in East Anglia, by William A. Dutt. Gave me details of the type of countryside that would surround Nev’s estate, the local plants and wildlife, the weather, etc.
6. The Making of the English Working Class, by E.P. Thompson. I got the bulk of my information about Peterloo from this book. Also, some hilarious anecdotes about the early radical movement in England. I think this is my favorite: after a successful meeting, the organizing committee went back to Henry “Orator” Hunt (the featured speaker)’s inn with him. There was “a good deal of revolutionary bluster over dinner, at which none other than Castle [a government provocateur and informer] proposed the toast: ‘May the last of Kings be strangled with the guts of the last priest.’ (Watson and Thistlewood [two actual radicals] waited upon Hunt the next day, and apologised for Castle’s behavior!)” As a side note, Orator Hunt tried to subsidize his political efforts “by selling ‘radical breakfast powder’ (a concoction based on roasted corn which was sold as a substitute for tea or coffee, and which was recommended to Radicals as a means of boycotting taxed articles).” “Radical breakfast powder” is just a great combination of words.
7. Coke of Norfolk and his friends; the life of Thomas William Coke, first earl of Leicester of Holkham, containing an account of his ancestry, surroundings, public services & private friendships & including many unpublished letters from noted men of his day, English & American, by A. M. W. Stirling. An early biography which gave me wonderful information about the agricultural advances made in East Anglia during this time period, as well as some great gossip about Coke and his acquaintances. One of his neighbors, Mrs. Bodham, “always, to the last day of her life, railed against him on account of his ‘Whiggish sheep,’ by the introduction of which into the county, she said, he had completely ruined the flavor of Norfolk mutton.”
8. Farmer Boy, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I know very little about farming, okay? Because it’s for kids, this book didn’t assume any prior knowledge on my part. It gave me a solid idea of the basics of a farmer’s year, how you harvest wheat, and the disadvantages of threshing machines.
9. History of the Justices of the Peace, by Sir Thomas Skyrme, and English Criminal Justice in the Nineteenth Century, by David Bentley. My sources for the details of how the Game Laws would be enforced and what powers, exactly, Sir Jasper would have as a magistrate.
10. Leigh Hunt and Opera Criticism, by Theodore Fenner. I learned about Regency musical theater from this book. I also, unexpectedly, learned a lot about class attitudes. Leigh Hunt used the word “vulgar” a lot.
11. “Man-Traps and Spring-Guns,” by Miller Christy. An article that describes in detail the different types of traps and spring-guns that were used to catch poachers. There are photographs too. Amazing stuff.
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