Bibliography of some of my favorite research resources , Part Two: the 18th and 19th centuries


As with the others, all these books focus on details of everyday life: customs, food, clothes, medicine, furnishings, oddities, etc. rather than on the great historical events of the day. They are a treasure house of information, but I especially recommend the starred books.


**Daily Life in Johnson’s London, by Richard B. Schwarz

**The Waiting City, Paris 1782-1788, by Louis-Sebastien Mercier, translated and edited by Helen Simpson from Mercier’s Le Tableau de Paris (A primary source. The way he describes things is as entertaining as it is enlightening. I imagine it is even better in the original French.)

Woman’s Life in Colonial Days, by Carl Holliday

**Germany in the Eighteenth Century, by W. H. Bruford

**Daily Life in Papal Rome in the Eighteenth Century, by Maurice Andrieux, translated by Mary Fitton

*Journeys of a German in England 1782, by Carl Philip Moritz, translated and edited by Reginald Nettel (Another primary source often referenced.)

A Journey from London to Genoa, by Joseph Barretti (Another primary source. Barretti was an Italian who lived many years in England. He was acquainted with Johnson, Garrick, Hester Thrale, and many other prominent people of the day, and led such an interesting life himself, if you can find a biography it would probably be well worth reading.)

**Daily Life in Venice at the Time of Casanova, by Maurice Andrieux, translated by Mary Fitton

*Pleasure and Privilege, Life in France, Naples, and America 1770-1790, by Olivier Bernier

Daily Life at Versailles, by Jacque Levron

*English Society in the Eighteenth Century, by Roy Porter

Social Life in the Reign of Queen Anne, by John Ashton

**European Society in the Eighteenth Century, by Robert and Elborg Forster

French Society in the Eighteenth Century, by Louis Ducros, translated by W. de Geijer

**The Pageant of Georgian England, by Elizabeth Burton (also published as The Georgians at Home)

Daily Life in the French Revolution by Jean Robiquet (This was a book I found at the library, although I was later able to get it as a free e-book online, though I don’t remember where — maybe Project Gutenberg?)

A History of Everyday Things in England 1733-1851, written and illustrated by Marjorie and C. H. B. Quenell

London Life in the Eighteenth Century, by Dorothy George

A Hotbed of Genius: The Scottish Enlightenment 1730-1790, edited by David Daiches, Peter Jones, and Jean Jones

Books that aren’t about the 18th century specifically, but which have good long sections full of fascinating information about that period:

Magic, Medicine, and Quackery, by Eric Maple

Travel in England, by Thomas Burke

Venice, the Lion and the Peacock, by Laurence Scarfe

The Shows of London, by Richard D. Altick


All of these books are, I believe, readily available through online bookstores, and some of them as free ebooks from Gutenberg, etc.

*1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, by Francis Grose (The title page speaks for itself: “A Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit and Pickpocket Eloquence.”)

Jane Austen’s England, by Roy and Lesley Adkins

Fashions in the Era of Jane Austen, by Jody Gayle

Georgette Heyer’s Regency World, by Jennifer Kloester

Jane Austen and Food, by Maggie Lane

*The Pageant of Early Victorian England, by Elizabeth Burton (also published as The Early Victorians at Home)

**Sketches by Boz, by Charles Dickens

**Pictures from Italy, by Charles Dickens (Somewhat deceptively named, since the book describes his travels through France on the way to Italy, as well as a more lengthy section about the time he spent in Italy, with vivid glimpses of the lives of the people in every place he visited. Wonderful reading.)

*American Yesterday, by Eric Sloane (This book and the one following focus on rural and small town life in America during the 19th century, and are largely involved with describing the lives and occupations of craftsmen and farmers — how things were made and how they worked. Copiously illustrated with line drawings of tools, architecture, furniture, carriages, mills, etc.)

The Seasons of America Past, by Eric Sloane

And here is one that might also be of interest though it’s a little later (1903):

Daily Life in Russia Under the Last Tsar, by Henri Troyat


Note: All these “Daily Life” books I’ve recommended in this post and the previous list are part of a series originally published in French, covering periods from the early Christian era into the 20th century. Unfortunately, not all of them have been translated into English — frustrating for me, since I don’t read French. Some of them have been reprinted several times by different publishers. There is a newer series by Greenwood Press, not to be confused with this one. I didn’t find it as helpful, and so don’t recommend it. However, it does have a lot of information.

Leave a Reply

Copyright © Teresa Edgerton | Site design by Garcom Media and SJS Web Design | Artwork by AS Behsam