The Regency Years
During Which Jane Austen Writes, Napoleon Fights, Byron Makes Love, and Britain Becomes Modern
by Robert Morrison
Pub Date 30 Apr 2019
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A surprising history of the era that brought our modern world decisively into view.
Though the Victorians are often credited with ushering in our modern era, the seeds were planted in the years before. The Regency (1811– 1820) began when the profligate Prince of Wales replaced his insane father, George III, as Britain’s ruler; around the regent surged a society of evangelicalism and hedonism, elegance and brutality, exuberance and despair. The arts showcased extraordinary writers and painters such as Austen, Byron, the Shelleys, Constable, and Turner. Science gave us the steam locomotive and the blueprint for the modern computer.
Yet the dark side of the modern era was visible in the poverty, slavery, pornography, opium, and gothic imaginings that birthed Frankenstein. And all the while, the British Empire fought in foreign lands: the Napoleonic Wars in Europe and the War of 1812 in the United States. Exploring these crosscurrents, Robert Morrison illuminates the profound ways this period shaped and indelibly marked the modern world.
About the Author: Robert Morrison, author of The English Opium-Eater, a finalist for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, is Queen's National Scholar at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.