How to Behave Badly in Elizabethan England: A Guide for Knaves, Fools, Harlots, Cuckolds, Drunkards, Liars, Thieves, and Braggarts

Ruth Goodman. Liveright, $28.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-63149-511-3
This entertaining, excellent book from Goodman (How to Be a Tudor) provides a window into the nitty-gritty of daily life for merchants, street sellers, and others listed in the subtitle in 1550–1660 England. Goodman writes conversationally about both pointedly bad behavior—for example clarifying in frank terms the meanings of insults based on body parts and functions—and contrasting attempts to keep up with trendy continental manners. She details the clothing and etiquette trends drifting in from Spain and France and the peculiarities wrought by the English Civil War and its effects on propriety. As in her previous work, Goodman’s scholarship is exemplary, and she sets the record straight on modern misperceptions of 16th- and 17th-century life; despite stereotypes to the contrary, for example, cleanliness and surprisingly precise meal etiquette were standard for most people. Illustrations depict such phenomena as complicated bows and fights between women in which the goal was to uncover each other’s hair—and imply the opponent was of loose moral character. Accessible, fun, and historically accurate, this etiquette guide will yield chuckles, surprises, and a greater understanding of everyday life in Renaissance England. Illus. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/27/2018
Release date: 10/09/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-63149-624-0
Library Binding - 496 pages - 978-1-4328-6257-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-6651-3238-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-6651-3240-4
MP3 CD - 978-1-6651-3239-8
Compact Disc - 978-1-68441-602-8
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