A comprehensive history of the Georgians, comparing past views of these exciting, turbulent, and controversial times with our attitudes today
The Georgian era is often seen as a time of innovations. It saw the end of monarchical absolutism, global exploration and settlements overseas, the world’s first industrial revolution, deep transformations in religious and cultural life, and Britain’s role in the international trade in enslaved Africans. But how were these changes perceived by people at the time? And how do their viewpoints compare with attitudes today?
In this wide-ranging history, Penelope J. Corfield explores every aspect of Georgian life—politics and empire, culture and society, love and violence, religion and science, industry and towns. People’s responses at the time were often divided. Pessimists saw loss and decline, while optimists saw improvements and light. Out of such tensions came the Georgian culture of both experiment and resistance. Corfield emphasizes those elements of deep continuity that persisted even within major changes, and shows how new developments were challenged if their human consequences proved dire.
Penelope J. Corfield is professor of history at Royal Holloway, London University; president of the International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies; and an optimist. Her books include Time and the Shape of History and Power and the Professions in Britain 1700–1850.
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