The Georgians

Penelope J. Corfield


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Yale University Press
14 March 2023
ISBN: 9780300270563
488 pages

From the publisher

What did the Georgians think of themselves, and of their exciting, turbulent, and controversial times?

The Georgian era (1714-1830) was a time of innovations. It saw the end of monarchical absolutism, the world's first industrial revolution, and deep transformations in religious and cultural life. Britain vastly expanded its global exploration and settlements overseas and played an ignoble role in the international trade in enslaved Africans. But how were these major transitions experienced by people at the time? Are their responses surprising-or to be expected?

In this wide-ranging history, Penelope J. Corfield explores every aspect of Georgian life-love and violence, politics and empire, religion and science, industry and towns. People's responses were often divided. Pessimists saw loss and decline, while optimists saw improvements and light. Out of these tensions came the Georgian culture of experiment and resistance. Corfield shows how features of continuity, like the monarchy and titled society, persisted alongside innovations-while both old ways and new developments were challenged whenever the human costs proved too great.