Cover image for How to behave badly in Elizabethan England : a guide for knaves, fools, harlots, cuckolds, drunkards, liars, thieves, and braggarts / Ruth Goodman.
Title:
How to behave badly in Elizabethan England : a guide for knaves, fools, harlots, cuckolds, drunkards, liars, thieves, and braggarts / Ruth Goodman.
ISBN:
9781631495113
Edition:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Liveright Publishing Corporation, A Division of W. W. Norton & Company, 2018.
Physical Description:
314 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
General Note:
"First published in Great Britain under the title HOW TO BEHAVE BADLY IN RENAISSANCE BRITAIN."
Contents:
Offensive speech -- Insolent, rude and threatening gestures -- Mockery -- Outright violence -- Disgusting habits -- Repulsive bodies -- The complete scoundrel.
Abstract:
Draws on advice manuals, court cases, and sermons to illustrate the social mores of the Elizabethan Era.

Offensive language, insolent behavior, slights, brawls, and scandals-- Elizabethan England was particularly rank with troublemakers. Goodman draws on advice manuals, court cases, and sermons to offer this colorfully crude portrait of offenses most foul. Readers will delight in learning how to time your impressions for the biggest laugh, why quoting Shakespeare was poor form, and why curses hurled at women were almost always about sex (and why we shouldn't be surprised). A celebration of one of history's naughtiest periods, when derision was an art form. -- adapted from jacket
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Summary

Summary

Every age and social strata has its bad eggs, rule-breakers, and nose-thumbers. As acclaimed popular historian and author of How to Be a Victorian Ruth Goodman shows in her madcap chronicle, Elizabethan England was particularly rank with troublemakers, from snooty needlers who took aim with a cutting "thee," to lowbrow drunkards with revolting table manners. Goodman draws on advice manuals, court cases, and sermons to offer this colorfully crude portrait of offenses most foul. Mischievous readers will delight in learning how to time your impressions for the biggest laugh, why quoting Shakespeare was poor form, and why curses hurled at women were almost always about sex (and why we shouldn't be surprised). Bringing her signature "exhilarating and contagious" enthusiasm (Boston Globe), this is a celebration of one of history's naughtiest periods, when derision was an art form.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) c Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

In previous books, Goodman (How To Be a Victorian; How To Be a Tudor) re-created Victorian and Tudor life as an immersive experience. Here, the author focuses her attention on the nonconforming members of the Elizabethan era. Arguing that one can discern more about a society from what was singled out as unacceptable, Goodman shows how many of the insults and conflicts of the time centered on reputation and honor, as a good name was currency in Elizabethan society. Covering issues such as physical violence, offensive speech, and impolite gestures, this latest work addresses the ways in which one could be set apart from society, either intentionally or unintentionally. While some sections can be a bit overly detailed, the work as a whole stands as an enlightening and entertaining read that defines the class structures of the period and the pitfalls to be avoided. VERDICT Similar to Daniel Pool's What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew, this work demonstrates Goodman's mastery of etiquette in 19th-century England. An informative social history for most readers.-Stacy Shaw, Denver © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
Chapter 1 Offensive Speechp. 9
Chapter 2 Insolent, Rude and Threatening Gesturesp. 61
Chapter 3 Mockeryp. 106
Chapter 4 Outright Violencep. 147
Chapter 5 Disgusting Habitsp. 201
Chapter 6 Repulsive Bodiesp. 238
Conclusion: The Complete Scoundrelp. 281
Bibliographyp. 295
Acknowledgementsp. 300
List of Illustrationsp. 302
Indexp. 307