AN ELEGANT MADNESS

HIGH SOCIETY IN REGENCY ENGLAND

Glittering and gossipy, an extravagant panorama of the “Age of Scandal”. Describing a period where manners were all, morals nothing, and money useful but not essential, novelist and social historian Murray (Castle Howard: The Life and Times of a Stately Home, not reviewed) lightly surveys the English aristocracy’s and beau monde’s best time since the Restoration. The habits and hobbies, fancies and finances of Regency bucks and beaux, debs and “demi-reps” (i.e., courtesans) may be fodder for bodice-buster novels, but the facts are no less sensational, at least at the top of society’s upper crust. The Prince Regent, the future George IV, arguably had more taste (both good and bad) than any other monarch and set the tone for the bon ton with reckless spending, architectural extravagance, sartorial ostentation, an irregular love life, and gluttonous appetite’subjects addressed here in titillating detail. In Nurray’s account, these characteristics of his count for more than, say, his ties with radical politics or his succession scheming during the Regency Crisis. Likewise, among his friends, Beau Brummel, the era’s best-dressed gentleman, counts for more in these pages than Charles James Foy, the brilliant but dissolute opposition politician, and in the historical calendar of events, the Grand Jubilee of 1814 gets more space than the “Peterloo” massacre during food riots in 1816. With a top-heavy but otherwise wide-ranging array of observers and informants, Murray’s sources include the mandatory Lord Byron and Lady Caroline Lamb as well as Captain Charles Gronow and the busybody Princess Lieven of Austria, plus the archives at Windsor and Chatsworth. Murray ends in cautioning her reader that the Regency Era was not merely “a glamorous chimera,” but like any good gossip, her book cannot help gravitating to the era’s diverting aspects. A social history—with the emphasis heavily on the social—both frivolously entertaining and assiduously researched. (16 pages b&w illustrations, not seen)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-670-88328-X

Page Count: 317

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1999

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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