Aug 212012

Today, Cheryl Bolen shares with us her review of a compendium of information on British culture which covers the late eighteenth century through the mid-nineteenth century, including the Regency.

Encyclopedia of Romanticism:   Culture in Britain, 1780s-1850s
Edited by Laura Dabundo
Garland Publishing Company
New York and London, 1992
640 pages

Have you ever wished there was an encyclopedia where you could look up people and facts of the Regency era? Well, your wish has been granted.

Encyclopedia of Romanticism packs over 600 oversized pages with information on all the notables, literature, and politics of the period defined as romanticism by literary historians, from 1780 to 1850.

There are interesting entries on every literary figure of the day, including Mrs. Radcliffe, who wrote gothic romance novels.

Want to know about the Corn Laws? Or Peterloo? Social and political issues of the day are also listed here in encyclopedia form, complete with bibliography.

Social reformers like Jeremy Bentham and Mary Wollstonecraft merit mention in this meaty gem of a reference book.

What about newspapers and periodicals of the day? They’re all here in this one-volume encyclopedia.

You won’t find much on leaders of the ton, other than on Caroline Lamb, who made her own contribution to letters of the day. But anything that affected the thought of the era, from art to drama to radicalism, is explained in these pages.

The Beau Monde’s own Jo Ann Ferguson contributed three pieces: on Bentham, criminality, and on Unitarian minister Richard Price. Marilyn Clay, publisher of the Regency Plume, penned entries on England’s canal engineer Thomas Telford and on fan painter James Stewart.

I can’t recommend this encyclopedia highly enough as a general reference to the era.

© 2008 – 2012 Cheryl Bolen
This article was first published in The Quizzing Glass, October 2005.
Posted at The Beau Monde by permission of the author.

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