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The Short Life and Long Times of Mrs Beeton By Kathryn Hughes

The Short Life and Long Times of Mrs Beeton

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We each of us strive for domestic bliss, and we may look to Delia and Nigella to give us tips on achieving the unattainable. Kathryn Hughes, acclaimed for her biography of George Eliot, has pulled back the curtains to look at the creator of the ultimate book on keeping house.

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The Short Life and Long Times of Mrs Beeton Summary


The Short Life and Long Times of Mrs Beeton by Kathryn Hughes

We each of us strive for domestic bliss, and we may look to Delia and Nigella to give us tips on achieving the unattainable. Kathryn Hughes, acclaimed for her biography of George Eliot, has pulled back the curtains to look at the creator of the ultimate book on keeping house.

In Victorian England what did every middle-class housewife need to create the perfect home? `The Book of Household Management'. `Oh, but of course!' Mrs Beeton would no doubt declare with brisk authority. But Mrs Beeton is not quite the matronly figure that has kept her name resonating 150 years after the publication of `The Book of Household Management'.

The famous pages of carefully costed recipes, warnings about not gossiping to visitors, and making sure you always keep your hat on in someone else's house were indispensable in the moulding of the Victorian domestic bliss. But there are many myths surrounding the legend of Mrs Beeton. It is very possible that her book was given so much social standing through fear as she was believed to be a bit of an old dragon.

It seems though that Mrs Beeton was a series of contradictions. Kathryn Hughes reveals here that Bella Beeton was a million miles away from the stoical, middle-aged matron. She was in fact only 25 years old when she created the guide to successful family living and had only had five years experience of her own to inform her. She lived in a semi-detached house in Pinner with the bare minimum of servants. She bordered on being a workaholic, and certainly wasn't the meek and mild little wife that her book was aimed at - more a highly intelligent and ambitious young woman. After preaching about wholesome and clean living, Bella Beeton died at the age of 28 from (contrary to her parent's belief) bad hygiene. Kathryn Hughes sympathetically explores the irony behind Bella Beeton's public and private image in this highly readable and informative study of Victorian lifestyle.

Customer Reviews - The Short Life and Long Times of Mrs Beeton


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The Short Life and Long Times of Mrs Beeton Reviews


'This is a wonderful book, so masterful and scholarly and wise, there will never need to be another. Hughes is an elegant writer, and a capable digger; no stone, however small or inaccessible, is left unturned.' Rachel Cooke, Observer

'This is a brilliant biography, which tells the absorbing, strange and sad story with great aplomb. Kathryn Hughes has seen quite rightly, that one of the most important parts of the story is what happened after Isabella's death and, indeed, Sam's, and the life of Mrs Beeton is continued to the present day. It is so magical a feat of imagination, of intricate learning lightly worn, that you know that Kathryn Hughes would write a wonderful novel. But this splendid book is as good as any.' Spectator

About Kathryn Hughes


Kathryn Hughes is the author of `The Victorian Governess' and the hugely acclaimed `George Eliot: The Last Victorian'. Educated at Oxford University, she holds a PhD in Victorian studies. She is a visiting lecturer at several British universities and reviews regularly for the Daily Telegraph and the Literary Review.

Additional information

GOR001229438
The Short Life and Long Times of Mrs Beeton by Kathryn Hughes
Kathryn Hughes
Used - Very Good
Paperback
HarperCollins Publishers
2006-07-03
512
1841153745
9781841153742
N/A
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us.