“The interest is in politeness, not pretension.”
Well-researched and written overview of the standards and changes in etiquette in nineteenth century England. Exhaustive survey not only of etiquette itself but what it tells us about social change and the people of that century.
“Behaving with perfect propriety and civility required no small amount of effort.”
Fortunately, brief as readers will quickly tire of detailed recitations of which authority declaimed which standard and how they might disagree.
“The paying of calls and the leaving of cards can be viewed as a ritual which kept social interaction turning.”
Why would a twenty-first century American read such a book? To ground on in the mores of a society about which mountains of literature and popular media still appear. From Jane Austin to Charles Dickens to Arthur Conan Doyle, appreciating authors of that century expands as one understands the milieu in which their fiction was set.
“When it comes to the behavior of ladies and gentlemen in the nineteenth century, we have to take into account that people were simply people.”