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The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England (2012)

by Ian Mortimer

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Time Traveller's Guide (2)

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9142620,371 (3.9)27
" ... this popular history explores daily life in Queen Elizabeth's England, taking us inside the homes and minds of ordinary citizens as well as luminaries of the period, including Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Sir Francis Drake. Organized as a travel guide for the time-hopping tourist, Mortimer relates in delightful (and occasionally disturbing) detail everything from the sounds and smells of sixteenth-century England to the complex and contradictory Elizabethan attitudes toward violence, class, sex, and religion. Original enough to interest those with previous knowledge of Elizabethan England and accessible enough to entertain those without, The Time Traveler's Guide is a book for Elizabethan enthusiasts and history buffs alike."--… (more)
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» See also 27 mentions

English (25)  Swedish (1)  All languages (26)
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
This non-fiction work, much like it’s medieval counterpart, was super-informative and a great look back at the late 1500’s during Elizabeth I’s rule in England. There are so many details of life back then that were absolutely fascinating to read about. I loved the details the author presented on the people, religion, what a typical town looked like, what sort of social rules you should expect to follow for the times, what period dress was like, etc. Everything was so incredibly well-researched and a truly fascinating read.

Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.
( )
  KatKinney | Mar 3, 2022 |
It's been 11 years since I read and enjoyed The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer. At the time I found it illuminating, fascinating, shocking and at times even funny, and I'm surprised it's taken me so long to pick up another in the series.

That's the way of readers though isn't it? There's so many back catalogue books to catch up on, that before you know it, a decade has passed before you pick up another one.

Nevertheless, The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England by Ian Mortimer was another five star reading experience and met all my hopes and expectations. It took me two months to get through the 18 hour audiobook, but the narration was terrific and it's easy to listen to non fiction like this in short bursts.

Once again, the author takes the reader's hand and shows them around Elizabethan England, pointing out the different places to stay, what you might earn, what to wear, and what to eat.

I loved the general etiquette rules from Chapter 19. Mortimer draws on several references, but the following rules were from The Boke of Nurture, or Schoole of Good Maners; For Men, Servants, and Children by Hugh Rhodes published in 1577.

On manners and politeness:
Don't tell secrets to strangers
Don't correct the faults in others that you commit yourself
Rebuke men only when alone with them
Don't boast
Don't laugh at your own jokes

At table:
Don't belch in another man's face
Keep your knife bright
Don't spit across the table
Don't blow crumbs or spit on the floor near you
Don't throw bones under the table

I just loved these! It's fascinating to learn that in 450 years, some things have changed while others are timeless. The combination of content and the narrator Mike Grady's delivery of the rules was very entertaining, and I just stepped away from this review to listen to them all again for sheer pleasure. I'll leave you with one more quote:

"It is customary to take your hat off when someone urinates or defecates in your company." Chapter 19

According to the author, 'noisome smells and noxious fumes are common in Elizabethan England' and the section on sanitation in Chapter 34 was engrossing (pun intended) and amusing.

The introduction of tobacco, smoking and pipes was mentioned, and this observation from the time made me laugh:

"Smoking makes your breath stink like the piss of a fox." Chapter 40

Finishing The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England means I'm now halfway through this non fiction series, and still have the following books to look forward to:
The Time Traveller's Guide to Restoration Britain
The Time Traveller's Guide to Regency Britain

These two eras don't interest me as much as Elizabethan England and Medieval England did, but I'm sure they'll be informative and entertaining reads just the same. I've just added them to my TBR, but how long will it be until I get to one of them? ( )
  Carpe_Librum | Feb 24, 2022 |
Interesting book. Learned a lot about the daily life of the people during that time period. ( )
  Nefersw | Jan 14, 2022 |
Really great overview of the Elizabethan era, but I often found myself wanting more information. It seemed like there was some assumption of familiarity with some of the places and people and objects, and that is a familiarity I do not possess. Perhaps because I'm American? I'm not sure.

Not to say there isn't a great deal of information, there is. And there are a lot more primary sources than I expected. My favorite were the protestations of the Puritan leader. His angry diatribes accurately describe a lot of the good parts of Elizabethan England. It seems it was a very cruel time to live though. Hate and suspicion were built into the culture. Being a woman and a Catholic, I wouldn't have made it very long, I'm sure. But it is still fascinating. ( )
  JessicaReadsThings | Dec 2, 2021 |
I did some skimming but very much enjoyed the approach. Plenty of good info. The writer has a strong sympathy for the Elizabethans. Although not for their enjoyment of bloodsports, thank goodness.
This place and time is so close and yet so far. ( )
  Je9 | Aug 10, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ian Mortimerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Grady, MikeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
But when memory embraces the night
I see those days, long since gone,
like the ancient light of extinguished stars
traveling still, and shining on.

from "Ghosts," Acumen 24 (1996), p. 17
Dedication
This book is dedicated to my daughter,
Elizabeth Rose Mortimer
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Introduction
It is a normal morning in London, on Friday 16 July 1591. In the wide street known as Cheapside the people are about their business, going between the timber-covered market stalls. Traders are calling out, hoping to attract the attention of merchants' wives.
I
The Landscape
Different societies see landscapes differently. You may look at Elizabethan England and see a predominantly green land, characterised by large open fields and woodlands, but an Elizabethan yeoman will describe his homeland to you in terms of cities, towns, ports, great houses, bridges and roads. In your eyes it may be a sparsely populated land–the average density being less than sixty people per square mile in 1561 (compared to well over a thousand today)–but a contemporary description will mention overcrowding and the problems of population expansion.¹ Describing a landscape is thus a matter of perspective: your priorities affect what you see.
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" ... this popular history explores daily life in Queen Elizabeth's England, taking us inside the homes and minds of ordinary citizens as well as luminaries of the period, including Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Sir Francis Drake. Organized as a travel guide for the time-hopping tourist, Mortimer relates in delightful (and occasionally disturbing) detail everything from the sounds and smells of sixteenth-century England to the complex and contradictory Elizabethan attitudes toward violence, class, sex, and religion. Original enough to interest those with previous knowledge of Elizabethan England and accessible enough to entertain those without, The Time Traveler's Guide is a book for Elizabethan enthusiasts and history buffs alike."--

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