A Courtly History: Romance in the 19th Century

Audiobook Details


Stephanie Insley Hershinow, The Great Courses

Narrated By:

Stephanie Insley Hershinow


2 hrs and 46 mins

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File Size:

228.86 MB

Audiobook Summary

The rituals and pageantry of courtship in the 19th century can seem foreign to us today. Some of us may look back and see a more romantic age, while others will see a minefield of strict rules and stuffy protocol. Either way you look at it, it was worlds away from what dating is in the 21st century.

From coming-out parties and neighborhood balls to the rules of letter writing and marriage proposals, there were a lot of etiquette rules to observe if you wanted to find love—and, even more important, to secure your future through marriage. Novels like Pride and Prejudice and period dramas like Bridgerton may give us glimpses into the nature of 19th-century romance, but what about the fuller historical and social context? In the six lessons of A Courtly History: Romance in the 19th Century, Professor Stephanie Insley Hershinow gives you a detailed look at the complex and ever-evolving rules of romance in 19th-century Britain. Along the way, you will see why this fascinating era keeps drawing us back to novels and Netflix.

The conventions of romance—from first introductions to wedding vows—were highly formalized and carefully structured, increasingly so as the 19th century wore on. These rituals, particularly as they are portrayed in novels and film, have shaped our conceptions of romance, offering a very different experience from our modern reality. At the same time, there were other options beyond traditional love and marriage, which Professor Hershinow highlights in the lives of famous figures like Jane Austen, Lord Byron, and Emily Dickinson. As you will see, despite how different the past may feel, the search for love and happiness is remarkably timeless.

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