• Perceptions of Retailing in Early Modern England

      Cox, Nancy; Dannehl, Karin (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 2007)
      Whilst there has been much recent scholarly work on retailing during the early modern period, less is known about how people at the time perceived retailing, both as onlookers, artists and commentators, and as participants. Centred on the general theme of perceptions, the authors address this gap in our knowledge by looking at a different aspect of consumption. They focus on two ancillary themes: the first is location and how contemporaries perceived the settlements in which there were shops; the other is distance. Pictures, prints, novels, diaries and promotional literature of the tradespeople themselves provide much of the evidence. Many of these sources are not new to historians, but they have not been scrutinized and analysed with the questions in mind that are posed here. The methodology to be employed has been developed by Nancy Cox over the last decade, and is used successfully in her book The Complete Tradesman and in the compilation of the forthcoming Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities 1550–1800. This book will find a ready market with scholars concerned with British social and economic history in the early modern period. Although it is first and foremost a book written by historians for historians, it nevertheless borrows concepts and approaches from various disciplines concerned with theories of consumption, material culture and representational art. (Ashgate Publishing)
    • Social Relations in the Estate Villages of Mecklenburg c.1880-1924

      Constantine, Simon (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 2008)
      Research on late nineteenth and early twentieth century German society has concentrated overwhelmingly on life in the cities. By contrast, and despite the fact that almost one third of Germans were still working in agriculture as late as 1914, Germany's rural society remains relatively unexplored. Although historians have begun to correct this imbalance, very few full-length studies of social relations east of the Elba in this period have been published. This book concentrates on social relations in the 1,500 estate villages (Gutsdörfer) of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz. 'Social relations' include the chains of command and obedience, the relative legal positions of owner and workers, contractual-relations, economic relations; the mutual economic dependency of estate owners and workforce, as well as the value systems of owners and labourers which informed these relationships. With its focus on both rural elites and workers, this study differs from much other work on rural Germany. For while a number of historians have examined the rural elites, few have chosen to investigate the lower strata of rural society. This book makes use of overlooked autobiographical accounts, statements given by workers at labour exchanges and before military authorities, as well as confiscated letters, jokes and anecdotes to provide greater insight into the perspective of rural workers. (Ashgate Publishing)
    • Stories from Home: English Domestic Interiors, 1750-1850

      Ponsonby, Margaret (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 2006)
      Most homes in the past were not elite, wealthy interiors complete with high fashion furnishings, designed by well-known architects and designers, as many domestic histories often seem to have assumed. As this book makes clear, there were in fact an enormous variety of house interiors in England during the period 1750–1850, reflecting the location, status and gender of particular householders, as well as their changing attitudes, tastes and aspirations. By focusing on non-metropolitan homes, which represented the majority of households in England, this study highlights the need for historians to look beyond prevailing attitudes that often reduce interiors to generic descriptions based on high fashions of the decorative arts. Instead it shows how numerous social and cultural influences affected the manner in which homes were furnished and decorated. Issues such as the availability of goods, gender, regional taste, income, the second-hand market, changing notions of privacy and household hierarchies and print culture, could all have a significant impact on domestic furnishing. The study ends with a discussion of how domestic interiors of historic properties have been presented and displayed in modern times, highlighting how competing notions of the past can cloud as well as illuminate the issue. Combining cultural history and qualitative analysis of evidence, this book presents a new way of looking at 'ordinary' and 'provincial' homes that enriches our understanding of English domestic life of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. (Ashgate Publishing)