Historian and popular TV presenter Ruth Goodman offers up a history of offensive language, insulting gestures, insolent behaviour, brawling and scandal in the 16th and 17th centuries - with practical tips on just how to horrify the neighbours.
From royalty to peasantry, every age has its bad eggs, those who break all the rules and rub everyone up the wrong way. But their niggling, antisocial and irritating ways tell us about not only what upset people but also what mattered to them, how their society functioned and what kind of world they lived in.
In this brilliantly nitty-gritty exploration of real life in the Tudor and Stuart age, you will discover:
How to choose the perfect insult, whether it be draggletail, varlet, flap, saucy fellow, strumpet, ninny-hammer or stinkard
Why quoting Shakespeare was very poor form
The politics behind men kissing each other on the lips
Why flashing the inside of your hat could repulse someone
The best way to mock accents, preachers, soldiers and pretty much everything else besides
Ruth Goodman draws upon advice books and manuals, court cases and sermons, drama and imagery to outline bad behaviour from the gauche to the galling, the subtle to the outrageous. It is a celebration of drunkards, scolds, harridans and cross-dressers in a time when calling a man a fool could get someone killed and cursing wasn't just rude - it worked!
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Jude on 07-08-18
Fabulous listen, a beautifully described book
I felt like I was bound to enjoy this book by Ruth Goodman, mainly because it was not only written by Ruth, but she also narrates it so very well. I have enjoyed another of Ruth's books, but though narrated well, I wanted to hear Ruth's voice tell this story of her Renaissance Britain. It is her passionate interest that comes through, and it is not read in the over-excited-larger-than-life voice that so much of today is described as - it is good to listen to a walk through everyday life, as it is, then and now, and has it's ups and downs. Ruth has educated me in so many periods of social history and this is no exception - always new things to discover and learn about.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful