5 January 2018

Book Launch Guest Post ~ Elegant Etiquette in the Nineteenth Century, by Mallory James


New on Amazon UK 
and available for pre-order from  Amazon US

Drawing upon research into contemporary advice and guidance, Elegant Etiquette is both fun and compelling reading for anyone with an interest in this period. In exploring the expectations of behaviour and etiquette, it seeks to bring the world of the nineteenth century back to life.

When might a master of ceremonies be of assistance?
How should a husband and wife arrive for a dinner party?
And what is the appropriate way to consume bread? 

The nineteenth century is a world regularly brought back to life on television screens, a world readers often return to again and again in their favourite novels. Elegant Etiquette in the Nineteenth Century takes its readers behind the scenes of those costume dramas and tells the story told between the lines of those famous works.

In illuminating some of the small details of daily life – namely, the niceties of etiquette – it throws light upon the experiences of ladies and gentlemen in the nineteenth century. So, if we imagine a time where candles dripped wax in ballrooms, where fires burnt in drawing rooms, and where cigars were lit by gentlemen lingering in dining rooms, Elegant Etiquette brims with the sorts of titbits of advice that lend colour and depth to those images. 

Briefly, then, let us imagine ourselves in that candlelit ballroom...

It is a public ball. A gentleman with the air of a man who is rather overwhelmed looks around the room before settling his gaze – with admirable determination – on the master of ceremonies. Having found that he is quite alone at the ball, the gentleman quite rightly decides to turn to the master of ceremonies and request his aid. In these circumstances, the master of ceremonies would be able to introduce the gentleman in question to others. Naturally, a gentleman cannot just go round introducing himself.

In the drawing room of a very respectable establishment, a hostess smiles just a little smugly as the company begins to assemble for dinner. The butler announces the arrival of a husband and wife. They enter arm in arm. The smile of the hostess suddenly becomes rather more fixed. This is very outlandish behaviour on the part of the husband and wife. The wife ought to have entered first, followed by her husband. 

At the dining table, later that evening, the same hostess endeavours not to frown as she notices another guest eating their bread in a decidedly strange manner. They appear to be cutting it. It is most unusual of them. A lady or gentleman is supposed to break their bread with their hands. 
The hostess wonders what is going on with everyone tonight.

A fun and spritely guide to the manners and customs of our well-bred, well-heeled forbears, Elegant Etiquette is a must-read for those interested in this era. And it should hopefully leave them in a mood rather better than that of our somewhat disgruntled hostess.  

Mallory James


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About the Author

Mallory James studied for her undergraduate degree at University College London, before undertaking a master’s degree at Queen Mary, University of London. She has since run away from the hustle and bustle of the capital, and now lives in Wiltshire with her husband and son. Her blog – Behind the Past – is dedicated to aiding all interested parties in the pursuit of learning ‘how to make it and fake it’ in the nineteenth century. Elegant Etiquette in the Nineteenth Century was published in the UK by Pen and Sword in November 2017. It is due to be released in the USA in March 2018. Find out more at her website behindthepast.com and find Mallory on Twitter @_behindthepast

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