How To Behave Badly in Elizabethan England: A Guide for Knaves, Fools, Harlots, Cuckolds, Drunkards, Liars, Thieves, and Braggarts

Liveright: Norton. Sept. 2018. 320p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781631495113. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9781631495120. HIST
In previous books, Goodman (How To Be a Victorian; How To Be a Tudor) re-created Victorian and Tudor life as an immersive experience. Here, the author focuses her attention on the nonconforming members of the Elizabethan era. Arguing that one can discern more about a society from what was singled out as unacceptable, Goodman shows how many of the insults and conflicts of the time centered on reputation and honor, as a good name was currency in Elizabethan society. Covering issues such as physical violence, offensive speech, and impolite gestures, this latest work addresses the ways in which one could be set apart from society, either intentionally or unintentionally. While some sections can be a bit overly detailed, the work as a whole stands as an enlightening and entertaining read that defines the class structures of the period and the pitfalls to be avoided.
VERDICT Similar to Daniel Pool's What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew, this work demonstrates Goodman's mastery of etiquette in 19th-century England. An informative social history for most readers.
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