Daily Life in 18th-Century England
2nd Edition
by Kirstin Olsen
April 2017, 458pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-5503-0
$74, £57, 65€, A102
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-5504-7
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Surprisingly, many similarities exist between the culture of18th-century England to life today in the United States.

Informative, richly detailed, and entertaining, this book portrays daily life in England in 1700–1800, embracing all levels of society—from the aristocracy to the very poor—to describe a nation grappling with modernity.

When did Western life begin to strongly resemble our modern world? Despite the tremendous evolution of society and technology in the last 50 years, surprisingly, many aspects of life in the 21st century in the United States directly date back to the 18th century across the Atlantic. Daily Life in Eighteenth-Century England covers specific topics that affect nearly everyone living in England in the 18th century: the government (including law and order); race, class, and gender; work and wages; religion; the family; housing; clothing; and food. It also describes aspects of life that were of greater relevance to some than others, such as entertainment, the city of London, the provinces and beyond, travel and tourism, education, health and hygiene, and science and technology.

The book conveys what life was like for the common people in England in the years 1700–1800 through chapters that describe the state of society at the beginning of the century, delineate both change and continuity by the century’s end, and identify which segments of society were impacted most by what changes—for example, improvements to roads, a key change in marriage laws, the steam engine, and the booming textile industry. Students and general readers alike will find the content interesting and the additional features—such as appendices, a chronology of major events, and tables of information on comparative incomes and costs of representative items—helpful in research or learning.


  • Chronicles daily life in a place and time that was critical in forming the consumerism, industrialization, scientific thinking, and family structures of our modern world
  • Provides fascinating detail on the lives of people at different levels of social strata, not just the upper classes
  • Includes excerpts from seldom- or never-anthologized primary sources
  • Incorporates information from recent scholarship about 18th-century England, especially regarding gender roles
Kirstin Olsen is a history educator and an independent scholar in Santa Cruz, CA. She is the author of Greenwood's All Things Austen: A Concise Encyclopedia of Austen's World; Cooking with Jane Austen; All Things Shakespeare: An Encyclopedia of Shakespeare's World; and the previous edition of Daily Life in 18th-Century England.


"In this study of daily life, the author does an admirably inclusive job in considering not just the established classes but also the lives of ordinary folk in cities and rural areas and social, religious, and political outsiders. Summing Up: Highly recommended. High school through undergraduate students; general readers."—Choice, October 1, 2017

"I found Olsen’s essays attractively written and highly readable. Her style is crisp and she always manages to hold one’s interest. They are packed with detail. . . . [This book] could be widely stocked by libraries. It is a good read and accessible for students on many levels."—Reference Reviews, January 18, 2018
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