In contemporary culture, the near obsessive pursuit of love and monogamous bliss is considered “normal,” as evidenced by a wide range of online dating sites, television shows such as Sex in the City and The Bachelorette, and an endless stream of Hollywood romantic comedies. Ironically, when it comes to love and marriage, we still wrestle with many of the same emotional and social challenges as our 19th-century predecessors did over 100 years ago.
Courtship and Marriage in Victorian England draws on little-known conduct books, letter-writing manuals, domestic guidebooks, periodical articles, letters, and novels to reveal what the period equivalents of “dating” and “tying the knot” were like in the Victorian era. By addressing topics such as the etiquette of introductions and home visits, the roles of parents and chaperones, the events of the London season, model love letters, and the specific challenges facing domestic servants seeking spouses, author Jennifer Phegley provides a fascinating examination of British courtship and marriage rituals among the working, middle, and upper classes from the 1830s to the 1910s.
- A chronological examination of Victorian marriage law
- Various courtship and marriage cartoons; pictures of activities during the London Season; photographs of Victorian wedding attire; representations of Queen Victoria's engagement and wedding; illustrations of wedding gifts, dresses, and cakes; and an engraving of the London Divorce Court