Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I Write Regency
As I sit here among the modern world of jangling cell phones, endless boring meeting and traffic jams, I ask, how can the modern world be romantic?
The commonplace, the everyday, is not the stuff of fantasy. Take me to a world lived against a background of life and death struggles, a vivid time, different from my own, but not too different, where vast possibilities reign--and that I can experience from a safe distance among all the modern conveniences.
Welcome to the English Regency. This historical period ran from 1811 to 1820, when George III of England went mad and Parliament appointed his son, the Prince of Wales, as Regent to rule in his stead.
But the Regency is an elastic term and can encompass the time from the French Revolution to Victoria's reign. The Napoleonic wars, that decades-long struggle which could have sounded England's death knell, occurred then. The literary giant Jane Austen lived and wrote in its midst. The time was one of extremes, of fabulously wealthy aristocrats and desperately poor commoners. But the era was also one of transition, when the old world, which defined a person solely by his birth, slowly and with great reluctance, yielded a new world where a person could make his own destiny.
The period was elegant, at least among the rich. In general, Regencies are tales of the upper classes two centuries ago. I love the sparkling conversation in these stories, the elegant manners and beautiful clothes. If I had lived then, most likely I wouldn’t have been the pampered lady of the house, but a poor servant, even more overworked and underpaid than I am now.
But in the realm of these books, I am the young, beautiful Lady of Quality, married to the same husband I have now, but who’s been transformed into a young, gorgeous hunk. We are both filthy rich so I can do what I like and not have to sit in boring meetings.
And I have all the modern conveniences. Ah, what a fantasy.
Thank you all,