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Sociability and Power in Late Stuart England : The Cultural Worlds of the Verneys 1660-1720 - Susan E. Whyman

Sociability and Power in Late Stuart England

The Cultural Worlds of the Verneys 1660-1720

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This highly original study looks at rituals of sociability in new and creative ways. Based upon thousands of personal letters, it reconstructs the changing country and London worlds of an English gentry family, and reveals intimate details about the social and cultural life of the period. Challenging current influential views, the book observes strong connections, instead of deep divisions, between country and city, land and trade, sociability and power. Its very different view undermines established stereotypes of omnipotent male patriarchs, powerless wives and kin, autonomous elder sons, and dependent younger brothers. Gifts of venison and visits in a coach reveal unexpected findings about the subtle power of women over the social code, the importance of younger sons, and the overwhelming impact of London. Successfully combining storytelling and historical analysis, the book recreates everyday lives in a period of overseas expansion, financial revolution, and political turmoil.

Industry Reviews

`This is an important book with wide-ranging implications. It deserves a broad readership.' Journal of Modern History `Challenges conventional assumptions about a number of major historiographical issues' Journal of Modern History, Vol.73, No.4 `This is an important and stimulating work with a significance reaching far beyond the story of the family it chronicles.' Continuity and Change, 16 `Particularly illuminating ... ethnographic study of changing patterns of hospitality and sociability.' Continuity and Change, 16 `this is a most impressive piece of research, which is both well written and packed with fascinating insights, and it should appeal to the general reader as well as the specialist.' Hugh Hanley, Records of Buckinghamshire, Vol 41 `This stimulating volume remains an important contribution to our understanding of the politely commercial people of late Stuart and Hanoverian Britain.' Perry Gauci, Urban History, Vol.28/1, 2001 `This handsome volume should be welcomed by urban historians as a work which transcends the traditional dichotomy of town and countryside ... historians have recognized the interdependence of city and hinterland, but rarely can that relationship have been more sensitively portrayed than in this book. The agency for such insight is the remarkable Verney archive at Claydon House in Buckinghamshire, which Whyman has exhaustively mined to produce a riveting portrait of a family which keenly felt the social, economic and political transformations of the late Stuart Britain. Students of the period will find much to interest them here, but historians of the family and metropolitan culture will yield particular benefit from this work.' Perry Gauci, Urban History, Vol.28/1, 2001 `Whyman's stupendous research effot took her through more than 7,000 Verney letters, written over twenty-five years. Her new and exciting dimension is the London world of the youthful John Verney ... a fine study.' Anthony Fletcher, History Today Jan 01. `Whyman combines Lawrence Stone's willingness to borrow from other disciplines ... with, say, Conrad Russell's deep understanding of particular archives ... rich detail and sound reasoning.' Newton E. Key, History, Summer 2000. `Susan Whyman studies a single family that has left a vast and colourful archive ... Whyman's stupendous research effort took her through more than 7,000 Verney letters ... Her new and exciting dimension is the London world of the youthful John Verney ... This is a fine study.' Anthony Fletcher, History Today, January 2001 `The book contributes to debates on several important social questions of the sate-Stuart period.' Barrie Trinder, Social History Bulletin, Vol 25, No.1., Summer 2000. `a superbly organised book.' Barrie Trinder, Social History Bulletin, Vol.25, No.1, Summer 2000. `Susan Whyman throws significant new light on the roles and achievements of younger sons of landed families, on many questions relating to gender, and on relationships between London and the provinces.' Barrie Trinder, S.H. Bulletin Vol.25, No.1. `Whyman usefully elucidates the practice and meaning of visiting, power issues in family relations, and connected developments in trade, london and social mobility' A Kugler, Choice, Sept.00. `Whyman offers a valuable resource to scholars.' A Kugler, Choice, Sept.00. `In her introduction Whyman promises that the life of John Verney - a Levant trader and city merchant, but then a landed Tory Viscount - can provide an ideal lens for observing a society as it adapted to change ... This promise is triumphantly fulfilled.' Professor Ann Hughes, University of Keele. `Whyman's book ... provides particularly valuable contributions to our understanding of social change in this period ... she shows brilliantly how social lives, cultural values, and personal networks were affected by the growing importance of London.' Professor Ann Hughes, University of Keele. `The ageing patriach Ralph and the younger son turned head of family John are portrayed with comsummate skill, as are john's first and third wives and the vulnerable, impoverished but never to be ignored roll-call of importunate aunts. On the other hand, the tantalising glimpses of the most unsatisfactory first sone, Mun - Edmund -, whose womanising and drunkenness drove his unfortunate wife mad, make one impatient for a full account.' Professor Ann Hughes, University of Keele. `In her discussion of urban sociability as throughout the book, Whyman is particularly perceptive on gender relationships and the experience of women.' Professor Ann Hughes, University of Keele. `The seventeenth century Verneys of Claydon House, Buckinghamshire are probably the best documented of all Stuart gentry families, their archives frequently exploited by historians ... Anyone who thought there could be little left to learn wil be disabused within a few pages of this fascinating book.' Professor Ann Hughes, University of Keele. `Whyman s subtle general points emerge slowly from a mass of detail. Her method is that of lace-maker weaving a series of complex, sometimes repetitive patterns into a broader fabric.' Professor Ann Hughes, University of Keele. `Whyman's work is built upon impressive foundations. She has meticulously examined over seven thousand letters in the Verney archive, and constructed a formindable database ... We learn a great many things from Whyman's book ... Whyman breaks new ground, as in her discussion of the significant role women played as social and political mentors of their menfolk ... Susan Whyman's superb study reveals a great deal about gentry life and should be read by anyone with an interest in England's transformation to modernity.' Victor Stater, Louisiana State University, H-Net Reviews `Her main emphasis is on female articulation of a new code of manners and politeness, illustrated here by a subtle analysis of what seems to have been the main delight of gentle Londoners, visiting each other in their coaches.' Peter Earle, TLS.

PART ONE: COUNTRY AND CITY NETWORKS 1: Sir Ralph Verney: Networks of a Country Gentleman - The Gifts of Venison 2: Sir John Verney: A Younger Son Enters the World of Commerce 3: John Verney: Networks of a London Merchant PART TWO: RESPONSE TO LONDON 4: London Modes of Sociability: The Visit and the Coach 5: Choosing Partners: The Marriage Market 6: Party Politics and Power: The Verneys and the Temples

ISBN: 9780198207191
ISBN-10: 0198207190
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 316
Published: 1st February 2000
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.77 x 16.51  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.63