Monday, June 7, 2010

I Write Regency

Why 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're 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,
Enjoy Some Historical Hilarity!


Lindsay Townsend said...

Super blog, Linda! You convey perfectly the elegance, excitement, sparkle and pure fantasy of Regency romance.

Had I lived then, I would have been a servant, as you imagine you might have been.

That, too, is part of the charm of Regency romance - a serving girl can have a Cinderella ending.

Obe said...

great blog, I found myself laughing right along with you. Yes, I'd have been cleaning and scrubbing too.


Celia Yeary said...

LINDA--it's very interesting that the Regency Period was so short, and yet has been used probably more than any other romance genre. When I go to the bookstore to the paperbacks, it seems that's all I see, at least there are many. I love Mary Balogh--and some of Lisa Kleypas' regencies. I may branch out and try a few others. Thanks for the good post. Celia

Savanna Kougar said...

Linda, it is the fantasy. Certainly, the sparkling conversations are part of the appeal to me.

And the lure of being wealthy enough to live as you really choose... not to mention, the gowns!

Though, I doubt if I would even have made it to maid status... more like death on the streets.

Still, a girl can dream...

Linda Banche said...

Thanks, Lindsay. I'm sure I would have been a servant then. I may have a noble soul, but that's the only noble part of me. The Regency does lend it self to lots of Cinderella stories, though.

Hi Nan, glad you had a good laugh.

Celia, for those of us who like Regency, no other era speaks to us in quite the same way. I read other historical periods, like Victorian, Georgian, and the occasional medieval, Viking, and Western, but I always return to Regency.

Never give up dreaming, Savanna. And I'm sure you would do well in any era.

Kelley said...

Thanks for explaining the Regency period. You made it sound appealing. I know pretty much nothing about that period and now I am curious to read a Regency.

Linda Banche said...

Glad to help, Kelley. You can't lose by trying!

StephB said...

Linda, I love reading regencies because I like to go to all those places and things you mentioned! I'm not sure I could write the period though.

Regency has it's appeal. I love reading about the upper classes and their struggles.

Question for you - Would the reigns of George IV and William IV fall under regency?


Linda Banche said...

Hi Steph. Regency does have a wide appeal.

As for your question: Yes, the reigns of George IV and William IV would fall under what's called "the extended Regency". Although the Regency proper was 1811 to 1820, some consider the period to extend from 1788, when George III first showed signs of madness and Parliament considered appointing the crown prince (who became George IV in 1820), to rule as regent, to the ascension of Victoria in 1837, after her uncle, William IV (who succeeded George IV) died.