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If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home

If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home

Escrito por Lucy Worsley

Narrado por Anne Flosnik


If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home

Escrito por Lucy Worsley

Narrado por Anne Flosnik

valoraciones:
4.5/5 (34 valoraciones)
Longitud:
9 horas
Editorial:
Publicado:
May 28, 2012
ISBN:
9781452677880
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Descripción

Why did the flushing toilet take two centuries to catch on? Why did medieval people sleep sitting up? When were the two "dirty centuries?" Why did gas lighting cause Victorian ladies to faint? Why, for centuries, did rich people fear fruit?

In her brilliantly and creatively researched book, Lucy Worsley takes us through the bedroom, bathroom, living room, and kitchen. She covers the history of each room and explores what people actually did in bed, in the bath, at the table, and at the stove-from sauce stirring to breastfeeding, teeth cleaning to masturbation, getting dressed to getting married-providing a compelling account of how the four rooms of the home have evolved from medieval times to today.
Editorial:
Publicado:
May 28, 2012
ISBN:
9781452677880
Formato:
Audiolibro

También disponible como...

También disponible como libroLibro

Sobre el autor

LUCY WORSLEY is an historian, author, curator and television presenter. Lucy read Ancient and Modern History at New College, Oxford and worked for English Heritage before becoming Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces, based at Hampton Court. She also presents history programmes for the BBC including Empire of the Tsars: Romanov Russia with Lucy Worsley and Lucy Worsley's Reins of Power: The Art of Horse Dancing. Her bestselling books include A Very British Murder: The Curious Story of how Crime was Turned into Art; If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home; Courtiers: The Secret History of the Georgian Court; and Cavalier: The Story of a 17th Century Playboy. She lives in London, England.


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4.6
34 valoraciones / 13 Reseñas
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Reseñas de lectores

  • (5/5)
    Lucy Worsley provides a fascinating view of the evolution of the typical single room abode from the Middle Ages, to the present, in which a home would not be complete without at least one bathroom, a kitchen, bedroom(s) and a living room. Focusing mostly on the experiences in Great Britain, Worsley nonetheless captures trends from Europe and the US. She provides insights on the societal changes that precipitated the notion of "privacy", the desire for furnishings, cleanliness ( and lack thereof during the "dirty centuries"), technological innovation, the evolution of manners and everything in between.Full of marvelous details, Worsley's historical account did make me very grateful to be living in the 21st century.
  • (5/5)
    Very much reflects Worsley's personality, she has a breezy affable style and this book is exactly that, its like having a delightful over a cuppa with a friend. I think a lot more people would be interested in history if they were brought it to it by someone like Worsley, she brings the past to life, and shows what people, both high and low, were really like. To tell the truth, there's nothing in here that startlingly new, but it is all presented so entertainingly that's its hard to find fault. Lovely stuff.
  • (4/5)
    Lucy Worsley is the charmingly quirky presenter of the BBC documentary series of the same name which explored how humans lived at home from medieval times onwards. Worsley divides her book into four parts/rooms: bed room, bath room, living room and kitchen. She tells many amazing stories about the past and reveals the ingenuity and craziness of how people used to deal with life's problems (unfortunately, the book lacks footnotes). What is missing from the book is the fifth room found in most houses: the stable/cellar/hobby room/garage, probably because that male domain was beyond Worsley's focus. Both an entertaining documentary and a good if superficial book.
  • (3/5)
    This book, a companion to the BBC television series of the same name, explores the history of the home, along with other social customs, by looking at four rooms of the house - bedroom, bathroom, living room and kitchen. The author is the chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces, a charitable organization that looks over various royal properties in London and its surrounding area, and thus, is something of an expert in this field.The book is written in a breezy way and will arm amateur historians with lots of factoids for their next game of trivial pursuit. However, this is not a scholarly book as evidenced by the total lack of footnotes. This book could best be regarded as a fun introduction to the way life was lived in the past and, hopefully send the reader off to read more substantial books on the subject.
  • (5/5)
    IF WALLS COULD TALK is a fascinating social history of the home. Written in a very chatty and informal manner, it is a breezy read that even the most history-adverse will find fun and easy to get through.A few caveats, however:1) This is about the BRITISH home. Actually, to be even more specific, it is about the ENGLISH home, as Scotland, Wales and Ireland are barely mentioned. American (not to mention non-Western hemisphere) domestic dwellings and habits evolved differently. And while the United States is mentioned more often than other European or indeed, other UK countries, many of the conclusions drawn pertain specifically to England. For example, Worsley ends her chapter on bed furnishings with a rapturous appreciation for Terence Conran (a kind of British Swinging Sixties Martha Stewart, with more emphasis on home furnishings than crafts) and the ubiquitous duvet, which has made top sheets, blankets and bedspreads obsolete.Which comes as news to American households, where the top sheet still holds sway. And while duvets are certainly common, bedspreads and quilts are also still very much in use. And did you know Americans store their hopes and dreams in closets? Here I thought my closets mostly held clothes, bed linens - have to store the top sheets somewhere - and far too much junk. (British homes, in general, don't have closets. Yes, it shocked me, too, when I moved there. But Worsley never mentions the British equivalent, which is the box room.)Having lived in London for five years, I spotted the differences immediately. Alas, Worsley seems to have little knowledge of the US, aside from that gleaned from Thanksgiving episodes of American sitcoms shown on British telly, so her US references and conclusions are a bit off.Still, if you are at all interested in English social history (and I am), this book is a must.2) This book is about the HOME. Y'know, the place where you do all the things in private that you would not dream of doing in public (although Worsley does walk through how the notion of privacy - and therefore the home - has changed over the centuries). Therefore, Worsley is not squeamish about activities that take place in the home. And that includes sex, masturbation, bodily waste evacuation, farting, bathing, childbirth, death, and many more topics that were deemed too indelicate for Victorian female ears. Luckily, while I am female, I am not Victorian, and I thought Worsley did a splendid job of walking the line between being forthright but nowhere near gross. We're all human, and these are basic human functions. And it's fascinating how social mores and ideas of acceptable social behavior have changed over time.However, if your ears and eyes would prefer to read like it is 1888, then perhaps this isn't the book for you.
  • (4/5)
    This is the second book that I've read based on a BBC radio program. The first was A History of the World in 100 Objects which I enjoyed a great deal. I wish we had radio programs like that here. In any case the author of this book is the head of the agency that preserves several important British landmarks such as The Tower of London which is why the history of the home is told from a decidedly British point of view. If other cultures contributed to what constitutes our modern dwellings, the ideas are not explored here. Although the book could be quite dry at times, even when recounting titillating topics there were several things I quite liked. References to the Tudors and Stewart periods are sprinkled throughout and Anne Boleyn in particular is mentioned a few times for Tudor fans. Downton Abbey fans also get a glimpse of the upstairs/ downstairs life. This book would be great for those who are looking to learn more about British history as it relates to the home.
  • (4/5)
    One can tell when reading this book that the author had a great time and a fascination for her subject. Although comparisons can be made to Bryson's "At Home", I found this book to be less rambling and more centered. She takes the major rooms of the house and traces them and everything that goes on in them from dressing, underwear (or lack of such)to chamber pots. She also traces the different time periods and shows how they and the people in them have changed. It is mostly her writing style though that draws the reader in and makes them privy to all she chooses to impart, with a great deal of humor thrown in.
  • (4/5)
    The book is fantastic and very well written. The narrator is...very enthusiastic. The choice to attempt to mimic the accent of all quoted subjects was questionable, at best. Although she does a fantastic American accent.
  • (4/5)
    The first two parts, which focus on the bedroom and the bathroom, are entertaining and humorous. It’s fascinating to see how social our ancestors were in bed, while the lack of privacy regarding answering Nature’s call is somewhat cringeworthy.The following quote shows how medieval people ensured they slept “safely” at bedtime:>There was also symbolic protection to be gained by placing a pig’s heart over the hearth, or putting a shoe among rafters in the roof, or carving the protective letter ‘M’ (for Virgin Mary) by the window or chimney through which a witch could conceivably enter. You might also put rosemary leaves under your bed in order to ‘be delivered of all evil dreams’.The last two parts about the living room and kitchen were much less interesting to me. Think this is because we move away from funny anecdotes – though not completely – and read more about technical matters or info on food, which at times feels like reading a shopping list.The following quote about a typical peasants’ meat intake is something I didn’t previously know:>So the peasant’s meat intake was largely limited to small and nasty creatures: squirrels, wild birds, hedgehogs (‘hogs’ or ‘pigs’ of the hedges). To cook a hedgehog you wrap it in clay and put the clay ball into the fire. A couple of hours later, you smash the clay, which pulls the prickles off the meat.
  • (3/5)
    Worsley has collected a large set of amusing anecdotes, mixed it with easily digested history, and presented it as "the history of the home." It's charming, if flighty. If you already know much English history, few things will surprise you--but if you don't, I'm sure you'll find this fascinating and useful for countless ice-breaking dinner conversations.
  • (4/5)
    A largely anecdotal and breezy romp through "house and home," in which Worsley touches briefly on various and sundry aspects of life, from the brushing of teeth to the preparation of food to the composition of pillows. I noticed a few small errors, some very questionable etymological excursions, and some grand generalizations that don't entirely seem backed up by evidence ... and without any sort of citations, it's very hard to take them at face value. A fun read, but I'm not sure it's entirely to be trusted on all counts.
  • (4/5)
    A bit superficial but interesting look at the English home and how it came to be the way it is. A good companion to the TV series it has an extensive bibliography. It does show how the English home was influenced by other factors but it's largely about the British home.It does suffer a little from trying to cram it all in but at the same time I found it interesting and quite readable. There were details about things that wouldn't find their way into a TV series and at other times I wanted more illustrations and information.
  • (5/5)
    If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of The HomeIn the book, If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home, author, historian and museum curator Lucy Worsley explores the fascinating social history of various customs and practices of life in the private sphere of the home. Worsley starts with The Bedroom, where, until recently, most people entered the world, and continues on to The Bathroom, The Living Room, and The Kitchen. Each chapter discusses the history and evolution of various aspects of everyday life such as privacy (everyone slept in the same room), childbirth (a communal event), toilet paper (an ‘arsewisp’— a handful of straw), cluttered Victorian drawing rooms (the more ‘stuff’ displayed in a room, the better), and etymology (the word dessert derives from the French word desert, ‘the creation of absence’ of the main course followed by sweets.)If Walls Could Talk is a companion book to the popular BBC television series of the same name. However, this book holds its own as a curious and thought-provoking read.