What kind of character would have been considered a nerd in the Regency era? When all the girls focused on clothes and dances and picking a husband, and all the boys focused on wild living, or as wild as they could afford and get away with, who were the nerds?
I’m working on a character who is beautiful and wealthy, well-connected, but would trade all her fine clothes and jewels if she could be allowed to study archeology, especially finding evidence of the Roman occupation of Britain. She also reads novels, but she’s not a bluestocking, that is, she’s not focused on academics. She still loves to go to balls and dance, she loves to ride in an open carriage in Hyde Park during the fashionable hour, and honestly cares if her gown is in the height of fashion. Probably because she knows her dream of digging up real Roman things is unlikely to come true.
We are lucky to have such conveniences as Google and the internet. Those give us access to the Roman Britain Organisation. http://www.roman-britain.org/
The RBO has so much excellent information linked to a map so you can see where everything is, that it’s unsettling to follow a link and find out the page for that site has not been written yet. But there’s a link to the web master who will be happy to write that specific page for you in a hurry if you need it. What would he say if I said I’m writing a Regency Romance about a girl who loves Roman antiquities. Would you please direct me to every shrine to Minerva, please?
The History site has some interesting information about Roman Britain. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/romans/ Not as comprehensive as the RBO, but still informative.
Britain Express has wonderful links and photos, http://www.britainexpress.com/History/Roman_Britain_index.htm especially the revolt led by Boudicca. I always loved that story. Except for the rape and the flogging part. And these people say she was misguided and ineffective. So scratch that historical gem from my memory.
So what happened when? My heroine has to know this information, so this page http://www.britannia.com/history/romantime.html will help me see what she knows.
More info on The History Learning Site. http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/romans_in_britain.htm But what I am not finding is books that were available in early 1800s on the subject of Roman times in England! This is the closest I can come, Early American Bestsellers for 1800 to 1809: http://earlyamericanbestsellers.blogspot.com/2010/12/1800-1809.html Lots of other decades to pick, but the best sellers seem to be novels, philosophy, and poems. I may need to look for papers published at the time, instead of books.
Searching for the History of Archeology, I find that Uncle Wiki has names that I can google to zero in on my needed information. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_archaeology I follow Wiki’s link to William Cunnington http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Cunnington who first realized digging would be the best means to find out what was in the barrows. Really?
Here’s an interesting pamphlet on Ancient Wiltshire, but with modern commentary. http://www.megalithic.co.uk/downloads/We_Speak_from_Facts_not_Theories.pdf The original work was published right in the correct time frame, so close and yet!
I’m including this page because of the nice photos of Roman artifacts. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/roem/hd_roem.htm To sum up, archeology in the time I am writing of is just getting off the ground. Pretty much there’s little science or methodology to the practice, and some of it is simple treasure hunting and looting.
So my Regency nerd will have learned to love the Romans through books she has read, plays by Shakespeare, and the odd structure around her, like the bathhouse in, you guessed it, Bath.
Now, turning to the novels she would be reading, there is a lot to choose from. Here is a link to information about Books Jane Austen Read: http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/0/21122727
And while some of the novels were very popular at the time, they do not stand the test of time. Little holds up as well as Jane’s delightful works. Still, I would like to read the works of the authors she admired, Novelists Frances Burney and Maria Edgeworth as well as Charlotte Lennox. And so the search continues, for the novels of these ladies, and any works published around or before 1815 regarding archeology.
Have a great day, and come back Wednesday for more fun.