Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Regency spies and harlots

One of the problems with being fascinated with a particular period in history, is that there are so many facets to explore. Just when I'm focusing one one aspect, I get distracted by another. Endless stimulation is, however, a nice problem to have!

My favourite past-time is daydreaming plots and characters... one day I'm fascinated by the merchant trade, the nabobs and new money it brought to regency england. I'm intrigued by complications increased social mobility created and how it influenced marriage and social status throughout the land. The next day I'm looking at the North of England, the rise of heavy industry and how it interacted with the rural landscape and the sophistications of London.

Yesterday I was engrossed in Dan Cruikshank's book about the Georgian sex trade, and how it shaped the architecture of London in the 18th century. My mind was buzzing with how women dealt with careers as courtesans and how their status and freedoms compared with the solidly respectable wives of 'the ton'.

Today I'm all about espionage, how it was carried out in the Napoleonic wars and who by. Somewhere in amidst all that a plot is brewing, to do with a courtesan and a spy and the hidden world that underpinned the successful conclusion of the Napoleanic wars. To further my research I'm trying to track down a book by Elizabeth Sparrow on the Secret Service 1792-1815 - it sounds absolutely fascinating! Pity it's £100 on amazon!

2 comments:

Christy McNutt said...

I have recently read Sparrow's Secret Service (from the library). It was interesting, but a little on the dry side. Did you ever find a copy?

My next research book I'm looking for is Wellington's Spies, which I understand is mostly centred on 3 spies from the era. Maybe you could try that one?

Meg McNulty said...

Hi Christy, I did find it! I had to send off for it via the library. I found it quite useful. I got together a whole bibliography of papers on this subject from the local University library if you're interested?