Novelist and linguist Anthony Burgess’s study paints a fascinating portrait of a man who is both one of history’s most famous figures, and one of its biggest mysteries.
The Time Traveller’s Guide to Elizabethan England
Illustrated by Robert Venables
Ian Mortimer, best-selling author of the Time Traveller’s series, launches readers into the omnipresent odours and architectural wonders of Elizabethan England in our stunning new Folio Society edition.
Ian Mortimer has a gift for fully immersing readers in history: from the outset, you’re invited to explore your surroundings first-hand, walking the streets in the shoes of your historical contemporaries and living history in real time. Following on from our best-selling The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England, we’ve crafted a stunning new Folio edition of Mortimer’s meticulously researched, accessible and witty guide to the Elizabethan era.
Bound in printed and blocked buckram
Set in Caslon with Blackmoor display
Frontispiece and 9 colour illustrations
9½˝ x 6¼˝
History in the present tense
Aside from Elizabeth I, Shakespeare is the most celebrated figure of the Elizabethan age, so it’s fitting that we begin our tour in Stratford-upon-Avon, taking in the ‘timber-framed, two-storey buildings with unglazed windows, tiled roofs and jetties’. The streets are unpaved and the town is a mix of grand houses and tenements; the adjoining green space piled with ‘animal entrails, faeces, vegetable and old rushes from floors’ – an unofficial amenity tip that spews noxious smells back across the town.
Scholarly research and page-turning narrative
After travelling onwards through rural England and then exploring the bustling capital we learn about religion, professions and everyday essentials: a minefield of unwritten rules closely linked to social class. Woe betide the individual with an income under £100 who steps out in taffeta or a silk jacket, or working folk who fail to wear a wool cap on Sundays. And when it comes to food, ‘heavy fines are levied for eating meat on non-meat days’ unless you can afford the licence for carnivorous dining.
Living in the late 1500s, you’d be thrilled to make it to your 40th birthday and would count your blessings if you avoided the plague. However, Elizabethan England also produced some of the finest writing in the English language – the likes of Christopher Marlowe and John Lyly joining the Bard – as well as incredible architecture such as Audley End, Longleat and Wollaton Hall. And then there was the not insignificant matter of the daily beer allowance; one gallon per person in many large houses, ‘whether he be a servant or a nobleman’.
A unique edition of a best-selling history
Having previously illustrated The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England, talented artist Robert Venables applies his inimitable style to this edition, creating a series of character-led illustrations in the style of Elizabethan woodcuts. The gold-blocked binding design – also by Venables – shows a scene of Elizabethan musicians and dancers, while the cloth-bound cover features gold-foil blockwork, the gold replicated in motifs on the endpapers. Our designers selected Blackmoor for the display typeface; a font based on the style of old English signage.
1 The Landscape
2 The People
5 Basic Essentials
6 What to Wear
8 Where to Stay
9 What to Eat and Drink
10 Hygiene, Illness and Medicine
11 Law and Disorder