Jennifer Kloester – Waves of Muslin: Bringing the Regency to Life
Georgette Heyer: 1902 – 1974
40 years since she died, yet sold over 1 million books last year in the UK alone
Heyer was incredibly private. Never gave an interview, never did a book signing, only signed a few books for friends.
The Heyer notebooks:
– Jennifer got access to them from Sir Richard Rougier (Heyer’s son)
– had access to baby book, letters, family photo albums, note books she had on research for her books (regency and mediaeval)
– Only person who sets her Regency novels in the true regency period of 1811 – 1820 (rather than the greater period when George IV was Prince George and quite influential)
By drawing on Georgette Heyer’s personal letters and notebooks, we can see how she recreated a vivid sense of the popular Regency historical era.
– There was not much written about the Regency at the time
Arthur Bryant – Age of Elegance (1939)
Heyer wrote Friday’s Child, huge success. Possibly the popularity of Friday’s Child and Heyer’s other work then lead to the huge volume of other fiction in the Regency Period.
– there were no real resources for the period, so she had to do her own resource from primary sources – others have subsequently used the research that Heyer for themselves.
– then converted text into dialogue and action
eg The Creevey Papers
– converted, humanised, brought to life in An Infamous Army
Photographs of Heyer’s notebooks and research
– closeup of one notebook, a book with phrases, organised by feature
eg hair, eyes, mouth etc
‘not just in the common style’ etc
– she takes the research and changes it from passive description to active
– Takes real historical figures and either incorporates them in a genuine way (eg Poodle Byng or Beau Brummell) or transforms them into fictional characters in her stories
– does this to humanise her main characters, give them depth and makes them feel real
– used Aubrey’s Brief Lives as inspiration for her characters
eg Venetia Stanley for her heroine Venetia Lanyon
– spent a lot of time working out who her characters were (did jigsaw puzzles etc while she worked)
– first drafts were often her final drafts (eg Faro’s daughter, written in 8 weeks)
Had her own copy of Egan’s Life in London – used it for locations in Regency London. eg Almacks