Technically, the English Regency—when George IV acted as regent for his father George III—lasted only from 1811 to 1820, yet the period’s popularity in popular culture, especially in genre literature, is much bigger than its brief duration in time would suggest. What makes this period so significant and well-loved?
The Regency period was is a critical hinge point in English history and especially in English culture. It was a time of great social, political, economic, artistic, and technological change, largely driven by the Napoleonic Wars. In addition to the political changes arising from the aftereffects of the American and French Revolutions and the domination of Europe by Napoleon, the Regency saw significant new developments in art, architecture, and fashion, largely driven by the Regent himself; a population boom and corresponding economic expansion; and a vibrant and highly stratified social scene populated by larger-than-life characters like Beau Brummell, Horatio Nelson, Ada Lovelace, and Mary Shelley. All of these things make it a significant and emotionally resonant era and a great time period for historical fiction.