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How to Behave Badly in Renaissance Britain

A talk by Ruth Goodman

A talk by Ruth Goodman


  • 24 September 2018
Doors open at 13:45 for a 14:00 start

Ticketing information

Price: £15, including refreshments

Separate ticket (advanced booking required) Buy tickets online

Ruth Goodman is a social historian and regular TV broadcaster and presenter and we're delighted to have her come and talk to members about her latest book, How to Behave Badly in Renaissance Britain.

In this brilliant exploration of life during the 16th and 17th centuries, Ruth offers a history of bad language, insulting gestures, brawling and scandal. 

From royalty to peasantry, people knew how to get under each other’s skin, but their anti-social and irritating ways also reveal what mattered to them, how society functioned and the kind of world they lived in.

How to Behave Badly in Renaissance Britain presents a guide to fitting in with the times, including practical tips on how to choose the perfect insult – 'ninny– hammer', 'stinkard' and 'draggletail' are among the options – the best way to mock the provincials and their accents, and how to handle yourself in a fight.

Learn what could happen if you flashed the inside of your hat at someone and the politics of men greeting each other with a smacking kiss on the lips. 

Drawing on historical advice books and manuals, court cases and sermons, Ruth celebrates the drunkards, scolds, harridans and cross–dressers at a time when calling a man a fool could get someone killed, and cursing wasn’t just rude, it worked.

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