The Life of Beau Nash

In between other projects, I rummaged around the LibriVox forum for something short and interesting to record … and ended up contributing a couple of chapters to Goldsmith’s Biography of Richard Nash, which has just been completed. Although this was a collaborative work, in the end only three of us contributed to it — Tricia read and co-ordinated the whole thing, I started it off and Paul did the vast majority of the recording, as well as livening up the book production thread with a few modern-day photos of Bath!

Just in case you hadn’t heard of Nash, he was a celebrated dandy and leader of fashion in 18th-century England and is best remembered as the Master of Ceremonies at Bath. According to Wikipedia:

His position was unofficial, but nevertheless he had extensive influence in the city until early 1761. He would meet new arrivals to the city and judge whether they were suitable to join the select “Company’ of 500 to 600 people at the centre of Bath society, match ladies with appropriate dancing partners at each ball, pay the musicians at such events, broker marriages, escort unaccompanied wives and regulate gambling (by restraining compulsive gamblers or warning players against risky games or cardsharks). He was notable for encouraging a new informality in manners, breaking down the rigid barriers which had previously divided the nobility from the middle-class patrons of Bath, and even from the gentry.

Here’s the LibriVox page, including a link to download a single zip file for the whole audiobook: and here’s me, reading the first section (Goldsmith didn’t really do chapters in a useful way):

[audio:] (13:54)

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