Oh, Snap! (kutsuwamushi) wrote in little_details,
Oh, Snap!

[ANON POST] University life, mid-late 19th centry Europe

Setting: Fantasy steampunk setting, but with a mid-late 19th century flavor. Fictional university in a fictional city in a fictional country on a fictional continent that strongly resembles Europe. This city is a fairly major cultural and industrial center, but not a political capital.

I'm looking for general information on what life was like for university students and professors during the mid to late 19th century. I do need a basic grounding in how the academic system itself worked, so I'm not working off stupid assumptions, but what I really desperately need to know is things like where and how they lived, what they did in their spare time, usual state of finances (roughly speaking), etc.

I am not currently basing things on a specific country (though I may wind up doing so) but I would prefer not to be making things up out of whole cloth and then having it not make sense, so I'd like to have a basis in some sort of reality. I assume things varied somewhat from country to country (and from one university to the next) but at this point in story development I can pick whatever setup is convenient to plot and characters, so I'm casting my net wide.

My internet searches have been stymied because adding "university" or "professor" to any search does not, in fact, narrow down the results to things about universities or professors, and rather gives me a lot of general history BY professor so-and-so or articles referencing something published but such and such university. The librarian at the local branch library ran into the same problem searching the databases. Recommendations for specific books I can request from the regional network or interlibrary loan would be great. Advice on better search strategies would also be good.

I cannot remember what I explicitly stated about the search, but I'm pretty sure I forgot to mention that at the library, we tried searching books by subject, which eventually got us a few books about the history of higher education in America but nothing about Europe. I just did a similar search through a major library not in that network and found this baby:

So I'll be checking that out tomorrow. (Or rather, getting it from the delivery desk and then spend hours reading it in-library), which will hopefully bring me up to speed on general background and give me a better idea about what I additionally need to research.

But, you know, if anyone has any other suggestions, I would still be very grateful :)
Additionally, my wife suggested that I find fiction written in the 19th century set at an appropriate university written by authors who had attended university. Any suggestions on that front?
Tags: 1800s (no decades given), europe (misc), europe: history

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