Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fourteen, Fifteen, Sixteen...

We're winding down our Nineteen Reasons why We Love the Nineteenth Century series this week, so post a comment explaining what you love about it and be entered in a drawing to win a genuine 19th century fashion print...or if you'd rather, let us know what topics you like us to discuss over the next months and you just might win a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card.

14. The slang: Did you read the series of posts I did over the summer about 19th century slang? Then you'll probably agree that for sheer inventiveness without resorting to obscenities, the nineteenth century had it all over modern times when it comes to slang. From mushrooms to cat lap, chicken nabobs to caper merchants, and whipt syllabub to kickshaws, you just have to admire its creativity.

15. The books: I'm not talking about the content here--I mean the actual physical objects. Books were beautifully bound in leather, decorated with exquisite gold leafing, adorned with facings of elegant marbled paper and gilt edgings. often with a silk ribbon bookmark bound in...truly works of art. And so much more satisfactory than today's mass-market paperbacks--so much more presence, such heft and gravity--don't you think?

16. Coming out: On the bad side, you had girls who'd barely spoken to a male outside of family and servants being plunged into the social scene of London or the other large cities of Britain to look for husbands, girls who one month were in the schoolroom and the next month being presented at court...imagine what that was like. On the good side, those girls got to play Cinderella in real life, and understood that once they came out, they were adults and had to conduct themselves as such....whereas today adolescence can sometimes linger well into the twenties. But the clincher is, of course, that what would we writers of historical fiction do without the whole coming out phenomenon to write about?

6 comments:

Amee said...

I did a paper on slang for a composition course once. It was very interesting! They had much better slang back then than we do now.

Addie said...

Ohhh! The coming out parties! I wish we came out now in this era. It would be so much fun to be presented to the queen (or First Lady I suppose)! That would be lovely if you could have more on that.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE the books back then. All those classics!

+ Evan S.

briaspage said...

All these reasons are wonderful! I love the smell of books bound in leather.

And, I think I've dated some guys in their 30's who are still lingering....

QNPoohBear said...

I'd really like to see a post dedicated to bluestockings and other daring women. You mentioned where the Bluestocking would shop and some of what she would read. Penelope and Persephone and the ladies of La Petite Four are all modern women. Maybe you can highlight some real life examples?

QNPoohBear said...

I have a few more suggestions for topics:
Celebrities/idols - whoever the young ladies were swooning over, like Byron

Social and cultural institutions open to young ladies - places they were allowed to go when they weren't going to balls, parties and routs.

Games/activities young ladies played/did i.e. Emma enjoys conundrums