Victorian vocabularies: refereed proceedings of the 2012 Australasian Victorian studies conference

Edited book


Gildersleeve, Jessica (ed.) 2013. Victorian vocabularies: refereed proceedings of the 2012 Australasian Victorian studies conference. Australia. Macquarie Lighthouse E-book Publishing.
Book Title

Victorian vocabularies: refereed proceedings of the 2012 Australasian Victorian studies conference

Book CategoryEdited book
ERA Publisher ID2560
EditorsGildersleeve, Jessica
Number of Pages225
Year2013
PublisherMacquarie Lighthouse E-book Publishing
Macquarie University
Place of PublicationAustralia
ISBN9780987161123
Web Address (URL)http://www.academia.edu/5791821/Victorian_Vocabularies_Refereed_Proceedings_of_the_2012_Australasian_Victorian_Studies_Association_Conference
Abstract

One of the most popular pastimes during the long nineteenth century was the word game. Riddles, anagrams and charades figured suitable means of semi-intellectual engagement in polite company; puzzles which relied on puns or double meanings were particularly fashionable. Perhaps the most famous literary examples of such games are from Jane Austen’s Emma (1815), in which word puzzles function as points of testing the boundaries of propriety and social etiquette. In the novel’s first such game, very different responses to a puzzle designed to embarrass Miss Fairfax regarding her romantic affair cause Mr Knightly to be ‘curious to know how [the word] could be so very entertaining to the one, and so very distressing to the other’ (Austen 328). Later, word games provoke Emma’s famously unkind comment at Box Hill, in which she remarks that the elderly spinster, Miss Bates, may have trouble with their game to list ‘three things very dull indeed’ because ‘you will be limited as to number – only three at once’ (347). Austen’s point here is that proficiency with a vocabulary of wit is not necessarily synonymous with a vocabulary of polite or moral behaviour.

ANZSRC Field of Research 2020470504. British and Irish literature
470502. Australian literature (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literature)
470514. Literary theory
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Arts and Communication
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