We’re delighted to have Amanda McCabe/Cormack/Laurel McKee pop in for a quick visit! Here’s her post.
I’m so happy to be posting at the Riskies again today! I miss being here regularly, though it’s fun to still be risky in an honorary way. 🙂 I’ve been very busy lately, having just finished a Regency Christmas story (The Wallflower’s Mistletoe Wedding, out in November!), working on a new 1920s mystery series, planning the next Elizabethan mystery, and plotting a new romance series set in Victorian Paris. I feel like I need a Tardis to take me to every time period where I need to go right now!
I do enjoy getting to explore time periods, discovering how human nature hasn’t changed and never will, and the very different ways people in different times interpret and deal with that nature. There’s always love, anger, greed, family, compassion, sacrifice, power, and it’s fascinating to think about how a person would wield those emotions in a world different from our own. But I also see how all these time periods (Elizabethan, Regency, Victorian, and the 1920s) have something in common with the era we are living through right now—they were moments of vast and swift change in the way the world works and how people deal with those changes.
The Elizabethans were exploring the globe in ways never seen before, as well as being ruled by a woman (!!), dealing with changes in religion and government, and seeing the explosion of the arts in a way never seen before or since.
The Regency was a bridge between the Enlightenment and revolution and the world of the Victorians, a moment of Whiggery and moral openess (at least among the upper classes!) and unpopular monarchies, while the Victorians saw the agrarian way of life that had gone on for centuries shift to cities and new jobs in industry (for better and also for much worse). The railroads and telegraph systems opened the world to common people in a new way as well. Oh, and there was also a woman on the throne again! (A woman who projected a new image of domesticity and respectability, in contrast to her uncles, though she was not such a prude as all that in her real life…)
Right now, I am living in the 1920s, seeing the world through an artist of the period’s eyes. Art was seeing major changes after the Armory Show, and women could now vote, drive cars, have jobs beyond nursing and teaching (or at least the possibility of such things, for the first time). World War I had changed everything.
Of course, there are also fun parts of research, and one of those is finding silly slang to use. For instance:
A silly person could be: “bacon-brained” (in the Regency) or “nerts” (in the 1920s)
Money could be: “blunt” (Regency) or “cake” (1920s)
A spirited woman could be: a “bearcat” (1920s), and “out and outer” (Regency), or “a filly” (Victorian)
Something pleasing is; “Berries!” (1920s), or (my favorite) “bang up to the elephant” (Victorian)
A wallflower could be “a cancelled stamp” (1920s), an engagement ring “handcuffs”
Nonsense could be: “Phonus balonus!” (1920s—I am using this one in real life now!) or “Fustian!” (Regency)
Of course, the best slang always has to do with being drunk. Can you guess the time periods here” “Half seas over,” “Ossified,” “Spiffilicated,” “A trifle disguised,” “Half-rats,” “In one’s cups”. Being on a bender could be “On a toot,” “Top heavy,” or “Benjo.”
What are some of your favorite time periods???