Thursday, March 8, 2007

Horse Drawn Carriages: A Glossary

One of the great problems for a modern reader of nineteenth century fiction, is that the characters use terms to describe everyday things which we no longer have. I remember reading Jane Austen and being amazed by the number of names they seemed to have for horse drawn carriages. It is a shame that wikipedia did not exist at the time, for a handy list is available here.
I wonder what the equivalent will be in 150 years time: a character who refers to a Blackberry, iPod, mobile, cell-phone, PDA, Laptop? 'Whatever can they be on about?' the future reader will ask, only for his armchair to reply in a very human voice; 'Do you really want me to go into all that?'


Stewart Wills said...


Spot on, Chris!

Kara said...

You might enjoy "What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist-The Facts of Daily Life in Nineteenth-Century England"

Wonderful book!

ChrisHughes said...

Stewart: glad to provoke a chuckle, as I will be listening to your landmark recording of Moby Dick, as soon as the Trollope rides off into the distance, tucked up on a cosy Landau.
Kara: Thanks for the tip - I have amazoned it. I wondered if "What Paris Hilton Ate and Britney Spears knew" will turn out to be a similarly fascinating volume.