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

Gildersleeve, Jessica, ed. (2013) Victorian vocabularies: refereed proceedings of the 2012 Australasian Victorian studies conference. Macquarie Lighthouse E-book Publishing, Australia. ISBN 9780987161123

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.


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Item Type: Book (Commonwealth Reporting Category A)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Arts and Communication
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2016 05:36
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2017 04:56
Fields of Research : 20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2005 Literary Studies > 200503 British and Irish Literature
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2005 Literary Studies > 200502 Australian Literature (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Literature)
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2005 Literary Studies > 200525 Literary Theory
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/29073

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