10 Ridiculous Victorian Etiquette Rules

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Mansplain, Dumpster Fire: The Dictionary Just Got (850 Words) Bigger

Mansplain, Dumpster Fire: The Dictionary Just Got (850 Words) Bigger

Merriam-Webster has added 850 words to its online dictionary. Learn more about new words for 2018 in this HowStuffWorks article.

Author's Note: 10 Ridiculous Victorian Etiquette Rules

In Whit Stillman's film "Metropolitan," the protagonist argues that "nearly everything Jane Austen wrote is near ridiculous from today's perspective," to which another replies, "Has it ever occurred to you that today looked at from Jane Austen's perspective would look even worse?" As an admirer of Jane Austen, I'm not one to necessarily dismiss the importance of a social rule simply because it seems ridiculous out of context of time and culture. It's easy to (and often nearly impossible not to) laugh at foregone customs. But examining these customs will tell you a lot about a culture and what has changed, for better or for worse.

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  • Carpenter, Lucien O. "Universal Dancing Master." VictorianWeb.Org. 1880. (April 29, 2015) http://www.victorianweb.org/history/Etiquette.html
  • Cassell, Ltd. "Cassell's Household Guide: Being a Complete Encyclopedia of Domestic and Social Economy, and Forming a Guide to Every Department of Practical Life." Cassell, Ltd., 1869. (April 23, 2015) https://books.google.com/books?id=L0sCAAAAQAAJ
  • Goodman, Ruth. "How to Be a Victorian." Liveright Publishing Corp. 2013.
  • King, Greg. "Twilight of Splendor: The Court of Queen Victoria During Her Diamond Jubilee Year." John Wiley & Sons. June 4, 2007. (April 29, 2015) https://books.google.com/books?id=tNa57nc2S0wC
  • Phegley, Jennifer. "Courtship and Marriage in Victorian England." ABC-CLIO. Nov. 30, 2011. (April 29, 2015) https://books.google.com/books?id=jYL9cPE_M5EC
  • Pool, Daniel. "What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew." Simon & Schuster. 1993.

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