Today was Jane Austen’s Birthday and as part of the celebrations, I headed out with the Oregon Regency Society for tea. We were all dressed in our nicest afternoon outfits and I decided to drive rather than chance public transit in my white sprigged muslin. One must take such pains when laundering it that I thought the effort saved justified taking the Mercedes out. This is the first time I’ve driven it since my Seattle adventures.
It was such a lovely afternoon that we decided to head to the bookstore afterwards. Miss C– offered to drive us all in her car promising to drop us back at the tea shop afterwards. This was really the first time, outside of a convention, that I’ve gone out in my Regency outfit. It confused the mundane shoppers, I think. They all thought we were off-duty carolers even though caroling is Victorian which is not the same thing as the Regency.
One of the things that’s tricky about writing historical fiction like Shades of Milk and Honeyis getting the vocabulary right. There are a lot of words which are obviously anachronisms but there others which aren’t. Short of looking up every word in a novel, there’s no way to really know if a seemingly innocuous word like “hello” exists yet.
So here’s my planfor Glamour in Glass.
I’ve created a list of all the words that are in the collected works of Jane Austen to use for my spellcheck dictionary. It will flag any word that she didn’t use and I can then look those up to see if it was in use in 1815. It also includes some of Miss Austen’s specific spellings like “shew” and “chuse.”
It won’t be perfect. For instance it won’t flag words whose meanings have changed, like “check” or “staid” but it will be an improvement.
For the curious, there are 14,793 words on the list.
EDITED TO ADD January 19, 2013: I did wind up getting this working and it was a matter of setting my mine language as something other than English, then using the Jane Austen dictionary as the custom spellcheck dictionary for that language. I chose French for my purposes.
Due to the delayed flight, I am once again ensconced on the porch of Merrie Haskell’s lake house and working on revisions to Glamour in Glass. While I am thus engaged, allow me to present to you Emma Thompson’s speech at the Golden Globes when she pretended to be Jane Austen.
When I was trying to decide what garment I wanted to have made to go with my Regency dress, I was waffling between a pelisse and a spencer. I spent a lot of time looking at the book Revolution in Fashion: European Clothing, 1715-1815 which has really gorgeous photos of the Kyoto Costume Institute’s collection. Really, really gorgeous.
We eventually settled on a spencer, but in the course of looking at reference photos I ran across this picture of a pelisse.
Actually, not just any pelisse, but one thought to have been worn by Jane Austen. Take a second and click through to the Jane Austen Centre to read about how they came by the pelisse and why they think it might be something she wore. The article discusses everything from what colors were fashionable to diary references to the pattern of oak leaves on the fabric.
(Tor Books – July 14 2020) Mary Robinette Kowal continues her Hugo and Nebula award-winning Lady Astronaut series, following The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky, with The Relentless Moon. The Earth is coming to the boiling point as the climate disaster of the Meteor strike becomes more and more clear, but the political situation is already overheated. Riots and […]