If you think about the 1960s, a particular fashion, hairdo, language, and attitude come to mind. The 1980s and 1990s are no different. In fact, it seems as though each decade has its own unique style and slang. At the turn of the century, author Andrew Forrester, whose real name was James Redding Ware, took advantage of this unique concept and wrote Passing English of the Victorian Era: A Dictionary of Heterodox English Slang and Phrase.
It was published in 1909 and included "Thousands of words and phrases in existence in 1870 [that]have drifted away, or changed their forms, or been absorbed, while as many have been added or are being added."
Andrew Forrester details words that are delightful, funny, or informative. He introduced the book writing "Passing English ripples from countless sources, forming a river of new language which has its tide and its ebb, while its current brings down new ideas and carries away those that have dribbled out of fashion."
Can you define this Victorian slang? Maybe we should bring some of these words back into conversations?!
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James Redding Ware did not only write Passing English of the Victorian Era: A Dictionary of Heterodox English Slang and Phrase. He also composed the first fictional female detective character. The book was appropriately titled The Female Detective and was penned under the same pseudonym of Andrew Forrester. It was published in 1864 and paved the way for other female detectives to emerge later in the 20th century including Nancy Drew and Miss Marple.
James Redding Ware was born in London in 1832. He passed away at the turn of the century in 1909, but not before he wrote a plethora of books including Before the Bench: Sketches of Police Court Life, Wonderful Dreams of Remarkable Men and Women, and Mistaken Identities: Celebrated Cases of Undeserved Suffering, Self-deception, and Wilful Imposture along with a handful of other books. His very last book was Passing English of the Victorian Era: A Dictionary of Heterodox English Slang and Phrase the last recorded year of his life.
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