1. JTheGreat
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    JTheGreat Contributing Member

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    Victorian Honorifics

    Discussion in 'Research' started by JTheGreat, Oct 1, 2010.

    My story is set in a fantasy universe strongly based on Victorian England. From reading a few steampunk books, I've learned that people living in such a society refer to others with their surname and title (like that Mr. Darcy I keep hearing so much about). It's faux-pas to refer to someone with their Christian (given) name before you share a close enough relationship with them.

    I've also learned that this rule doesn't usually apply to children. But, my main characters are in that awkward in-between teenager stage, and are attending a school. What type of name should they refer to other students by? I know since it's a fantasy land such accuracy isn't required. But I really want to give the story that Victorian air, and my world some credibility. Help please!
     
  2. Daisy215
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    Daisy215 Member

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    Well, in Pride and Prejudice you might remember that Jane and Elizabeth are in their teens. They are refered to as Ms. Bennett by strangers and their close friends say their names. They are also called the young ms. Bennett's when grouped together. Hope that helps.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Try googling Victorian etiquette forms of address
     
  4. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    In public i.e. private schools in England it is STILL usual for boys to call each other by a surname. If there are brothers, they are known as e.g. Smythe 1, Smythe 2 etc. My uncle was 'Nixon Morris 1' so he was known as 'Swan'. If the kids are related they probably use their first name, but not necessarily.

    For girls, it is normal to use first names, but like with the boys' schools, in my boarding school at least 40% of us had (usually nonsense) nicknames that we went by, like 'Puggins' or something. I was 'Porridge'. A junior girl would use first names for her age group, but 'Miss...' when referring to the girls in the highest classes, in Victorian times.

    It was common until about 80 years ago for a woman to call her husband e.g. 'Mr Wilson' even in private. My grandmother referred to my grandfather as 'Daddy' among the family at home, and 'Dr Nixon Morris' in company. She never used his christian name, in our hearing, anyway.

    I know all this seems archaic, but I'm only 52 and I swear to God I didn't even know my mother's first name until I was about 7. Christian names were not bandied about in English families until the last 20 years or so.
     
  5. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Teenagers are new didn't exist in Victorian times - how people addressed each other in England also depends on their class - a working class or lower child could have been working for a good number of years depending on when in the century and in some cities their average life expectancy would have been 15. Nicknames will have been used as well in a public school enviroment. Minor and Major was also used depending on the school - Roald Dahl's Boy is a good reference
     
  6. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with Elgaisma, It depends on their class.
    Read a couple of the classics by Dickens to get a feel for the times.
     
  7. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Heard a fair bit of that in the state school as well. :p Though more usually it was full names - "Ben Peggs" even if you didn't know any other "Ben"s. The girls didn't do it half as much - there was only one girl I knew who went by her surname (and not first name at all) as a nickname. But the boys were pretty handy with them. :p
     
  8. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Going to agree about Dickens he will give you a good slice right across - also Jane Austen therefore Mr. Darcy is Georgian not Victorian
     

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