Friday, 11 March 2016

Stranger Than Fiction: Swearing

A lot of newer gritty fantasy introduced swearing to fantasy worlds, which can sometimes bump you out of the narrative if the words aren't used carefully.  They help make books feel more real - after all, most people swear to some extent.  But what words were used historically, and why were they considered so bad?

David Waid has a short post about historical swearing, which he ended with this video of Melissa Mohr talking about her book Holy Sh*t: A History of the English Language in Four Letters at the Politics and Prose bookstore.  It's a fascinating talk (only 17 minutes + some Q&A).  She goes over how privacy affected what words are considered taboo, and why religious and body obscenities have so much power.

I really want to read this book now.

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