Saturday, September 24, 2011

Some background

Some background on charades: this type of riddle started in France. When they were introduced in England in 1775 or 1776, critics gave them unfavorable (but funny) reviews. One described them as:

“. . . a wretched species of writing, which certain frivolous females lately imported among other frippery fashions from France. Like most other articles of French manufacture, however, it does not appear adapted to the wear of this country.”

They became highly popular anyway, appearing in letters, magazines, books, and on the folding fans of the period. When a magazine published them, readers often competed to supply the correct answer in rhyming form. If readers are interested, I’ll post an example or two.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

nice description and delightfully chauvenistically British....

I for one would be interested in the clever rhyming answers; most of the charades are too clever for me, and to be able to answer them in rhyme as well shows how much more used were our ancestors to being clever with words than we are encouraged to be today, when precis and txt are the orders of the day.... may I say how I hate 3llt by the way.