To mark the 100th episode of the Allusionist, here’s a celebratory parade of language-related facts.Read More
“There are two ways to say ‘The future is now’: you can say it optimistically, like, ‘The future is now! Isn't that cool?’ Or you could be like, ‘The future is now, and we're totally screwed.’” Rose Eveleth, of the future-envisioning podcast Flash Forward, tracks the past and present of one of her favourite phrases.Read More
Charles Dickens wrote about the plight of the impoverished and destitute members of British society. So how come his name is a synonym for rosy-cheeked, full-stomached, fattened-goose, hearty merry "God bless us every one" Christmas?
Avery Trufelman and Katie Mingle of 99% Invisible report from the streets of Victorian London at the annual Dickens Christmas Fair in Daly City, California, while historian Greg Jenner explains the origins of the festive traditions for which Dickens gets the credit, without even wanting the credit - in fact, his motivation for writing A Christmas Carol was far from a cash-in on Christmas.Read More
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Your online dating profile is the latest spin on a 300-year-old tradition of advertising yourself in order to find a spouse, a sexual partner, or someone to take care of your pigs.
Francesca Beauman, author of Shapely Ankle Preferr’d: A History of the Lonely Hearts Ad, digs into lonely hearts ads to see how British society and desires have evolved over the past three centuries.
WARNING: Some of the content is a little saucy, but not, like, swimming in sauce.
- Reviews of hundreds of different dating sites? You got it.
- I love reading the Blind Dates in the Guardian each Saturday, and The Guyliner’s dissection thereof shortly afterwards.
- Atlas Obscura tests the Victorian seduction technique of reading aloud.
- Not so much a lonely heart ad as a curious soul ad, but it resulted in one of the most intriguing books I’ve ever read: The Life Swap by Nancy Weber. Read about it here (NB spoilers).
- Warlock: offensive term?
- The transcript of this episode is at theallusionist.org/transcripts/wltm-i.
A WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS:
2. Our generous benefactors Squarespace.com want to help you realise your online dreams in the form of beautiful, well-designed websites. To get 10% off yours for the first year plus a domain thrown in, use the code ALLUSION at checkout. Unlike my mug of a husband.
MAILCHIMP'S RANDOMLY SELECTED WORD FROM THE DICTIONARY:
- Find Francesca Beauman at francescabeauman.com and buy her books, including the excellent Shapely Ankle Preferr’d, from your usual book-buying places.
- This episode was produced by me, Helen Zaltzman.
- Martin Austwick provided all the music.
- Matthew Crosby provided his voice.
- Allusionist listeners provided their dating profiles, for which I am extremely grateful.
- WLTM you at facebook.com/allusionistshow, twitter.com/allusionistshow and twitter.com/helenzaltzman.
This is a two-parter, and the second half is an absolute belter, so return next week to hear it.