The word 'anachronism', meaning 'something out of harmony with the present' was first recorded in 1816. I write Regency, and one of my fave sites is my Online Etymology Dictionary. When I'm writing, I'll often refer to it to check the word or phrase I'm using was actually in use during the time period I'm writing (1810-1820). For example, did you know 'Grandfather clock' was not in use until 1876? That puts it way out of sync for my Regency time period, when such clocks were referred to as tall case or long case clocks (or even eight day clocks). Historical accuracy is important!
Which brings me back to Tarzan. Apologies to my more sensitive readers, but 'screw you' wasn't recorded as being used as an euphemistic exclamation until 1949. Come on, writers - get it right!
One of my fave movies is 'Austenland', about a Mr Darcy-loving American who goes to England to stay at a special resort for the Austen-obsessed. (Don't laugh - you can stay at Georgian House Parties in Britain, where people dress up and try to recreate a time of manners and empire-waist gowns - and no flushing toilets!)
One of my favourite lines in the film is when our heroine, Jane (of course!), is confronted with a lecherous older man, and she's forced to resort to some ninja moves, whilst yelling 'this is so not Regency appropriate!'
I read a lot of Regency novels, secular and Christian, and I can't help but feel this describes many (secular) books, with their emphasis on titillation. Yes, I know Jane Austen included naughty characters such as Lydia Bennett and Maria Bertram, but she gave them appropriate consequences for stepping out of the moral code of the day. So many modern authors seem to succumb to the lowest denominator in order to appeal to a broader market - even when it's 'so not Regency appropriate!'
Sometimes it can be a difficult line to walk between historical accuracy and the tastes of modern readers. I hope that the many layers of editing my novels have undergone have weeded out the anachronisms, and show the research undertaken to create a degree of authenticity. Because writers are like filmmakers, hoping to create something where people can suspend their disbelief and enjoy another place and time, without being pulled out of the experience by an anachronistic phrase or event - or Margot Robbie's split skirt!
How about you? Any films (or novels) you can recall with anachronistic moments?
Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. A longtime lover of romance, especially that of the Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her Regency novel 'The Elusive Miss Ellison' will be published in the US by Kregel in February 2017. She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.
Connect with her: www.carolynmiller.org