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WHAT IS REGENCY? By Blair Bancroft - page 7 / 10





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a homosexual relationship, is acceptable. I would still recommend keeping any members of the nobility away from vulgar behavior. It simply wasn’t the way things were. If vulgarity seems necessary to you, then its use must be justified.

Style—Traditional Regency. The elusive effervescent style of the traditional Regency is a combination of many things: the use of the subtle humor, droll characterizations; precise language with the extensive vocabulary of the well-educated; authentic details, such as correct clothing, furniture, social clubs; small-scale drama, such as family conflicts and social dilemmas. Vulgar characters and vulgar manners can appear only if they are part of a certain person’s characterization. Vulgarity and lack of manners are never allowed in the hero, heroine, or any of the “good guys” among their family and friends.

If done correctly, all these elements add up to a magical effervescence, a glorious depiction of a time gone by when men were noble, ladies were charming, and honor was an important word. No one of the above—for example, getting the details right—will suffice by itself. The whole picture of the Regency world depends on getting the “feel” of the era correct, not just the details. Painting on a broad canvas, if you will, rather than getting the correct manufacturer of the silver epergne on the dining table.

Style - Regency-set Historicals. Humor and good characterizations are important here as well, although humor is not an absolute requirement. Since Historicals are longer, there’s more room for secondary characters and even a sub-plot. But, as mentioned above, language is very different. While avoiding obvious anachronisms and throwing in just enough Regency language to add a dash of flavor, the English is basically modern, the sentence structure more four-square. Shorter, more direct than in traditional Regencies. The vocabulary does not stretch the imagination or make the reader wrinkle her nose and say, “Huh?” As mentioned above, the drama, the conflicts, are usually stronger, more hard-hitting. They frequently involve people or situations outside the family. They can even be national, or international, in scale. In Historicals, vulgar characters or vulgar manners can appear, the language of

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