Insult of the Week: Deftly chosen expressions of contempt, the maid edition

From our corpus it seems that even maids were subject to snarky comments about their appearance, often made by their employers. In chapter 1 of H. G Wells’ The Invisible Man, the narrator describes Mrs. Halls’ servant Millie as “her lymphatic maid”: “Mrs. Hall lit the fire and left him there while she went to prepare…

London language in 19th century novels

I pricked up my ears (figuratively speaking) at this intriguing post by Roger Pocock of the Windows into History blog, in which he discusses a list of local words from late 18th and early 19th-century London. This fascinating list was first published in 1803, in Samuel Pegge’s book Anecdotes of the English Language: Chiefly Regarding…

The Knavish System of Scientific Research

In Chapter 19 of H.G Wells’ The Invisible Man (1897), the central character Griffin angrily describes the unscrupulous world of scientific research and speaks of his refusal to share credit with his professor for his discoveries. Instead, he opts to go it alone until his research is ready to take the world by storm… “And…