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Private Arrangements -- "Shagadelic"

 
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hoconnor



Joined: 07 Apr 2007
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 8:02 am    Post subject: Private Arrangements -- "Shagadelic" Reply with quote

Okay, the book doesn't use the word shagadelic but it does use "shag" quite a lot and every time I see it, I think Austin Powers. I've never seen the term in a historical before. Methinks it is not exactly historically accurate. Am I right? Did it bug anyone else? I don't think I've seen this subject mentioned in threads before.
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Sunita



Joined: 29 Sep 2007
Posts: 134

PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sherry Thomas answers this question in a guest post on another review/blog site. She found a source that dates the word back to 1788. I found the following:


Quote:
Shag is first recorded in the late eighteenth century, in the second edition of Captain Francis Grose's Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, defined as "to copulate." Through the nineteenth century, the word was apparently considered quite vulgar; it is only found in underground or privately printed books (such as Pearl, a pornographic newsletter published in 1879 and 1880). However there are several American examples during this period. Shag is said to have been common in the speech of British soldiers in World War One, where it may have been further exposed to Americans. It isn't until the post-WWII period, though, that it begins to appear openly in general writings.


I find it hard to believe that the liberal use of swear words and slang was commonplace in conversations between 19th century upper class men and women. I've read some Victorian pornography, and I've never seen the word shag used, either in the narrative or in dialogue. That doesn't mean it didn't happen, obviously. I just don't think swearing or using slang in mixed company was as common then as some current novels are suggesting. I see it one of those instances where the fact that something *could* be done didn't mean it *was*. JHMO, of course.
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hoconnor



Joined: 07 Apr 2007
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, that's helpful. I think it was the multiple references that got me. Hearing it once or twice I let it go but when the word use started stacking up, it started to get to me more.
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Susan/DC



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 9:45 pm    Post subject: To shag Reply with quote

I haven't read the book yet (it's in my TBR pile), but is the word used between the H/H in part precisely because it is somewhat transgressive? That is, does the hero show his anger or the heroine her contempt by using a word that normally would not be used by people of their class when speaking to the other gender?
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Sunita



Joined: 29 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could argue that the first use of the word was intended to be insulting or jarring. But the next three aren't. The second use is in the heroine's expression of her own thoughts, and the third and fourth refer to a conversation between the ex-lover and the heroine that appeared to have been quite pleasant (it's recounted by the heroine). So overall the word is being used straightforwardly, without double meanings.

In generally, I really enjoy Thomas's prose style. But even though I had read that this use of "shag" dated to the 18th century, the phrase "I shagged you to a fare-thee-well" in the first chapter threw me. At the very least, it's an awkward combination of old and new terminology.
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JaneO



Joined: 17 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"But even though I had read that this use of "shag" dated to the 18th century, the phrase "I shagged you to a fare-thee-well" in the first chapter threw me. At the very least, it's an awkward combination of old and new terminology."

But what word would you use in place of "shagged"? I can't think of one that would work the same way.[/quote]
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JaneO wrote:
"But even though I had read that this use of "shag" dated to the 18th century, the phrase "I shagged you to a fare-thee-well" in the first chapter threw me. At the very least, it's an awkward combination of old and new terminology."

But what word would you use in place of "shagged"? I can't think of one that would work the same way.
[/quote]



Heh...if the author were Susan Johnson, he'd just use the word 'fucked" and be done with it, especially, Johnnie from OUtlaw or Adam from Pure Sin. I think maybe Etienne (Forbidden) was too much a gentleman to speak that way. Now the f-word has been around much longer than "shag".
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Sunita



Joined: 29 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
But what word would you use in place of "shagged"? I can't think of one that would work the same way.


He could have channeled Balogh and said "rode." I think we would have figured it out. Smile

I wouldn't use that particular sentence at all. As Xina wrote, at least f***ed has an old and established usage that would fit there, if the point was to be self-consciously crude. Or there are plenty of ways to convey the same thing, using wit, irony, and/or contempt, without invoking swear words.

Also, I kept digging on "fare-thee-well" and Cassell's Dictionary of Slang dates this type of usage as 20th C American. The origin of the phrase is much earlier, of course, but that usage means goodbye. I'm assuming from the context here that it is meant to be the later usage: to a state of perfection or thoroughly and completely. [/quote]
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Laura V



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sunita wrote:
the phrase "I shagged you to a fare-thee-well" in the first chapter threw me. At the very least, it's an awkward combination of old and new terminology.

Sunita wrote:
I kept digging on "fare-thee-well" and Cassell's Dictionary of Slang dates this type of usage as 20th C American. The origin of the phrase is much earlier, of course, but that usage means goodbye. I'm assuming from the context here that it is meant to be the later usage: to a state of perfection or thoroughly and completely.


I'm from the UK and when I read the phrase "I shagged you to a fare-thee-well" in an excerpt I had no idea what it was supposed to mean. As far as I knew, "fare thee well" was a way of saying "goodbye," so I assumed it meant that he shagged her until she said goodbye, or as a way of saying goodbye (the latter seemed to fit the context, as he then left her, but I still felt as though the meaning of the sentence was eluding me, somehow).

I think you're right, Sunita, that the usage of "fare-thee-well" isn't UK English. According to the Oxford English Dictionary "to a fare-you-well" means "to the last point; to the utmost degree; completely" and it's described as being "U.S. colloq.". Maybe one could assume that the hero's vocabulary has been affected by his stay in the US? The earliest example listed by the OED is from 1884.
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't use that particular sentence at all. As Xina wrote, at least f***ed has an old and established usage that would fit there, if the point was to be self-consciously crude. Or there are plenty of ways to convey the same thing, using wit, irony, and/or contempt, without invoking swear words.



And that is why I mentioned Susan Johnson as an author who may write that as the hero's reply. Many of her earlier heroes (haven't read much of her latest work) did use crude language when they were angry with the heroine and I think in Johnson's books the reader sort of expected that and wasn't shocked. I'm not sure all authors could pull that off, or would even want to. Sometimes Johnson used the word in erotic love play and other times the hero used it to make the act seem like it wasn't all about the love. Most times, from what I remember, the heroine wasn't shocked or hurt by it. Her heroines were make of pretty strong stuff back then.
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Sunita



Joined: 29 Sep 2007
Posts: 134

PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
And that is why I mentioned Susan Johnson as an author who may write that as the hero's reply. Many of her earlier heroes (haven't read much of her latest work) did use crude language when they were angry with the heroine and I think in Johnson's books the reader sort of expected that and wasn't shocked. I'm not sure all authors could pull that off, or would even want to. Sometimes Johnson used the word in erotic love play and other times the hero used it to make the act seem like it wasn't all about the love.


This makes total sense to me. Even in a society where men didn't swear in mixed company, you can imagine such words being invoked in intimate settings, or to express anger. It's when slang and swear words are used in internal monologues by people who wouldn't ordinarily swear, or in normal mixed conversation, that it takes me out of the story.


Quote:
the usage of "fare-thee-well" isn't UK English. According to the Oxford English Dictionary "to a fare-you-well" means "to the last point; to the utmost degree; completely" and it's described as being "U.S. colloq."


Thanks, Laura V, I was hoping someone like you with a more systematic knowledge of 19th C. English would chime in. There were a few minor phrases and historical questions that nagged at me in the novel, but overall I was sufficiently hooked to ignore them. And when you consider that Thomas is not a native English speaker, AND this is her debut, the accomplishment is all the more impressive.

It seems as if contemporary language patterns in historicals are becoming more common even in novels that feel otherwise authentic. Mary Balogh used the phrase "it beats me" to mean "I don't know" in Simply Magic, and my jaw just dropped. Unless of course it's an old English slang term after all and I'm the ignorant one! It wouldn't be the first time ...
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Janet Mullany



Joined: 12 Apr 2007
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JaneO wrote:

But what word would you use in place of "shagged"? I can't think of one that would work the same way.


I go to the farmyard for inspiration--tup, cover, etc. Very Happy
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xtacy20



Joined: 15 Jan 2008
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was reading The Beast by Judith Ivory this week and the hero uses this line "shagged you to a fare-thee-well" also. Maybe this is where Sherry Thomas picked it up? The two books seemed to be set in roughly the same time period.
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