Etiquette in Silver Fork Fiction

The Victorianist: BAVS Postgraduates

Abigail Boucher is a final-year PhD candidate at the University of Glasgow. Her research focuses on representations of the aristocratic body in Victorian Literature. The full project upon which this post is based (“Silver Fork Etiquette: Elite Manners and Philistine Faux Pas in the Early 19th Century”) can be found here. This project was completed as part of the Hunterian Associates Programme at the University of Glasgow. All quotations come from books held at the University of Glasgow’s Special Collections.

‘Silver fork’ fiction (also called ‘fashionable’ fiction) was a popular genre from the 1820s to the 1840s, which is hardly studied at all today. One of the primary purposes of silver fork fiction was to provide middle-class readers with an inside view to high society, with each novel giving semi-satirical guides for upper class behaviour. This advice covers all aspects of aristocratic life, from clothing and beauty…

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