By Josephine Richstad

Josephine Richstad is a writer and editor temporarily living in central New York. Her dissertation on fashionable novels did not land her an academic job, but she did recently update her blog.

  1. A quick fiddle with the Google ngram tool shows a rapid spike in the use of the word “exclusive” just before the 1840s. That’s because, at some point in the 1820s and for some reason that no one can quite explain--more newspapers? better roads? new money?--it became fashionable to be fashionable. Governed neither quite by money nor quite by status, this new type of society was solely and tautologically concerned with being in, which…

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