Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Repeat After Me, Class..."Ruritania"

I learned a new word today at The Trease Project. While referring to one of Geoffrey Trease's books, blogger Farah Mendlesohn writes, "This is a ruritania, set in an unknown Latin American country."

I must admit, at first I thought "ruritania" was some kind of typo. But I looked it up and it's for real. As used at The Trease Project, it means a "setting of adventure, romance, and intrigue." It is derived from the name of the setting of some books by Anthony Hope, including The Prisoner of Zenda.

Don't ruritanias appear quite frequently in fantasy novels? I'm thinking of a number of Shannon Hale's books, for instance.

My own favorite ruritania is Moldavia, scene of the Moldavian Massacre on Dynasty.

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