Victorian Era Bunburying

Bunburying : Avoiding one’s duties and responsibilities by claiming to have appointments to see a fictitious person.

There are certain terms which get added to the dictionary at different points of time. There have been different periods in the history of English literature. New words get admitted in almost every period. One of the most important and popular periods of English history is the Victorian period.

This was the period of reason and logic and lots of people tried to do something new in this period. One of the popular terms that were invented during the Victorian period was bunbury. This term has been used in some of the novels and drama of that period.

Origin of Bunburying

Victorian era bunburying can be found in the drama Importance of Being Earnest written by Oscar Wilde. The meaning of this term is to make some excuse to get out of something very boring. The Victorian society was quite formal and people used to have different kinds of engagements.

There were certain young men who used to get out of all these engagements with the help of bunburying. This term was first found in the drama written by Oscar Wilde and the word became popular instantly.

Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde introduced ‘Bunburying’

In the drama, the term is used by Jack, who is one of the main characters of this play. He creates another character called bunbury who he says is his friend. Jack tells everybody that his friend bunbury is actually sick and this is the reason why he needs to visit him during the weekends.

But the truth in the play is that there is no friend with that name. He has created this friend so that he can get rid of the boredom of the countryside and can spend some good time somewhere else.

Bunburying became quite popular and this was even practiced in the society. Bunburying in Victorian era originated in London. The people of this period used many other methods to get rid of this boredom.

But this was one of the most popular as well as funny method. This term also had a homosexual reference linked to it. Oscar Wilde quite intelligently introduced this term to the Victorian society. The society readily accepted the term because it was quite easy and attractive.

This became one of the best ways to enjoy life during the Victorian period. The play The Importance of Being Earnest used this term as a satire to mock those people who actually lied to the society to enjoy themselves.

Found info useful?