How to write like a 17th century doctor

Mark CK researched doctor's journals and writings from the 17th and 18th centuries while working on a book about pirate surgeons and reports back with a guide to writing in the style of the day, which involves a lot of bad Latin, irregular spelling, and extra letters used as emphasis.

Of course, English spelling hadn't been standardized at the time, but that doesn't explain doctors' penchant for spelling the same word three different ways in a single paragraph. And the recourse to Latinified words was surely just showing off an expensive education; likewise, randomly using "eth" as a past-tense suffix was probably just about sprinkling Biblical gravitas around.

9. Occasionally run the letters 'o' & 'e' together in the Latin fashion to form 'œ' as well as running 'a' & 'e' together to form 'æ.' The 'æ' is more common than the 'œ.' It often appears at the beginning of words that have no reason to have one or the other letters, which looks like 'Æ.' So you might decide to say, "Æ ate eht pices of pi" or " I æte eyt peeces of pye." However, don't overuse this because " Æ æte æyt pæces of pæ" just looks silly.

10. Make some of the words ending with an 'ess' sound positively biblical by adding 'eth' to the end of them. So, for example, 'suffice' becomes 'sufficeth' or (even better) 'sufeyceth.'

11. Some authors use apostrophes, others didn't. Many used them, but not correctly and certainly not consistently. So feel free to randomly toss some apostrophes into your text as the mood suits you. (Which is not all that different than the way many people do it today. Your author included. Ahem.)

12. If you want to change to the opposite meaning of a word, throw an 'un' at the beginning of it. For example, if you wanted to talk about someone not wearing a cloth, you could write 'He unwore the cloath.'

Instructions for Writing in 17th/18th Century Style (via Ellen Kushner)

(Image: Traveling Scriptorium)