Noblesse Oblige: An Enquiry Into the Identifiable Characteristics of the English Aristocracy

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Oxford University Press, 2002 - Aristocracy (Social class) - 106 pages
The Great U and Non-U DebateUntil Nancy Mitford wrote 'The English Aristocracy' in 1955, England was blissfully unconscious of U-Usage and its lethal implications. The phenomenon of 'Upper-Class English Usage' had, it is true, already been remarked upon by Professor Alan Ross who, in an academic paper printed in Helsinki ayear earlier, claimed that the upper classes now distinguished solely by their use of language, but it was the Honourable Mrs. Peter Rodd (as she was addressed by U-speaker Evelyn Waugh, Esq.) who first let the cat out of the bag. Her article sparked off a public debate joined vigorously by EvelynWaugh, 'Strix', and Christopher Sykes, whose counterblasts are collected here. Osbert Lancaster, caricaturist of English manners, takes the debate into the visual dimension, and John Betjeman poeticizes on the theme with characteristic charm:Phone for the fish-knives NormanAs Cook is a little unnerved;You kiddies have crumpled the serviettes And I must have things daintily served. A new introduction by Ned Sherrin reveals more of the articles and correspondences that were generated by the debate, in his inimitably entertaining fashion.

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User Review  - wealhtheowwylfing - LibraryThing

Squashed between fat books of grammar I found [book: Noblesse Oblige], a set of essays on English colloquialisms and class in the twentieth century. The Hon. Mrs. Peter Rodd (aka Nancy Mitford)'s ... Read full review

NOBLESSE OBLIGE: An Enquiry Into The Identifiable Characteristics Of The English Aristocracy (oxford Language Classics)

User Review  - Kirkus

A transatlantic import consists of six pieces, along with an introduction by Russell Lynes, and primarily Nancy Mitford's article The English A which had an aroused and/or amused response, led to more ... Read full review

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About the author (2002)

Nancy Mitford (1904-73), born in London, was the daughter of the 2nd Baron Redesdale. She became well known for her novels The Pursuit of Love (1945), Love in a Cold Climate (1949), The Blessing (1951), and Don't Tell Alfred (1960). After World War II she moved to France and wrote biographiesof Madame de Pompadour, Voltaire, Louis XVI, and Frederick the Great. As one of the essayists in and the editor of Noblesse Oblige (first published 1956) she helped to establish the 'U' (upper-class) and 'non-U' classification of linguistic usage and behaviour.

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