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Noblesse Oblige -An Enquiry into the Identifiable Characteristics of the English Aristocracy by Nancy Mitford
Until 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 a year earlier, claimed that the upper classes were 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 Evelyn Waugh, “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 poeticises on the theme.
A hardcover copy with dark blue boards, silver lettering and clipped illustrated dust cover. There is foxing and toning throughout but the text and black-and-white sketches are clear and legible. There is some rubbing and tearing to the edges of the dust jacket. There is a previous owner’s blue ink inscription on the inside front page. Illustrated by Osbert Lancaster.
Now in a clear removable plastic cover to protect from damage.
Publisher: Hamish Hamilton, London.
Publication Date: 1956.
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