BookLovers of Bath

Beautiful books… for beautiful people…

Noblesse Oblige: An Enquiry Into the Identifiable Characteristics of the English Aristocracy - Edited by Nancy Mitford

Hamish Hamilton, 1957, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Good — in Good Dust Wrapper. Unlaminated dust wrapper a little edgeworn and faded with short closed tears to the head and foot of the lower panel. Leans. Gently bruised at the head, tail and corners of the binding. Edges of the text block lightly spotted. Previous owners' inscription to the first blank.

6th impression. [First Edition: 1956] Written by Alan S. C. Ross; Nancy Mitford; Evelyn Waugh; ‘Strix’; Christopher Sykes; John Betjeman;

From the cover: “Until Miss Nancy Mitford wrote on ‘The English Aristocracy’ in Encounter, England was blissfully unconscious of ‘U-Usage’ and all its lethal implications. The reverberations of that article spread rapidly from London throughout the British Isles, county and otherwise, and soon provided conversational pabulum at the U and non-U dinner-tables of English-speaking Paris and New York.

It all started from a paper written by Professor Alan Ross of Birmingham University, printed in Helsinki in 1954, on ‘Upper-Class English Usage’. The Professor pointed out that it is solely by their language that the upper classes nowadays are distinguished (since they are neither cleaner, richer, nor better-educated than anybody else) and invented the useful formula: U (for upper class) speaker versus non-U speaker. He then gave examples from the vocabulary of each and some of these are quoted in the article which Miss Mitford based on his treatise.

Miss Mitford’s article was in due course implemented by ‘Strix’ in the Spectator; attacked by Mr. Evelyn Waugh in Encounter; and became responsible for incidents in the Guards’ Club, where certain unregenerate members continued to use the non-U expression ‘cheers’ before drinking.”


Jacket designed by Osbert Lancaster. Illustrated by Osbert Lancaster. Size: 8" x 5¼". Blue boards with Silver titling to the Spine. 114 pages.
£20.00

This one has already found a new owner.