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

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

Nancy Mitford Osbert Lancaster
3.7/5 (317 ratings)
This collection of essays started with Nancy Mitford's article “The English Aristocracy”, published in 1955 in the magazine Encounter. The expressions “U” and “Non-U” came to prominence in this article, which sold out the edition of the magazine immediately after publication. The article caused a great deal of light-hearted controversy. The book was published one year later. There is sharp disagreement among the U's who have contributed to this book.

Considered one of the most gifted comic writers of her time, Nancy Mitford said she wrote the article about her peers “In order to demonstrate the upper middle class does not merge imperceptibly into the middle class”. She said differences of speech distinguish the members of one social class in England from another.

Unabashedly snobbish and devastatingly witty, Miss Mitford achieved enormous success and popularity as one of Britain's most piercing observers of social manners... Indeed, one of Miss Mitford's pet concerns entered the history of obscure literary debates when, in 1955, she published perhaps her most famous essay on upper-class and non-upper- class forms of speech. The essay sparked such a controversy in Britain, with responses from many major literary figures, that Miss Mitford was compelled a year later to bring out a thin book, "Noblesse Oblige," with her disquisition on the subject as its centerpiece. Her argument, a set-piece even today among literary parlor games, was that the more elegant euphemism used for any word is usually the non-upperclass thing to say--or, in Miss Mitford's words, simply non-U.
Pages
156
Format
Paperback
Publisher
Atheneum
Release
April 01, 1986
ISBN
0689707045
ISBN 13
9780689707049

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

Nancy Mitford Osbert Lancaster
3.7/5 (317 ratings)
This collection of essays started with Nancy Mitford's article “The English Aristocracy”, published in 1955 in the magazine Encounter. The expressions “U” and “Non-U” came to prominence in this article, which sold out the edition of the magazine immediately after publication. The article caused a great deal of light-hearted controversy. The book was published one year later. There is sharp disagreement among the U's who have contributed to this book.

Considered one of the most gifted comic writers of her time, Nancy Mitford said she wrote the article about her peers “In order to demonstrate the upper middle class does not merge imperceptibly into the middle class”. She said differences of speech distinguish the members of one social class in England from another.

Unabashedly snobbish and devastatingly witty, Miss Mitford achieved enormous success and popularity as one of Britain's most piercing observers of social manners... Indeed, one of Miss Mitford's pet concerns entered the history of obscure literary debates when, in 1955, she published perhaps her most famous essay on upper-class and non-upper- class forms of speech. The essay sparked such a controversy in Britain, with responses from many major literary figures, that Miss Mitford was compelled a year later to bring out a thin book, "Noblesse Oblige," with her disquisition on the subject as its centerpiece. Her argument, a set-piece even today among literary parlor games, was that the more elegant euphemism used for any word is usually the non-upperclass thing to say--or, in Miss Mitford's words, simply non-U.
Pages
156
Format
Paperback
Publisher
Atheneum
Release
April 01, 1986
ISBN
0689707045
ISBN 13
9780689707049

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