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

Noblesse Oblige An Enquiry Into the Identifiable Characteristics of the English Aristocracy This collection of essays started with Nancy Mitford s article The English Aristocracy published in in the magazine Encounter The expressions U Upper Class and Non U non Upper Class came to pro

  • Title: Noblesse Oblige: An Enquiry Into the Identifiable Characteristics of the English Aristocracy
  • Author: Nancy Mitford Osbert Lancaster
  • ISBN: 9780689707049
  • Page: 321
  • Format: Paperback
  • This collection of essays started with Nancy Mitford s article The English Aristocracy , published in 1955 in the magazine Encounter The expressions U Upper Class and Non U non Upper Class 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 TheThis collection of essays started with Nancy Mitford s article The English Aristocracy , published in 1955 in the magazine Encounter The expressions U Upper Class and Non U non Upper Class 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 elegant euphemism used for any word is usually the non upperclass thing to say or, in Miss Mitford s words, simply non U.

    One thought on “Noblesse Oblige: An Enquiry Into the Identifiable Characteristics of the English Aristocracy”

    1. U (upper class) v. non-U (middle class) identifiers in the language:Highlights:- Taking/having high tea: Non-U. I always knew this! Good to see it written down.- Consulting etiquette books: Non-U. You either do it U, or you do it non-U. You aren't allowed to change or learn.- addressing a man as "Sir": Non-U, unless you are an elderly academic(!).- addressing a woman as "Miss": Non-U.- "Cheers!": Non-U! "Until 1939, English U-speakers normally said nothing. Since then, however, the Service habit [...]

    2. Squashed between fat books of grammar I foundNoblesse Oblige, a set of essays on English colloquialisms and class in the twentieth century. The Hon. Mrs. Peter Rodd (aka Nancy Mitford)'s sharp little essay on "the identifiable characteristics of the English aristocracy" caused a flurry of letters and debate, some of which is published in this volume. Mitford set down a by-no-means comprehensive list of grammar, vocabulary, and modes of thought as Upper-Class or Not Upper-Class. In the 1950s, at [...]

    3. I love the Mitfords so I am biased, but this is a satiric look into English upper and non-upper class speech. Funny. Biting. Snobbish. For all of the humor behind it, it is a compelling sociological study as well.

    4. Nancy Mitford wrote her essay as a joke; making fun of her own class. She was one of the famous Mitford sisters: young, rich, aristocrats. Some of her sisters had affairs with prominent figures, not always respectable, such as Hitler and other Nazi heads. Some other married into even more nobility. Even Lady D. was directly related to one of them!So Nancy thought it would be very funny to write a manual "from an insider" on how to be a noble person or a U (for Upper-class) opposed to a Non-U cha [...]

    5. The collection of essays and letters is a wonderful inside peek into the dividing line between the mythical U and Non-U. i've only read one essay but loved every minute of it, can't wait to read the rest. (19 September 2009) I am actually rather ashamed of myself for taking so long to finish this incredibly slim book. I am going to sink lower in my chair and use the particularly sad excuse that I have not had the time to finish it. Unfortunately I have had course work and life that got in the wa [...]

    6. Although of course it's now quite dated, thisexamination of "U" (upper class) and "non-U" usage remains a classic. Strangely enough, though British people are famed for their ability to "place" others in terms of class and origins by their speech, this wasn't a phenomenon that was much discussed before Mitford's book, which is a lighthearted but still quite penetrating look at British speech. Consisting of a group of pieces written by such literary luminaries as Mitford, Evelyn Waugh, John Betje [...]

    7. Over the years, I’ve had a handful of Brits tell me that Americans can never understand social classes. Reading Noblesse Oblige, I couldn’t help but agree.To this twenty-first century American, it felt more satire than serious essays. While it is a humorous look on class distinctions in Britain (described here as U versus Non-U), it’s not entirely satire. It’s a fascinating looking into Britain’s social and cultural attitudes – attitudes that, even six decades later, remain entrenche [...]

    8. An amusing, wry read- notwithstanding the considerable actual value of Professor Ross's research, which pre-dated the production of this volume- made all the more so given the fact that countless middle-class men and women strove to emulate their social betters based on the concepts presented- often in a subtle tongue-in-cheek manner- in this book.

    9. It's pretty funny that some American readers think this series of articles was satirical (besides John Betjeman's poem, of course). It was an amusing close examination of a social custom, and a look at the contributors will let you know the level of the writing.

    10. Amusing discourse on upper class language in Britain. It also includes various responses to the original article. I expect that it is v. dated (first published in 1956), but who knows?

    11. Este no encaja en ninguna de las categorías que todavía no abordé, así que lo consideraré off challenge.

    12. Cute book. I love Nancy Mitford so I had to pick it up when I saw it. U? Non-U? Nope. Just hopelessly American. Me and Henry James, so that's okay.

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