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"NOBLESSE OBLIGE, An Enquiry into the Identifiable Characteristics of the English Aristocracy"
Edited by Nancy Mitford (1904 –1973)
Illustrated by Osbert Lancaster (1908-1986)
Other contributions by Prof. Alan Ross, Peter Fleming (writing as “Strix”), Christopher Sykes, Evelyn Waugh, and John Betjeman.
First (1st) Edition. First (1st) Impression
Published by Hamish Hamilton Ltd, London, 1956
Hardcover with original illustrated dust jacket.
114 pages. 8vo. 8º (octavo)
20.3 cm x 13.7 cm x 1.2 cm
Pictorial dust jacket over original red boards, titles in silver to spine. Age toning to the front free endpaper otherwise clean and unmarked. Dust wrapper is in good condition but has some aging with minor marking, some rubbing at the head of the spine and nicked at the top corner. Price is unclipped. Small old retailer's label for "Thornton & Son, Booksellers, 11 The Broad, Oxford" to the bottom of the inside cover. Overall a very fine and well preserved copy.
Noblesse Oblige, edited by Nancy Mitford (1904 –1973), eldest of the Mitford Sisters, caused quite a stir when it was first publshed. It sparked off a public debate and gave rise to the phrase 'U and Non-U'. In May 1956, Time Magazine commented:
In these days of penurious peers and vanishing stately homes, how can one tell whether an Englishman is a genuine member of the Upper Class? Last week, in a slim anthology of aristocratic manners edited by aristocratic Novelist Nancy Mitford (Noblesse Oblige; Hamish Hamilton), England got an answer that has managed to stir up everyone from Novelist Graham Greene to Actor John Loder. Not since Humorist Stephen Potter launched the cult of gamesmanship had the nation been so obsessed as it was over the difference between U (Upper Class) and non-U.
A wonderful 1950's classic.