U AND NON-U REVISITED by Richard--Ed. Buckle


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Nearly 25 years have passed since Nancy Mitford first informed on British class distinctions, time enough for another gathering of cheeky tongues to contemplate U and non-U regalia. Editor Buckle had hoped to recruit an actual Peer along with his kindred contributors but, alas, ""the new noblesse did not oblige."" The results, nonetheless, are diverting, the contributors a game lot who know classy (non-U) from smart (U) as well as the chinks of each other. Diana Mitford reveals how her sister stumbled onto Alan Ross' linguistic findings, parlayed them into an Encounter article, and enjoyed the ensuing ruckus. There's a droll conversation with Cecil Beaton; Ross himself, editor Buckle, and London Timesman Philip Howard in a comic crossfire; Christopher Sykes commenting on clothes (as for hats: ""Of them it may be said as was said of snakes in The Natural History of Ireland""); and the Earl of Harewood ""On being Working-Class."" Buckle divulges his grandmother Sandford's discrimination between a doctor or lawyer and a true gentleman: ""You could ask him to luncheon, but not to dinner."" And others report on peerage/aristocracy differences and heraldry quarterings. Some of the barbs may be too local to make the crossing (although the American section is a welcome addition) but for Anglophiles it will be fine pastry (non-U) or (a piece of) cake (U).

Pub Date: March 1st, 1979
Publisher: Viking