Noblesse Oblige (book)
Noblesse Oblige: An Enquiry Into the Identifiable Characteristics of the English Aristocracy(1956) is a book edited by Nancy Mitford, illustrated by Osbert Lancaster, caricaturist of English manners, and published by Hamish Hamilton. The anthology comprises four brief essays by Nancy Mitford, Alan S. C. Ross, “Strix” and Christopher Sykes, a letter by Evelyn Waugh, and a poem written by John Betjeman.
Until Nancy Mitford wrote “The English Aristocracy” in an article published in 1955, England was blissfully unconscious of U-Usage. Her article sparked off a public debate, whose counterblasts are collected in this book, published one year later. Although the subtitle rather dryly suggests it as an enquiry into the identifying characteristics of members of the English upper-class, it is really more of a debate, with each essayist entertaining and convincing.
Famous quotes containing the words noblesse and/or oblige:
“...A shadow now occasionally crossed my simple, sanguine, and life enjoying mind, a notion that I was never really going to accomplish those powerful literary works which would blow a noble trumpet to social generosity and noblesse oblige before the world. What? should I find myself always planning and never achieving ... a richly complicated and yet firmly unified novel?”
—Sarah N. Cleghorn (18761959)
“These volumes contain not the highest, but a very practicable wisdom, which startles and provokes, rather than informs us. Carlyle does not oblige us to think; we have thought enough for him already, but he compels us to act.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)