Almost everyone has a neighbour. Neighbours can enrich or ruin our lives. They fascinate and worry us in equal measure. Soap operas watched by millions play with every lurid permutation of relationships in fictional neighbourhoods. One is even called Neighbours. Disputes over gigantic Leylandii and noise nuisance turn nasty and fill newspaper columns. These stories have a rich history - as long as men have lived in shelters, they have had neighbours. In this fascinating social history, Emily Cockayne traces the story of the British neighbour through nine centuries - spanning Medieval, Tudor and Victorian periods, two world wars and up to today's modern, virtual world. "Cheek by Jowl" brilliantly reveals how neighbour relations have changed over time and maps the complex emotional, sexual and economic threads of association between neighbours. As people lived more densely together, and lifestyles diversified, the potential for neighbour nuisance and jealousy grew. In contrast, where communities of people emerged who shared an employer or an economic predicament, solidarity and mutual supportiveness would ease the hardships of life. "Cheek by Jowl" will also examine the way we think about architecture and our living spaces. It treats houses as vessels for living that enable or frustrate us from fulfilling our human potential rather than as aesthetic objects. With humour, wit and fascinating historical anecdotes this is social history at its most colourful and interesting. "Cheek by Jowl" will put the people back in the houses and the houses back on the streets.
About Emily Cockayne
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Published May 14, 2012
by Bodley Head.