The New Book of Snobs by D.J. Taylor

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It’s among the contentions of D. J. Taylor’s clever and timely “The New Book of Snobs” that the world would be a poorer place without a bit of insolence and ostentation.
-NY Times

Synopsis

Inspired by William Makepeace Thackeray, the first great analyst of snobbery, and his trail-blazing The Book of Snobs (1848), D. J. Taylor brings us a field guide to the modern snob.

Short of calling someone a racist or a paedophile, one of the worst charges you can lay at anybody's door in the early twenty-first century is to suggest that they happen to be a snob. But what constitutes snobbishness? Who are the snobs and where are they to be found? Are you a snob? Am I? What are the distinguishing marks? Snobbery is, in fact, one of the keys to contemporary British life, as vital to the backstreet family on benefits as the proprietor of the grandest stately home, and an essential element of their view of who of they are and what the world might be thought to owe them.

The New Book of Snobs will take a marked interest in language, the vocabulary of snobbery - as exemplified in the 'U' and 'Non U' controversy of the 1950s - being a particular field in which the phenomenon consistently makes its presence felt, and alternate social analysis with sketches of groups and individuals on the Thackerayan principle. Prepare to meet the Political Snob, the City Snob, the Technology Snob, the Property Snob, the Rural Snob, the Literary Snob, the Working-class Snob, the Sporting Snob, the Popular Cultural Snob and the Food Snob.
 

About D.J. Taylor

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D. J. Taylor is a writer and critic. He is the author of seven novels: Great Eastern Land (1986); Real Life (1992); English Settlement (1996); Trespass (1998), The Comedy Man (2001), Kept: A Victorian Mystery (2006) and Ask Alice (2009).His books of non-fiction include After the War: The Novel and England Since 1945 (1993); A Vain Conceit: British fiction in the 1980s (1989), and Bright Young People: The Rise and Fall of a Generation 1918-1940He is also well known for his biographies: Thackeray (1999); and Orwell: The Life, which won the 2003 Whitbread Biography Award.
 
Published October 20, 2016 by Constable. 288 pages
Genres: History. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The New Book of Snobs
All: 3 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 2

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on Apr 18 2017

It’s among the contentions of D. J. Taylor’s clever and timely “The New Book of Snobs” that the world would be a poorer place without a bit of insolence and ostentation.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by William Skidelsky on Nov 13 2016

though he attempts a taxonomy of contemporary snobbery via fictionalised portraits of various snob “types” (the “progressive snob”, the “City snob”, and so on), he doesn’t really get to grips with how snobbism has evolved (or, perhaps, broken down?) in recent decades. His, you could say, is a somewhat snobbish conception of who and what a snob is.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Bee Wilson on Oct 27 2016

Taylor is an intelligent writer, however, and the best parts of this uneven book suggest that snobbery is far from limited to the upper classes.

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