Nancy Mitford (988 words)

Maroula Joannou (Anglia Ruskin University)
Download PDF Save to Bookshelf Tweet Report an Error


Until the television adaptation of Love in a Cold Climate in February 2001 Nancy Mitford was best known for her ideas about ‘u’ (upper-class) and non-‘u’(non-upper-class) language derived from the work of the philologist, Alan Ross, and first publicised in her essay, “The English Aristocracy ”published by Stephen Spender in Encounter in 1954. Mitford provided a glossary of terms used by the upper-classes (looking glass, bike and napkin are all ‘u’ and mirror, cycle and serviette are all non ‘u’) and her essay evoked a national debate about English class-consciousness and snobbery. The piece was reprinted with Ross’s article in book form under the title of Noblesse Oblige: an Inquiry into the …

Citation: Joannou, Maroula. "Nancy Mitford". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 June 2002 [, accessed 07 May 2021.]

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here