While Nancy Mitford coined the terms 'U' and 'non-U', her younger sister Jessica - writing as Decca Treuhaft in this 1956 pamphlet - devised the parody 'L' and 'non-L'. Jessica and her husband, Robert Treuhaft, knew plenty about left-wing lingo. They were in the mid-1950s members of the CPUSA.
The Wikipedia entry on Jessica Mitford records: 'In 1956, Mitford published (stenciled) a pamphlet, "Lifeitselfmanship or How to Become a Precisely-Because Man". In response to Noblesse Oblige, the book her sister Nancy co-wrote and edited on the class distinctions in British English, popularizing the phrases "U and non-U English" (upper class and non-upper class), Jessica described L and non-L (Left and non-Left) English, mocking the clichés used by her comrades in the all-out class struggle.'
How rib tickllng was this send up of what might now be described as political correctness?
Not bad at all - as the pages copied, right, attest. An early example of the left learning to chuckle at itself.
My other recent pamphlet purchase is just as bizarre, but otherwise totally different. G.K Chesterton - best known today for such novels as The Napoleon of Notting Hill and The Man who was Thursday - was a hugely productive journalist and essayist. His political views were unorthodox, somewhat reactionary, and he was also keenly, if again in unorthodox manner, religious.
This 1916 pamphlet republished an article from Nash's Magazine. It is an arch piece of reactionary populism - objecting to 'the extension of divorce among the democracy':
'A democrat in any sense must regard that extension as the last and vilest of the insults offered by the modern rich to the modern poor. The rich do largely believe in divorce; the poor do mainly believe in fidelity. But the modern rich are powerful and the modern poor are powerless. Therefore for years and decades past the rich have been preaching their own virtues. Now that they have begun to preach their vices too, I think it is time to kick.'
Though as so often, Chesterton kicked as part of the losing team - he had a remarkable eye for a lost cause.
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