DJ Taylor—who calls himself a "snobographer"—has an enjoyable, lively styleby Lucinda Smyth / November 17, 2016 / Leave a comment
Published in December 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
Writing a book about snobbery is a dangerous task. It can lay the author open to the same charge, the reader’s eye prepped for pretension, or alternatively, to the question of qualification: “who are you to be writing a book about snobs?” Luckily, DJ Taylor, who calls himself a “snobographer,” approaches the topic with sufficient wit and self-awareness to avoid falling into either of these potholes.
Inspired by WM Thackeray’s The Book of Snobs (1848), Taylor’s The New Book of Snobs is an exploration of English pomposity and pretension, tracing the history of the modern snob back to the mid-19th-century middle class. Suffusing linguistic analysis with historical and literary criticism, Taylor considers the changing definition of the term up until the present day, along with its notable perpetrators and victims.