edited by Bodleian Library
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2014
Cloth: 978-1-85124-398-3

While many bemoan the lack of good manners in society today, the most courteous among us would feel mightily out of place across the dining table from a Dowager Countess. Upholding the highest standards of social decorum was of utmost importance for the 1920s British upper class and even more so for the aspiring middle class that sought to emulate it. Yet the path to perfect comportment seemed strewn—then as now—with pitfalls, from befuddling arrays of silverware to less-than-gracious houseguests. Originally published in the 1920s, this petite guide offers time-honored advice to avoid such pitfalls.
The Art of Good Manners ranges broadly across topics including courtship, children’s behavior, and civilized conversation before taking the reader through each course at a dinner party, where readers are reminded to neither gurgle the soup nor to make haste with the fruit course since “to peel an orange, apple or pear with a fruit knife and fork requires some practice.”
Charmingly presented, The Art of Good Manners is by turns humorously old-fashioned and timeless, and it makes the perfect gift for all who miss this elegant bygone era.