Views & Reviews Between the Lines

A touch of class

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39545.516551.59 (Published 10 April 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:837
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    Genteel poverty, the subject of a great deal of English literature, is a thing of the past, not only because of the decline of gentility in general, but because the inflation of the 1960s and 1970s put paid to the very possibility of it once and for all. Now there are only lack of money and inability to buy what you want.

    Cranford, still Mrs Gaskell’s most popular book, is peopled by the genteel poor, almost all of them female. Of course, they are not really poor in the absolute sense, such as the industrial working classes of the time were. For example, all of Cranford’s impoverished gentlefolk have …

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