Snobbery exists in all areas of life, not least literary criticism. By snobbery I mean, any method of judging someone or something whereby you latch on to one or two features about them/it, and use these to come to a definitive, immovable judgement. In intellectual matters, the snob will often take the external features of a work as a guide to its value.
Alain De Botton
Whenever summer rolls around I begin to realize that I'm a complete and utter book snob. In relation to reading, I have absolutely no guilty pleasures at all. No graphic novels. No murder mysteries. My summer read is really no different from my winter read. I know many bookshops and magazines would have me believe that our summer forays are different, but literature is literature, and unfortunately snobbery is snobbery.
I just can't imagine anyone in the United States military who would not understand the distinction between a jihadist and a radical Islamist and Muslims. I think that is snobbery from elitists. It goes to the issue, it seems to me, of an orthodoxy, a political correctness that has infiltrated the U.S. Army.
Soaps are great. You learn to work very fast - some say superficially, but that's not really true. You do some very serious character work. I've never had any feelings about a stigma attached to it, and nowadays there seems to be less snobbery about what you do. More and more big names are doing TV and commercials and voiceovers.
He has made me wary of chronological snobbery. That is, he showed me that newness is no virtue and oldness is no vice. Truth and beauty and goodness are not determined by when they exist. Nothing is inferior for being old, and nothing is valuable for being modern. This has freed me from the tyranny of novelty and opened for me the wisdom of the ages.
Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. . . . There will always be the false snobbery which tries to place one vocation above another. You will become a member of the aristocracy in the American sense only if your accomplishments and integrity earn this appellation.
James Bryant Conant
My stepmother appeared when I was about 9. My brother was sent off to an institute in Scotland & my sister & I were sent to school. As my stepmother's ideas were then wholly Quaker, mixed with a naive & charming innocence & a little snobbery, it was one dotty epoch on top of another. I always remained terrified of my father.
[T]he only means I have to stop ignorant snobs from behaving towards genre fiction with snobbish ignorance is to not reinforce their ignorance and snobbery by lying and saying that when I write SF it isn't SF, but to tell them more or less patiently for forty or fifty years that they are wrong to exclude SF and fantasy from literature, and proving my arguments by writing well.
Ursula K. Le Guin
Prayer or not, I want to believe that, despite all evidence to the contrary, it is possible for anyone to find that one special person. That person to spend Christmas with or grow old with or just to take a nice silly walk in Central Park with. Somebody who wouldn't judge another for the prepositions they dangle, or their run-on sentences, and who in turn wouldn't be judged for the snobbery of their language etymology inclinations.
Whence all this passion towards conformity anyway? Diversity is the word. Let man keep his many parts and you will have no tyrant states. Why, if they follow this conformity business, they'll end up by forcing me, an invisible man, to become white, which is not a color but the lack of one. Must I strive towards colorlessness? But seriously and without snobbery, think of what the world would lose if that should happen. America is woven of many strands. I would recognize them and let it so remain.
A fig for your precious society with its bridge parties, its inane chatter, its cheap mentality; its dances and vulgar banquets; its snobbery and cheap pretension. The humblest library can show you upon a single shelf better society and far more select company than all the drawing-rooms of Europe, America, and South Africa.
E. Norman Torry
[T]he new weird represents a productive experiment in fantasy fiction. The New Wave of the 1960s and 1970s arguably embodied science fiction's claim to literary 'seriousness.' This desire for seriousness is not snobbery, as sometimes suggested by folks who overemphasize the entertainment function of speculative fiction; it's about recognition of the vast possibilities within the field.
We are being at once wisely aware of our own frivolity if we avoid hitting and whacking and prefer 'striking' and 'smiting'; talk and chat and prefer 'speech' and 'discourse'; well-bred, brilliant, or polite noblemen (visions of snobbery columns in the Press, and fat men on the Riviera) and prefer the 'worthy, brave and courteous men' of long ago.
J. R. R. Tolkien
The parochial snobbery of these people was partly responsible for their failure to convert the Indians. Probably they also preferred to take land from heathens rather than from fellow Christians. At any rate, very few Indians were converted, and the Salem folk believed that the virgin forest was the Devil's last preserve, his home base and the citadel of his final stand. To the best of their knowledge the American forest was the last place on earth that was not paying homage to God.
Objectively, class differences in accent, dress, manners, and general style of life are very much smaller; and one cannot, strolling about the street or travelling on a train, instantly identify a person's social background as one can in England. Subjectively, social relations are more natural and egalitarian, and less marked by deference, submissiveness, or snobbery, as one quickly discovers from the cab-driver, the barman, the air-hostess and the drug-store assistant.
I suppose there is no place in the world where snobbery is quite so ever-present or where it is cultivated in such refined and subtle forms as in an English public school. Here at least one cannot say that English 'education' fails to do its job. You forget your Latin and Greek within a few months of leaving school "" I studied Greek for eight or ten years, and now, at thirty-three, I cannot even repeat the Greek alphabet "" but your snobbishness, unless you persistently root it out like the bindweed it is, sticks by you till your grave.
The study of the past helps us to appreciate that the ideas and values of our own age are just as provisional and transient as those of bygone ages. The intelligent and reflective engagement with the thought of a bygone era ultimately subverts any notion of "chronological snobbery". Reading texts from the past makes it clear that what we now term "the past" was once "the present", which proudly yet falsely regarded itself as having found the right intellectual answers and moral values that had eluded its predecessors.
Alister E. McGrath
Horror itself is a bit of a bullied genre, the antagonist being literary snobbery and public misconception. And I think good horror tackles our darkest fears, whatever they may be. It takes us into the minds of the victims, explores the threats, disseminates fear, studies how it changes us. It pulls back the curtain on the ugly underbelly of society, tears away the masks the monsters wear out in the world, shows us the potential truth of the human condition. Horror is truth, unflinching and honest. Not everybody wants to see that, but good horror ensures that it's there to be seen.
Kealan Patrick Burke
the word "snobbery" came into use for the first time in England during 1820s. It was said to have derived from the habit of many Oxford and Cambridge colleges of writing sine nobilitate (without nobility) , or "s.nob", next to the names of the ordinary students on examinations lists in order to distinguish them from their aristocratic peers. In the word's earliest days, a snob was taken to mean someone without high status, but it quickly assumed its modern and almost diametrically opposed meaning: someone offended by a lack of high status in others, a person who believes in a flawless equations between social rank and human worth
Alain de Botton
Thankfully existing only in SMALL pockets within our discipline, is 'intellectual' snobbery. It's a hushed but ugly truth that people are made to feel not worthy to be among a certain set - didn't attend the right school or don't have the requisite abbreviations to follow their name. I know what that feels like. Good thing I'm pigheaded, have a bigger vision and committed to my craft, or I would've succumbed to it long ago. That is why when I meet an emerging writer who's serious about developing their craft, I try to encourage them as much as I can. I say IGNORE the highbrow cliques and prove your mettle by growing, accepting balanced feedback and most of all, creating work that will stand the test of time. Period.
Kilmartin wrote a highly amusing and illuminating account of his experience as a Proust revisionist, which appeared in the first issue of Ben Sonnenberg's quarterly Grand Street in the autumn of 1981. The essay opened with a kind of encouragement: 'There used to be a story that discerning Frenchmen preferred to read Marcel Proust in English on the grounds that the prose of A la recherche du temps perdu was deeply un-French and heavily influenced by English writers such as Ruskin.' I cling to this even though Kilmartin thought it to be ridiculous Parisian snobbery; I shall never be able to read Proust in French, and one's opportunities for outfacing Gallic self-regard are relatively scarce.
I don't know', ' he said. 'Those three words from a willing soul are the start of a grand and magnificent voyage.' And with that he began a discourse that lasted for several weeks, covering scene-setting, establishing conflict, plot twists, and first- and third-person narration. [ I learned in these rapid-fire mini-dissertations that like most literature lovers I would come to know, Henry was a book snob. He assumed that if a current author was popular and widely enjoyed, then he or she had no merit. He made a few exceptions, such as Kurt Vonnegut, although that was mostly because Vonnegut lived on Cape Cod and so he probably had some merits as a human being, if not as a writer. I think that the way Henry saw it was that he was not being a snob. In fact I would venture that in his view of things, snobbery had nothing to do with it. Rather, it was a matter of standards. It was bout quality in the author's craftsmanship.
John William Tuohy
Oh, would that I had died the way the Sikh did! I can not go forward. I shall not submit to being made to see more clearly than I do. Yet, if I turn back I am self-confessed coward! Furthermore, how can I turn back! How shall I reach India, alone, alive? As a corpse I should no longer interest myself. And if I should succeed in reaching India, I should despise myself, because you and Jimgrim treated me as fellow man and yet I failed you. On the other hand, if I go forward they will teach me the reality of things, of which already I know much too much! It has been bad enough as failed B.A. to stick my tongue into my cheek and flatter blind men- pompous Englishmen and supine Indians-for a living. I have had to eat dust from the wheels of what the politicians think is progress; and I have had to be polite when I was patronized by men whom I should pity if I had the heart to do it! And I could endure it, Rammy sahib, because I only knew more than was good for me and not all of it by any means! I do not wish to know more. If I saw more clearly I should have to join the revolutionaries- who are worse than those they revolute against! It is already bad enough to have to toady to the snobs on top. To have to agree with the snobs underneath, who seek to level all men to a common meanness since they can not admire any sort of superiority-that would be living death! I would rather pretend to admire the Englishman whose snobbery exasperates me, than repeat the lies of Indians whose only object is to do dishonestly and badly but much more cleverly what the English do honestly and with all the stupidity of which they are capable!
To return to my point about the immense power that his enemies attribute to him, Orwell once wrote about the 'large, vague renown' that constituted the popular memory of Thomas Carlyle. His own reputation has long been of that kind, if not rather greater and more precise. But this is not the same as moving millions to despair and apathy (Deutscher), or spoiling the morale of a whole generation (Williams), or authoring a work of fiction that was in fact, in rather cunning disguise, the work of an entire 'culture' (Thompson). In some semi-articulated way, many major figures of the Left have thought of Orwell as an enemy, and an important and frightening one. This was true to a somewhat lesser extent in his own lifetime. And, again, the dislike or distrust can be illustrated by a simple-or at any rate a simple-minded-confusion of categories. It was widely said, and believed, of Orwell that he had written the damning sentence: 'The working classes smell.' This statement of combined snobbery and heresy was supposedly to be found in The Road to Wigan Pier; in other words-since the book was a main selection of Victor Gollancz's Left Book Club-it could be checked and consulted. But it obviously never was checked or consulted, because in those pages Orwell only says that middle-class people, such as his own immediate forebears, were convinced that the working classes smelled. Victor Gollancz himself, though hopelessly at odds with Orwell in matters of politics, issued a denial on his behalf that he had ever said, or written, that 'the working classes smell.' It made no difference. As his published correspondence shows, every time Orwell wrote anything objectionable to the Left, up would come this old charge again, having attained the mythic status that placed it beyond mere factual refutation. It feels silly even to go over this pettiness again, but the identical method-of attributing to him the outlook that he attributed to others-is employed in our own time in critical discussions of 'Inside the Whale.
Fiction has two uses. Firstly, it's a gateway drug to reading. The drive to know what happens next, to want to turn the page, the need to keep going, even if it's hard, because someone's in trouble and you have to know how it's all going to end ... that's a very real drive. And it forces you to learn new words, to think new thoughts, to keep going. To discover that reading per se is pleasurable. Once you learn that, you're on the road to reading everything. And reading is key. There were noises made briefly, a few years ago, about the idea that we were living in a post-literate world, in which the ability to make sense out of written words was somehow redundant, but those days are gone: words are more important than they ever were: we navigate the world with words, and as the world slips onto the web, we need to follow, to communicate and to comprehend what we are reading. People who cannot understand each other cannot exchange ideas, cannot communicate, and translation programs only go so far. The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them. I don't think there is such a thing as a bad book for children. Every now and again it becomes fashionable among some adults to point at a subset of children's books, a genre, perhaps, or an author, and to declare them bad books, books that children should be stopped from reading. I've seen it happen over and over; Enid Blyton was declared a bad author, so was RL Stine, so were dozens of others. Comics have been decried as fostering illiteracy. It's tosh. It's snobbery and it's foolishness. There are no bad authors for children, that children like and want to read and seek out, because every child is different. They can find the stories they need to, and they bring themselves to stories. A hackneyed, worn-out idea isn't hackneyed and worn out to them. This is the first time the child has encountered it. Do not discourage children from reading because you feel they are reading the wrong thing. Fiction you do not like is a route to other books you may prefer. And not everyone has the same taste as you. Well-meaning adults can easily destroy a child's love of reading: stop them reading what they enjoy, or give them worthy-but-dull books that you like, the 21st-century equivalents of Victorian 'improving' literature. You'll wind up with a generation convinced that reading is uncool and worse, unpleasant. We need our children to get onto the reading ladder: anything that they enjoy reading will move them up, rung by rung, into literacy. [from, Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming]