Bernhard Tauchnitz. Leipzig. 1934. Tauchnitz Edition, Collection of British and American Authors, Vol. 5158. First published by John Long, London in 1933. Printed wrappers. 280 pages. 32 pages of advertisements for other titles. 4 hors-texte black-and-white plates. English. 165 x 120mm. 0.25kg. . Very good; light shelf wear, browning to wrappers, creasing to spine, some wear at base of spine, a 2cm tear at front fold of base of spine; contemporary owner's signature to first page.
Much has been written about the Roaring Twenties and the Bright Young Things after the event but Patrick Balfour's Society Racket is one of the very few contemporary accounts of the era. Balfour, 3rd Baron Kinross, was a bright young person himself as well as being the Daily Sketch 's 'Mr Gossip'. He was the model for Mr Chatterbox in Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies . After a decade of parties and exploits he settled down to write a study of London society and their changing values in the 1920s. His writing is a mixture of social analysis and witty anecdotes. Chapters include 'The Roaring Twenties', 'Forgetting Class Distinctions', 'The Modern Girl', 'Snobbery of Wealth' and 'Spiritual Bankruptcy'. Evelyn Waugh, after reading the first draft, wrote to Diana Cooper 'Pauper Balfour wrote a book saying all rich people lived in blocks of flats, which doesn't seem to me to be true.'. The book has not been reprinted since 1934 and copies, in any edition, remain rare.
[Taylor, D J, 'Bright Young People. The Rise and Fall of a Generation: 1918-1940', Chatto & Windus, 2007, p. 34; Cooper, Artemis (ed.), 'Mr Wu & Mrs Stitch: The Letters of Evelyn Waugh & Diana Cooper', 1991, p. 35]