Or, How to Survive Hospitality: The Classic Guidebook
By Russell Lynes
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780061706417, 96pp.)
Publication Date: April 2009
Our eminent founding father Ben Franklin once famously compared guests to stinking fish. While this assessment may seem a trifle harsh, the truth remains that social intercourse is a most risky endeavor. Who better to address this concern than the inimitable pundit Russell Lynes—a man renowned for his unparalleled expertise on the social graces and the many personality types who regularly abuse them? In this classic guide to "guesting," Lynes provides an indispensable overview of the rituals of behavior that make it possible to visit and be visited, and the necessary safeguards that protect us from our friends and our friends from us. It is a book that demands to be read by every potential guest and host, stinker and stinkee alike.
Russell Lynes (1910-1991) was an art historian, cultural critic, author, photographer, and managing editor of Harper's Magazine. His articles for Harper's and Life in 1949 made parsing American culture into highbrow, upper or lower middlebrow, and lowbrow a national pastime. He wrote many books, including Snobs and The Tastemakers.
“One of America’s foremost arbiters of taste and mores. . . . Essayist, social historian, photographer and Renaissance man, Mr. Lynes was an acclaimed expert on what was highbrow, what was lowbrow and what was no brow at all.”
-New York Times