Harry Mount

Keeping Out the Joneses

Cheek by Jowl: A History of Neighbours

By

The Bodley Head 273pp £20 order from our bookshop

The word ‘neighbour’ dates from the days before the countryside was enclosed, when villagers farmed adjoining strips of common land. A neighbour then was ‘the man who tills the next piece of land to mine’.

These days, you might define neighbour as the person most likely to turn your life into a living hell. And the history of neighbours – as Emily Cockayne reveals in her authoritative if heavy-going book – is really a history of trying to minimise the irritation produced by the people next door.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,
    • RT : One of my favourite literary magazines is celebrating 40 years this year. Here is the September edition of… ,
    • 'Now that the Thames is too fast-flowing to freeze, its spirit’s devotees ... have found other climes for their pri… ,
    • 'Bythell glowers past his till at a world in slow free fall.' on the travails of a second-hand book… ,
    • 'It is a scent of animal wrath, of instinctive need, of brutal life which affects the cultured nostrils of our civi… ,
    • 'The day produced countless stories of chance, of people taking one route or another without realising that the dec… ,
    • In this month's 'Silenced Voices', looks at the case of Azimjon Askarov, the journalist and human rights… ,