Our efforts during the last few years to collect systematic observations of parties, to be self-conscious and observant at parties which we attended, and to interview our friends about parties which we could not attend, have led us to view party sociability as a product of highly variable quality, in which the chief artist and engineer might logically be supposed to be the host. As hosts—a term which we use to refer to both host and hostess—we ourselves have tried to be skilful and inventive in the never-ending search for ways of creating "better" parties; and, as guests, we have noted with appreciation the efforts made on our behalf by our more imaginative hosts. And yet we cannot help but feel that generally, in the population to which we had access, the role of host is a neglected one—a role taken too much for granted, and often underplayed to such an extent that the party remains diffuse, without the élan and sense of excitement which mark a truly festive occasion.

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