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“Another Class”: The Lady’s Maid in Short Stories 1920–1950

  • Anna FengeEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture book series (PNWC)

Abstract

Cultural reportage between 1920 and 1950 declared a transformation of social structures. The societal prevalence of the servant was diminishing; it was the era of the “servant question,” when the servant-keeping classes bemoaned the changes pressing upon them. A new historicist approach produces a counter-intuitive reading of servant representations in the literature of the time. Stories by Katherine Mansfield, Elizabeth Bowen and Mollie Panter-Downes span this era of domestic revolution. Lady’s maids, illustrative of the most intimate of servant pairings, demonstrate that rather than desiring change, to their situation, status and class, these individuals chose instead to reinforce and reiterate the terms of the servant’s social contract.

Keywords

The “servant question” Lady’s maids Servant’s social contract Katherine Mansfield Elizabeth Bowen Mollie Panter-Downes 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Durham University International Study CentreStockton-on-TeesUK
  2. 2.University of Strathclyde International Study CentreGlasgowUK

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