Mrs. Woolf and the Servants by Alison Light

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Light's historical contextualising of the Woolfs' household management, and the brilliant sleuthing she has done to reconstruct their servants' lives, is a remarkable achievement...this is a bold, impressive and important rewriting of a slice of British social history which, as Light concludes, is highly relevant for our times...
-Guardian

Synopsis

When Virginia Woolf wrote A Room of One's Own in 1929, she established her reputation as a feminist, and an advocate for unheard voices. But like thousands of other upper-class British women, Woolf relied on live-in domestic servants for the most intimate of daily tasks. That room of Woolf's own was kept clean by a series of cooks and maids throughout her life. In the much-praised Mrs. Woolf and the Servants, Alison Light probes the unspoken inequality of Bloomsbury homes with insight and grace, and provides an entirely new perspective on an essential modern artist.
 

About Alison Light

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Alison Light is the author of Forever England: Femininity, Literature and Conservatism between the Wars and edited Virginia Woolf's Flush for Penguin Classics. She is currently a part-time Professor at the Raphael Samuel History Centre in the University of East London. She is a contributor to the London Review of Books. Her grandmother worked as a domestic servant.
 
Published June 15, 2010 by Bloomsbury Press. 400 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, Literature & Fiction, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction
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Guardian

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Reviewed by Hermione Lee on Aug 18 2007

Light's historical contextualising of the Woolfs' household management, and the brilliant sleuthing she has done to reconstruct their servants' lives, is a remarkable achievement...this is a bold, impressive and important rewriting of a slice of British social history which, as Light concludes, is highly relevant for our times...

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