Mrs. Woolf and the Servants
An Intimate History of Domestic Life in Bloomsbury
By Alison Light
(Bloomsbury Press, Paperback, 9781596916944, 400pp.)
Publication Date: September 1, 2009
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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“Superbly researched, often passionately eloquent, and enthralling throughout.”—Washington Post Book WorldWhen 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.
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 professor at the Raphael Samuel History Centre at the University of East London, and teaches English at Newcastle University. She is a contributor to the London Review of Books. Her grandmother worked as a domestic servant.
“This is a bold, impressive and important rewriting of a slice of British social history.”—Guardian“An absorbing and complex portrait of Woolf’s particular relation to domestics and domesticity, but also an analysis of the shifting mores of the period.”—New York Times Book Review “Eye-opening… Light enriches the history of Bloomsbury by adding to it the stories of Nellie, Lottie and the other women and men whose manual labor sustained it.”—Chicago Tribune