PATRICK WHEELER    Book Number: 87830    Product format: Hardback

Sub-titled 'A History of British Women in India Before the Raj' here is a largely forgotten study of social history of the European women of the early colonial period. Patrick Wheeler argues how there was greater fusion of European and Indian cultures existing before imperial times as he examines themes such as the effects of the subservience of women to the needs of men, and the risk to life of time then spent in India and of course the vulnerability of their children. Drawing on letters, diaries and other records written by the British women living in India during this time from the 18th century onwards, here is great detail about their husbands, brothers and fathers. These women made remarkable journeys but we find out what drove them to travel those huge distances. The book covers their arrival and establishment, the pioneering women, the housewife and the household, society and propriety, wining and dining, leisure, pleasure and endeavour, health and death. Life in Georgian and Regency England would have been quite different and it is the day to day minutiae of the lives of these women overseas rather than the decision makers (men) who conducted their lives, which is now of great historical value to the general reader. A number of British women in India became closely involved in the running of schools for the children of less well-off Europeans, and of institutions for the growing number of orphans. They describe in detail personal pressures, tensions and discomforts, the endless dinners and balls, the food and beverages available and the overall domestic responsibilities plus their own skills, leisure pursuits and occupations and their role in circumstances of ever-present illness, nursing their own families, their staff and above all their children. Among the 16 pages of illustrations are watercolours of Indian birds, a cartoon of a quadrille dance, a view of Madras, the Writers' Building in Calcutta and familiar servants like the syce or horse groom, the dhobee or washerman. How they coped in that heat goodness only knows! 246pp.
Published price: £25
Bibliophile price: £5.50

Additional product information

ISBN 9781473893276
Browse these categories as well: Last Chance to buy!, Historical Biography, Feminism, History

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