In Their Own Words: British Women Writers and India, 1740-1857
The book analyses the growth in British women's published works about India before 1857 and uses it as the basis for an examination of various aspects of their role in India. The corpus of the work comprises of some 80 authors many of the texts were previously unknown and very few had beensubjected to academic study. They extend far beyond travel writing and the work of memsahibs, which have so far been the main focus of interest, to include other groups, notably missionaries, and other genres such as fiction, poetry, drama, advice manuals, educational material, history andtranslations. The material and treatment are new in a number of ways. The role of British women in India has been widely criticized. However, many judgements are in need of revision, since they have been distorted by focusing on evidence from the high noon of the empire in the later 19th century and 20thcenturies. An examination of the early colonial period often suggests very different conclusions. While postcolonial and feminist historians have tended to see them as mere appendages in a patriarchal colonial society, this book argues that they played a substantial role in creating the Britishdomestic and social life, the development of relations with Indians, particularly Indian women to whom they had privileged access, and the communication of knowledge to a British readership at home. Far from being peripheral, this book argues, women were an integral part of colonial life thoughtheir voice was often independent and critical.
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The Published Word
The Growing AngloIndian Family
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