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In Their Own Words: British Women Writers and India (1740-1857)

Rosemary Raza (Author)
Synopsis Do British memsahibs deserve their reputation as ‘spoilers’ of the Raj? Is some recent scholarship justified in seeing them as little more than peripheral? Seeking answers to these questions, Rosemary Raza examines the experience and literary work of British women in Indian up to 1857. The growth in Women’s writing in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the contribution made by women writers in popularizing material on India and mediating it for a metropolitan audience, provide evidence for a number of themes: the role of women in the growth of an exclusive British domesticity in India; women’s occupations-notably missionary endeavour-that brought increasing involvement with India; British women’s exploration and engagement with the hidden world of Indian women; the role of British women in race relations; women’s changing representation of India for a popular audience in Britain; and their often critical relationship with colonial authority. Raza examines for the first time the whole body of women’s published writing on India up to 1857, including the work of over eighty authors, many of them previously unknown. Her discussion of various aspects of women’s role and lives in India is enlivened with interesting the entertaining illustrations. The broad spectrum of authorship extends our understanding beyond the lives of the memsahibs and challenges some of the generalized assumptions about British women based on the later ‘high noon’ of empire. This engaging volume will be of interest to general readers, literary historians, and scholars of women’s studies and history, and colonial and imperial history.
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About the author

Rosemary Raza

Rosemary Raza served in the British Diplomatic Service, and since her marriage has lived in Pakistan for many years. She has also edited and provided the introduction and notes for Marianne Postans's Travels, Tales and Encounters in Sindh and Balochistan (OUP, 2003), and has made a number of contributions to the Oxford New Dictionary of National Biography, mainly on Women writers connected with India.

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Bibliographic information

Title In Their Own Words: British Women Writers and India (1740-1857)
Author Rosemary Raza
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2006
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 0195677080
length xxxi+289p., Notes; Bibliography; Index; 22cm.