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March 16, 2017
9781772122602
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v2.1 Reference

Flora Annie Steel

A Critical Study of an Unconventional Memsahib

Flora Annie Steel (1847–1929) was a contemporary of Rudyard Kipling and rivaled his popularity as a writer during her lifetime, but her legacy faded due to gender-biased politics. She spent 22 years in India, mainly in the Punjab. This collection is the first to focus entirely on this "unconventional memsahib" and her contribution to turn-of-the-century Anglo-Indian literature. The eight essays draw attention to Steel's multifaceted work—ranging from fiction to journalism to letter writing, from housekeeping manuals to philanthropic activities. These essays, by recognized experts on her life and work, will appeal to interdisciplinary scholars and readers in the fields of British India and Women's Studies.

Contributors: Amrita Banerjee, Helen Pike Bauer, Ralph Crane, Gráinne Goodwin, Alan Johnson, Anna Johnston, Danielle Nielsen, LeeAnne M. Richardson, Susmita Roye

About the Authors

Susmita Roye is Associate Professor of English at Delaware State University in the USA. She serves on the board of directors of Northeast Modern Language Association and the editorial board of South Asia Research journal. For her research, she has won numerous prestigious national and international scholarships, including an Award for Faculty by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in the US, an Overseas Research Scholarship in the UK, and a Junior Research Fellowship by the Government of India. Her monograph on pioneering South Asian women writers of fiction in English is forthcoming. Her articles have been published in peer-reviewed journals such as Journal of Commonwealth Literature, English Studies, Callaloo, Kunapipi, South Asia Research, and Studies in the Humanities. She has co-edited two volumes, The Male Empire under the Female Gaze: The British Raj and the Memsahib (2013) and Experiencing Otherness: A Multidisciplinary Perspective (2015). She has also contributed to numerous volumes of essays, including Amitav Ghosh's The Shadow Lines: A Critical Anthology, and Subaltern Vision: A Study in Postcolonial Indian English Text, and has reviewed books for South Asia Research and Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History.

Reviews

"[The editor] gathers essays on the writer contemporaries called 'the female Rudyard Kipling' (p. xii). The wife of a Civil Service officer who lived in India for twenty-two years, Steel learned some of the local languages and improved the lives of Indian women by providing medical aid and establishing girls' schools. The essays in this volume treat topics ranging from Steel's rewriting of women's role in the maintenance of British power to her sympathetic representation of the wit and creativity of Indian girls. The essays also reveal the generic range of Steel's writing, from her letters to newspapers to intervene in social policy to her use of cookbook writing to suggest analogies between domestic and colonial management."—Andrea Henderson, Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 (Autumn 58, 4)

"There are eight essays by different hands on Steel (1847–1929), whom her contemporaries regarded as highly as Kipling but who subsequently faded into obscurity due to 'the gender-biased politics of canonization'.... Each essay in this fascinating collection, which concludes with a useful index (pp. 211–24), is followed by notes and an alphabetically arranged enumerative listing of 'Works Cited': there are black and white illustrative figures scattered throughout the text."—William Baker, The Year's Work in English Studies, Volume 98, Issue 1

"Going beyond Steel's most famous and widely discussed work, On the Face of the Waters, this excellent volume strives to shed light on her less well-known novels, such as The Potter's Thumb and Voices in the Night: A Chromatic Fantasia, as well as her short fiction and other genres of her writing that have not received much attention from literary critics, including housekeeping advice, journalism, and letters to editors."—Ira Raja, Oxford University Press Journals,Volume 98, Issue 1

"The volume consists of individually strong essays that shed new light on undiscovered aspects of Steel as a writer, covering the entire gamut of her writing life. [It] exemplifies the value of microstudy with attention on the particular, helping to raise important, larger points about the general. This volume is essential reading for scholars of gender, literature, cultural studies, South Asian studies and imperial histories, and is highly recommended for anthropologists, scholars of British history and those interested in the intersections of race, class and gender." [Full review at DOI: 10.1177/0262728020944769]—Radha Kapuria, South Asia Research Vol. 40(3)

9781772122602 : flora-annie-steel-roye-banerjee-bauer
Paperback / softback
304 Pages
$54.99 USD

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