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Mongkut and I

Ruth Bernard Yeazell

30 January 1992
The Romance of the Harem 
by Anna Leonowens, edited by Susan Morgan.
Virginia, 285 pp., £10.50, August 1991, 0 8139 1328 4
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... musical, The King and I, the English governess quarrels with her royal employer over his refusal to provide her with a separate house, outside the harem walls. Alone in her room afterwards, Anna takes her revenge with a spirited patter song, indignantly denouncing the King as a ‘conceited, self-indulgent libertine’ and seizing the occasion to inform him in – absentia – of ‘certain ...

The Perfect Plot Device

Dinah Birch: Governesses

17 July 2008
Other People’s Daughters: The Life and Times of the Governess 
by Ruth Brandon.
Weidenfeld, 303 pp., £20, March 2008, 978 0 297 85113 4
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... times as big as it ever did before, and I thought it shaked most uncommonly! Weeton’s sense of physical and social dislocation was common among those working at close quarters with another family. Anna Jameson, an enterprising and ambitious journalist, soon managed to escape the trade (‘I have never in my life heard of a governess who was such by choice’). She turned her experience to good ...

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