Ode on a Dishclout

Joanna Innes

  • Labours Lost: Domestic Service and the Making of Modern England by Carolyn Steedman
    Cambridge, 410 pp, £21.99, November 2009, ISBN 978 0 521 73623 7

Carolyn Steedman’s is a distinctive, probing, inquiring voice. Personal, but not solipsistic. We never forget, reading her books, that there’s a mind in charge, but not one that’s preoccupied with itself: it is always grappling with some other experience, some other way of seeing, which can’t be re-experienced, but can be hunted, glimpsed, located in its habitat, experimentally ventriloquised, considered from different points of view (some critical), or approached indirectly through its impact on others, or through its refracted representations.

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