Women Of The Raj

by Margaret Macmillan

Penguin Canada | July 12, 2005 | Trade Paperback

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From the author of the #1 bestselling Paris 1919, a revealing portrait of Englishwomen in colonial India

During Britain''s rule of India-the Raj-women were expected to create a replica of British society in the face of almost insuperable difficulties. Exiled to a strange land, surrounded by people whose language, customs, and religion were mysterious and for the most part alien, how did these women react and live? How did they adjust, if at all, to life in bungalows with teams of servants, to repeated moves and heartbreaking separations from their families, to the heat, illness, loneliness, and boredom, to holidays in hill-stations and the unforgettable Indian landscapes?

Focusing in particular on the 1850s to 1947, Margaret MacMillan explores those questions in fascinating detail, drawing on the women''s own letters and memoirs, on novels and interviews with relatives, including her own grandmother. Generously illustrated, the book vividly brings to life the experiences of these women-exotic, jolly, humdrum, tragic-for contemporary readers.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 224 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.5 in

Published: July 12, 2005

Publisher: Penguin Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0143052616

ISBN - 13: 9780143052616

Found in: Social and Cultural Studies

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– More About This Product –

Women Of The Raj

by Margaret Macmillan

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 224 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.5 in

Published: July 12, 2005

Publisher: Penguin Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0143052616

ISBN - 13: 9780143052616

Read from the Book

Chapter 1 The Voyage Out Englishwomen—and Welsh and Scots and Irish women—had been going to India for generations by the time the Raj reached its peak in the late nineteenth century. The first to make the voyage may have been a Mrs. Hudson and her maid, Frances Webb, who went in 1617 as companions to an Armenian lady who had been born in India. (Frances had a love affair on the voyage, unwittingly setting the pattern for countless women who came after her.) Over the years, India drew a few women looking for work—as milliners, perhaps, or governesses. And some women had a calling to be missionaries. Others simply went because they had been summoned back by their families after an education in Britain. The great majority, however, went to India because their husbands were there or because they hoped to find husbands for themselves. (To keep them chaste for the marriage market, unmarried women traveled, until well into the twentieth century, under the care of chaperones, usually married women who were making the voyage anyway.) The “fishing fleet,” as it was known unkindly but accurately by the nineteenth century, arrived in India in the autumn at the start of the cold weather. One lady who came out in 1779 divided what she called “the speculative ladies” into old maids, “of the shrivelled and dry description,” and girls, “educated merely to cover the surface of their mental deformity.” The odds were that their fi
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From the Publisher

From the author of the #1 bestselling Paris 1919, a revealing portrait of Englishwomen in colonial India

During Britain''s rule of India-the Raj-women were expected to create a replica of British society in the face of almost insuperable difficulties. Exiled to a strange land, surrounded by people whose language, customs, and religion were mysterious and for the most part alien, how did these women react and live? How did they adjust, if at all, to life in bungalows with teams of servants, to repeated moves and heartbreaking separations from their families, to the heat, illness, loneliness, and boredom, to holidays in hill-stations and the unforgettable Indian landscapes?

Focusing in particular on the 1850s to 1947, Margaret MacMillan explores those questions in fascinating detail, drawing on the women''s own letters and memoirs, on novels and interviews with relatives, including her own grandmother. Generously illustrated, the book vividly brings to life the experiences of these women-exotic, jolly, humdrum, tragic-for contemporary readers.

About the Author

MARGARET MacMILLAN is the renowned author of Women of the Raj, Stephen Leacock (Extraordinary Canadians series), and the international bestsellers Nixon in China and Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World, which won the 2003 Governor General’s Award and the 2002 Samuel Johnson Prize. She is also the author of The Uses and Abuses of History. The past provost of Trinity College at the University of Toronto, she is now the warden of St. Antony’s College at Oxford University.

Editorial Reviews

"[Women of the Raj is] well researched and thoroughly enjoyable." —Evening Standard