Master and Servant
Leading historian Carolyn Steedman offers a fascinating and compelling account of love, life and domestic service in eighteenth-century England. The book, situated in the regional and chronological epicentre of E. P. Thompson's The Making of the English Working Class and Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, focuses on the relationship between a Church of England clergyman (the Master of the title) and his pregnant maidservant in the late eighteenth century. This case-study of people behaving in ways quite contrary to the standard historical account sheds new light on the much wider historical questions of Anglicanism as social thought, the economic history of the industrial revolution, domestic service, the poor law, literacy, education, and the very making of the English working class. It offers a unique meditation on the relationship between history and literature and will be of interest to scholars and students of industrial England, social and cultural history and English literature.