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Bombay Anna [electronic resource] : the real story and remarkable adventures of the King and I governess /
Susan Morgan.
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2008.
description
xviii, 274 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0520252268 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780520252264 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2008.
isbn
0520252268 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780520252264 (cloth : alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
contents note
Introduction: a life of passing -- Ancestors: a Methodist, a soldier, and a "Lady not entirely white" -- A company childhood -- Daughter of the Deccan -- Love and Bombay, at last -- Metamorphosis: "a life sublimated above the ordinary" -- A teacher and a king -- A job in a palace -- "The noble and devoted women whom I learned to know, to esteem, and to love" -- Settled in Bangkok -- The paths to good-bye -- An American writer -- The Canadian grande dame -- "Shall we dance?": Anna and U.S.-Thai relations.
general note
"A Philip E. Lilienthal book"--Prelim.
catalogue key
11663735
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 245-260) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"Anna Leonowens has been a historical puzzle. Susan Morgan establishes a solid ground for our understanding of this intriguing writer who became famous in our time thanks to a Broadway musical. Her life and contributions as a writer, a humanist, and a 19th century feminist were far richer beyond being the 'I' with the King."--Thongchai Winichakul, author ofSiam Mapped: A History of the Geo-Body of a Nation "With extraordinary detective work, Susan Morgan uncovers the real tale of a brilliant and dynamic traveler who cut ties to her past history and fabricated the story of her life that has found its way into legend. In lovely and graceful prose, she uses this story to help us understand patterns of national and international life."--Allan M. Winkler, author ofFranklin D. Roosevelt and the Making of Modern America "With sensitive writing and meticulous research,Bombay Annaoffers the first comprehensive biography of Anna Leonowens, the "I" inThe King and I,which gave my father, Yul Brynner, his signature role. The details of her self-invention are only part of the revelation Susan Morgan provides; she also paints a masterful portrait of the Britain's Raj and its colonial hegemony in Southeast Asia. It is a fascinating read.--Prof. Rock Brynner, author ofYul: The Man Who Would Be King
Flap Copy
"Anna Leonowens has been a historical puzzle. Susan Morgan establishes a solid ground for our understanding of this intriguing writer who became famous in our time thanks to a Broadway musical. Her life and contributions as a writer, a humanist, and a 19th century feminist were far richer beyond being the 'I' with the King."--Thongchai Winichakul, author of Siam Mapped: A History of the Geo-Body of a Nation "With extraordinary detective work, Susan Morgan uncovers the real tale of a brilliant and dynamic traveler who cut ties to her past history and fabricated the story of her life that has found its way into legend. In lovely and graceful prose, she uses this story to help us understand patterns of national and international life."--Allan M. Winkler, author of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Making of Modern America "With sensitive writing and meticulous research, Bombay Anna offers the first comprehensive biography of Anna Leonowens, the 'I' in The King and I, which gave my father, Yul Brynner, his signature role. The details of her self-invention are only part of the revelation Susan Morgan provides; she also paints a masterful portrait of the Britain's Raj and its colonial hegemony in Southeast Asia. It is a fascinating read." --Prof. Rock Brynner, author of Yul: The Man Who Would Be King
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2008-02-11:
According to Morgan, the inspiration for the governess to the royal Siamese children in the 1950s musical The King and I, Anna Leonowens (1831-1915) was not the genteel British lady she purported to be, but a low-born, Anglo-Indian army brat who had severed ties with her family in India. A young widow living in Singapore, Leonowens was hired by King Mongkut to teach his wives and 82 children English. An absolute monarch committed to improving his people's lives and avoiding foreign control of his country, Mongkut had no romantic interest in Leonowens but shared her deep love of learning, occasionally consulted her on state issues and considered her arguments about the treatment of his enslaved harem. After Siam, the irrepressible Leonowens again reinvented herself as an eminent author and public lecturer in the U.S. and Canada, a social reformer and suffragist in Canada, a journalist in Russia and a Sanskrit scholar in Germany. Miami University English professor Morgan (Place Matters) uncovers and competently demonstrates the achievements of an extraordinary Victorian woman, but her biography is undermined by repetitious and charmless prose, underdeveloped analyses of Western/Thai political relationships and unfocused ramblings about the nature of biography. 15 b&w photos. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 2008-03-01:
Morgan (English, Miami Univ.; Place Matters) provides a comprehensive examination of Anna Leonowens (1834-1915) whose own memoirs, The English Governess at the Siamese Court and The Romance of the Harem, gained wide attention through Margaret Landon's 1944 fictionalized account, Anna and the King of Siam, and the theatrical, musical, and film versions that followed. Morgan's research yields the details of Anna's full and long life, delving into her roots as a child of the British in India and the power of a personality driven to reinvent itself several times over, only to be reinvented again by Landon and the condescending cliches of The King and I. While Morgan recognizes that Leonowens's memoirs are "preposterous" and "sentimental," she defines their writer as a self-made woman who overcame circumstances of birth, class, gender, and place and is worthy of study. A fascinating, scholarly work, this is suitable for Victorian history or women's studies collections in academic libraries.-Faye Harkins, Murray State Univ. Lib., KY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A fascinating, scholarly work."--Library Journal
"A fascinating, scholarly work."-- Library Journal
"A lively incarnation of Anna, one that gives the character of the musical and movies full humanity in historical context."-- Philadelphia Inquirer
"Morgan paints a satisfying, multifaceted portrait. Engrossing retelling of an extraordinary life, correcting many popular misconceptions."--Kirkus Reviews
"Morgan paints a satisfying, multifaceted portrait. Engrossing retelling of an extraordinary life, correcting many popular misconceptions."-- Kirkus Reviews
"Pick up Bombay Anna and be prepared to find an inspiring story of an incredible woman."-- Feminist Review
"This informed and entertaining biography reveals Leonowens as an intriguing and complex woman, whose interests ranged far beyond young lovers and whistling happy tunes."-- Foreword
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, February 2008
Library Journal, March 2008
New York Times Full Text Review, October 2009
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
If you thought you knew the story of Anna inThe King and I,think again. As this riveting biography shows, the real life of Anna Leonowens was far more fascinating than the beloved story of the Victorian governess who went to work for the King of Siam. To write this definitive account, Susan Morgan traveled around the globe and discovered new information that has eluded researchers for years. Anna was born a poor, mixed-race army brat in India, and what followed is an extraordinary nineteenth-century story of savvy self-invention, wild adventure, and far-reaching influence. At a time when most women stayed at home, Anna Leonowens traveled all over the world, encountered some of the most fascinating events of the age of empire, and became a well-known travel writer, journalist, teacher, and lecturer. She remains the one and only foreigner to have spent significant time inside the royal harem of Siam. She emigrated to the United States, where she mingled with theAtlantic Monthlyliterati, crossed all of Russia on her own just before the revolution, and moved to Canada, where she raised eight children and publicly defended the rights of women and the working class. In addition to telling this inspiring story in full for the first time, the book gives an engrossing account of how and why Anna became an icon of American culture inThe King and Iand its many adaptations.
Main Description
If you thought you knew the story of Anna in The King and I, think again. As this riveting biography shows, the real life of Anna Leonowens was far more fascinating than the beloved story of the Victorian governess who went to work for the King of Siam. To write this definitive account, Susan Morgan traveled around the globe and discovered new information that has eluded researchers for years. Anna was born a poor, mixed-race army brat in India, and what followed is an extraordinary nineteenth-century story of savvy self-invention, wild adventure, and far-reaching influence. At a time when most women stayed at home, Anna Leonowens traveled all over the world, witnessed some of the most fascinating events of the Age of Empire, and became a well-known travel writer, journalist, teacher, and lecturer. She remains the one and only foreigner to have spent significant time inside the royal harem of Siam. She emigrated to the United States, crossed all of Russia on her own just before the revolution, and moved to Canada, where she publicly defended the rights of women and the working class. The book also gives an engrossing account of how and why Anna became an icon of American culture in The King and I and its many adaptations.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. xi
Prefacep. xiii
Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
Introduction: A Life of Passingp. 1
Ancestors: A Methodist, a Soldier, and a "Lady Not Entirely White"p. 11
A Company Childhoodp. 29
Daughter of the Deccanp. 42
Love and Bombay, at Lastp. 56
Metamorphosis: "A Life Sublimated above the Ordinary"p. 70
A Teacher and a Kingp. 88
A Job in a Palacep. 104
"The Noble and Devoted Women Whom I Learned to Know, to Esteem, and to Love"p. 118
Settled in Bangkokp. 136
The Paths to Good-byep. 153
An American Writerp. 167
The Canadian Grande Damep. 186
"Shall We Dance?": Anna and U.S.-Thai Relationsp. 207
The Magnificent Chapter: How the British Got to Indiap. 225
The Women of British Indiap. 235
Select Bibliographyp. 245
Indexp. 261
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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