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Labours Lost
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Table of Contents

Prologue: the servant's dream; 1. Introduction: a new view of society; 2. Servants numberless: theories of labour and property; 3. Frances Hamilton's labour; Necessity: 4. Lord Mansfield's women; 5. In a free state; Horses: 6. The law of everyday life; 7. Policing society; servant-stories: 8. Servants and childcare: Ann Mead's murder; 9. Food for thought; 10. An ode on a dishclout; 11. A servant's wages; Stays: 12. Conclusion: the needs of things.

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A unique account of the hidden history of servants and their employers in late eighteenth-century England.

About the Author

Carolyn Steedman is Professor of History at the University of Warwick. Her previous publications include Master and Servant: Love and Labour in the English Industrial Age (2007) and Dust (2001).

Reviews

'Steedman ... wants to do more than simply revise our ideas about who did what in the Hanoverian household. Her overarching aim is to put domestic servants back into the grand narrative of British class formation.' Kathryn Hughes, Guardian
'Academics and students of social history and literature, as well as biographers, will find this new work invaluable. [Steedman] takes us into the world of servants and their employers, such as Hester Thrale and Lord Mansfield, where we read about their relationships as well as the devious techniques used by employers to evade servant taxes.' The Times Higher Education Supplement
'What makes [Steedman's] book stand out is the quality of imagination it displays. One might describe it as an intellectual history of domestic service, because it is above all an account of the way people thought about service: how servants thought about it, how their employers thought about it, how magistrates, lawyers, tax collectors and MPs thought about it.' Joanna Innes, London Review of Books
'This remarkable monograph has much to offer scholars of the literature and history of the period who will not fail to be impressed by Steedman's erudition. It is unlikely, thanks to the author's extensive research and intellectual prowess, that the importance of domestic servants in the making of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century class society will ever again be marginalized.' Katrina Honeyman, American Historical Review
'A rich description of the lives of servants in the late eighteenth century, showing us the everyday and the unusual, taking us from the most mundane realities to philosophical questions of who owned a servant's labor.' Joyce Burnette, EH.net
'This highly readable book is remarkable for the level of detail unearthed about the daily experience of domestic service ... Her overwhelming evidence and convincing analysis should call historians of labor, gender, and culture to attend to its claims and to set to work immediately on reconfiguring the larger historical narratives of the working classes; class consciousness; gender relations; the relationship between humans and animals; and conceptions of the self, privacy, and personal identity.' Dana Rabin, Journal of British Studies
"...this remarkable monograph has much to offer scholars of the literature and history of the period who will not fail to be impressed by Steedman's erudition." -Katrina Honeyman, American Historical Review
`what makes her book stand out is the quality of imagination it displays. One might describe it as an intellectual history of domestic service, because it is above all an account of the way people thought about service: how servants thought about it, how their employers thought about it, how magistrates, lawyers, tax collectors and MPs thought about it.' Joanna Innes, London Review of Books
"a rich description of the lives of servants in the late eighteenth century, showing us the everyday and the unusual, taking us from the most mundane realities to philosophical questions of who owned a servant's labor." -Joyce Burnette, EH Net
"This highly readable book is remarkable for the level of detail unearthed about the daily experience of domestic service... Her overwhelming evidence and convincing analysis should call historians of labor, gender, and culture to attend to its claims and to set to work immediately on reconfiguring the larger historical narratives of the working classes; class consciousness; gender relations; the relationship between humans and animals; and conceptions of the self, privacy, and personal identity." -Dana Rabin, Journal of British Studies
"The book is a truly praiseworthy achievement." -Robin Ganev, Canadian Journal of History

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