Books that show an large English Manor workings
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I am looking for books that show the innerworkings of a english manor during the late 1800's and early 1900's. I enjoy reading how the servants live and intereact with each other and the family that they serve. thanks :)
Well, this may not be a perfect fit, but there was some of this on a non-fiction basis in the book At Home by Bill Bryson. It goes into the history of a house in England including the origins of each type of room, lots about servants and generally about personal culture throughout England's history.
Another excellent non-fiction work is What the butler saw: 250 years of the servant problem by E.S. Turner - still very good, despite having been written fifty years ago. David Cannadine's Decline and fall of the British aristocracy is heavyweight academic history, but still pretty readable. He looks (amongst other things) at the business of running a great house from the owner's point of view.
Fiction: it's a lot easier to think of examples set in relatively modest town houses with only two or three servants. Even in novels that are set in grand country houses the servants are often practically invisible, or we just get a few token appearances by a butler or housekeeper. One "lightweight" novel that goes into a surprising amount of detail about life in the servants' hall at Blandings Castle is Wodehouse's Something fresh (a.k.a. Something new), published in 1915 but drawing on his childhood in the 1890s. There's a great tradition of upstairs/downstairs costume drama in British TV and film, of course.
Thackeray is pretty good on servants - occasionally a bit patronising, but he has more focus on what they actually do than Dickens does. The book of snobs and The memoirs of C.J. Yellowplush are good hunting grounds for servant lore, but there's also plenty in the big novels like Vanity Fair.
Henry Green's Loving and Kazuo Ishiguro's The remains of the day are classic views from the servant's POV at the very end of the servant era (1930s and 40s), so maybe a bit outside your time range.
There's a bit of this sort of stuff in Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone as well.
Thank You everyone, these are great and give me a place to start! :)
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