Bombay Anna: The Real Story and Remarkable Adventures of the <i>King and I</i> Governess

Front Cover
University of California Press, Jul 7, 2008 - Literary Criticism - 300 pages
3 Reviews
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.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

BOMBAY ANNA: The Real Story and Remarkable Adventures of The King and I Governess

User Review  - Kirkus

Probing biography of a woman who did a lot more than whistle a happy tune.Anna Leonowens (1831-1915) became famous decades after her death as the well-born, gently bred governess in Margaret Landon's ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - juglicerr - LibraryThing

This is an interesting book, and well-worth reading, but marred by dithering when the author has to confront Anna Leonowen's lies. Although the author has obviously done a great deal of research, she ... Read full review

Contents

1 Introduction
1
2 Ancestors
11
3 A Company Childhood
29
4 Daughter of the Deccan
42
5 Love and Bombay at Last
56
6 Metamorphosis
70
7 A Teacher and a King
88
8 A Job in a Palace
104
11 The Paths to Goodbye
153
12 An American Writer
167
13 The Canadian Grande Dame
186
14 Shall We Dance?
207
Appendix One
225
Appendix Two
235
Select Bibliography
245
Index
261

9 The Noble and Devoted Women Whom I Learned to Know to Esteem and to Love
118
10 Settled in Bangkok
136

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2008)

Susan Morgan, Distinguished Professor of English at Miami University, is the author of Place Matters: Gendered Geography in Victorian Women's Travel Writings about Southeast Asia, among other books.

Bibliographic information