“Intimacies and Intimations: Storytelling between Servants and Masters” A Public Lecture by Dr David Hopkin (Hertford College, University of Oxford)

  • 26th February 2014
  • The Warburg Institute, Woburn Square, London WC1H 0AB

The female servant storyteller is a literary commonplace that runs from classical times via Mother Goose to Charles Dickens and beyond. So familiar is this figure that some recent critics have argued that she obscures the true history of folktales and storytelling. However, in nineteenth-century France, almost all future folklorists first heard folktales from servant and, when they came to collect folk narratives, made their first investigations among servants. What was being communicated when a servant told a tale to her master or her charges?  What do servants’ stories reveal about the experience of domestic service?  And what do they tell us about the nature of class and gender relations in the nineteenth century?

 

David Hopkin won the Katharine Briggs Award 2012 for his book “Voices of the People in Nineteenth-Century France” (Cambridge University Press) 

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