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Synopsis: A brave British widow goes to Siam and—by dint of her principled and indomitable character—inspires that despotic nation to abolish slavery and absolute rule: this appealing legend first took shape after the Civil War when Anna Leonowens came to America from Bangkok and succeeded in becoming a celebrity author and lecturer. Three decades after her death, in the 1940s and 1950s, the story would be transformed into a powerful Western myth by Margaret Landon’s best-selling book Anna and the King of Siam and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical The King and I.
But who was Leonowens and why did her story take hold? Although it has been known for some time that she was of Anglo-Indian parentage and that her tales about the Siamese court are unreliable, not until now, with the publication of Masked, has there been a deeply researched account of her extraordinary life. Alfred Habegger, an award-winning biographer, draws on the archives of five continents and recent Thai-language scholarship to disclose the complex person behind the mask and the troubling facts behind the myth. He also ponders the curious fit between Leonowens’s compelling fabrications and the New World’s innocent dreams—in particular the dream that democracy can be spread through quick and easy interventions.
Exploring the full historic complexity of what it once meant to pass as white, Masked pays close attention to Leonowens’s midlevel origins in British India, her education at a Bombay charity school for Eurasian children, her material and social milieu in Australia and Singapore, the stresses she endured in Bangkok as a working widow, the latent melancholy that often afflicted her, the problematic aspects of her self-invention, and the welcome she found in America, where a circle of elite New England abolitionists who knew nothing about Southeast Asia gave her their uncritical support. Her embellished story would again capture America’s imagination as World War II ended and a newly interventionist United States looked toward Asia.
Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the American Association of School Librarians
Best Regional Special Interest Boosk, selected by the Public Library Reviewers
About the Author: Alfred Habegger is professor emeritus of English at the University of Kansas. His previous biographies areThe Father: A Life of Henry James, Sr. and the highly acclaimed My Wars Are Laid Away in Books: The Life of Emily Dickinson. He lives in northeast Oregon.
Title: Masked - The Life of Anna Leonowens, ...
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
Book Condition: BRAND NEW
Book Description University of Wisconsin Press, 2014. Hardcover. Condition: Good. Item may show signs of shelf wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. Includes supplemental or companion materials if applicable. Access codes may or may not work. Connecting readers since 1972. Customer service is our top priority. Seller Inventory # S_200452524
Book Description University of Wisconsin Press. Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. 0299298302 Crisp, clean, unread book with some shelfwear and a remainder mark to one edge - NICE. Seller Inventory # Z0299298302Z2
Book Description University of Wisconsin Press. Hardcover. Condition: Good. 0299298302 Bumped and creased book with tears to the extremities, but not affecting the text block and a remainder mark to one edge - Good. Seller Inventory # Z0299298302Z3
Book Description The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, WI, 2014. Hardcover. Condition: Near Fine. Near Fine hardcover in Very Good+ dustjacket. Light creasing along the dustjacket's head. Pages, text, and several b&w images are clean and bright. Overall, an attractive copy. 543 pp. Seller Inventory # 2026966
Book Description University of Wisconsin Press, Madison WI, 2014. Hard Cover. Condition: As New. Dust Jacket Condition: As New. 543 pages. part of the series Wisconsin Studies in Autobiography Size: 6 3/8 x 9 1?4 ". Seller Inventory # 72970
Book Description 2014. HRD. Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Seller Inventory # TX-9780299298302
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Book Description 2014. HRD. Condition: New. New Book.Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Seller Inventory # IB-9780299298302
Book Description University of Chicago press. Condition: New. Brand New. Seller Inventory # 0299298302
Book Description University of Wisconsin Press, 2014. HRD. Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Seller Inventory # IB-9780299298302