Life Downstairs: Britsh Servant Culture in Fact, Fiction, and Film
While servant narratives have been popular for centuries, there seems to be a resurging interest in these stories in recent decades. Many contemporary British and North American writers, filmmakers, and television executives have turned to master/servant relationships as their subject matter. Films like The Remains of the Day and Gosford Park garnered numerous Oscar nominations and substantial box office profits. PBS created such classics as Upstairs, Downstairs and Manor House, as well as the phenomenally successful Downton Abbey! Even mainstream American television has piloted its own versions of the British servant in shows as wide-ranging as The Fresh Prince of Bel Air to reality TV's Supernanny. Join Ann McClellan as she explores the history behind the rise and fall of British servants and why Americans are so fascinated by their stories on page and screen.
Ann McClellan is professor of English at Plymouth State University where she teaches 19th and 20th century British literature. She is the author of How British Women Writers Transformed the Campus Novel 2012), Sherlock's World: Fanfiction and the Reimagining of BBC's Sherlock (2018), and several articles on cultural topics ranging from servants on screen to social media, fan fiction, and Sherlock Holmes. She is currently writing a new monograph on Black Sherlock Holmes adaptations.