Flora Annie Steel: British memsahib or new woman?

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in English


Department of English


Advisor: Laura Vorachek


Rudyard Kipling might have tried to prove that females are a misfit in the [Indian] colony and eventually become an impediment to masculine commitment to empire (Sen 14). However, his female counterpart Flora Annie Steel, an Anglo-Indian living in India for twenty-two years, demonstrated that the memsahib didn't have to be a woman that hindered the British Empire but supported and elevated British status in India. Flora Annie Steel's life and works delve into the complicated lives of Anglo-Indian women living and surviving in Colonial India. Through a close examination of Steel's novels On the Face of the Waters, and Miss Stuart's Legacy, her autobiography The Garden of Fidelity and her household management manual, The Complete Indian Housekeeper and Cook, I will argue that Steel attempts to reconcile both her the ideals of the New Woman with the ideals of the pro imperialism memsahib. It is through her complicated depiction of the Anglo-Indian woman that Steel is able to reveal duality of being both a British Memsahib and New Woman.


Steel, Flora Annie Webster, 1847-1929 Criticism and interpretation, Women in literature, Anglo-Indian fiction Criticism and interpretation, Comparative literature; European studies; gender studies; history; women's studies; Flora Annie Steel; new woman; late 19th century; memsahib; Victorian; Britain; Colonial India

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Copyright © 2013, author