Servants on Top

Elizabeth R Evans er.evans at
Mon Jun 13 17:07:53 EDT 2005

Charlie wrote:

>Strikes me that there's quite a literature of people who are nominally servants but actually in charge (and that there's a fairly neat ObDWJ here linking back to *Conrad's Fate*) - a large enough literature to have a few sub-categories of its own - and I do like subcategories! Here's a few at random, to add to Nana and the Streatfeild examples:
>The Admirable Crichton (to compare with Nana?)
>Man Friday
>Sancho Panza
>Old Mus' Hobden. 
>Mrs Bird in the Paddington stories
>Lear's Fool
>Uncle Tom (another ObDWJ!)
>the witty slaves of classical new comedy and its Elizabethan/17-century descendants
>Of all these I think we might usefully ask, for starters: 'How feudal are *you*?'

And Colin suggested subcategories:
1. The master is posing as the servant
 - Now, would you put Benvenuto in this category?
    1a. Long-term
    1b. For some specific event
2. The servant has some sinister hold on the master
 - Iago (a sinister psychological hold that Othello doesn't even realise is there)
3. The servant is so good at everything that the master relies on him 
and doesn't even realise
4. The master is stupid and doesn't realise the servant is running rings 
around him.
 - Iago


To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at

More information about the Dwj mailing list