A work of innovative literary and cultural history, The Servant's Hand examines the representation of servants in nineteenth-century British fiction. Wandering in the margins of these texts that are not about them, servants are visible only as anachronistic appendages to their masters and as functions of traditional narrative form. Yet their persistence, Robbins argues, signals more than the absence of the "ordinary people" they are taken to represent. Robbins's argument offers a new and distinctive approach to the literary analysis of class, while it also bodies forth a revisionist counterpolitics to the realist tradition from Homer to Virginia Woolf. Originally published in 1986 (Columbia University Press), The Servant's Hand is appearing for the first time in paperback.
Bruce W. Robbins is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Rutgers University.
Preface ix Introduction: The Secret Pressure of a Working Hand 1 1. From Odysseus' Scar to the Brown Stocking: A Tradition 25 2. Impertinence: The Servant in Dialogue 53 3. Exposition: The Servant as Narrator 91 4. Agency: The Servant as Instrument of the Plot 131 5. Recognition: The Servant in the Ending 167 Conclusion: Commonplace and Utopia 205 Notes 227 Bibliography 239 Index 255