Bombay Anna: The Real Story and Remarkable Adventures of "The King and I" Governess

Author(s): Susan Morgan


If you thought you knew the story of Anna in The King and I, think again. As this riveting biography shows, the real life of Anna Leonowens was far more fascinating than the beloved story of the Victorian governess who went to work for the King of Siam. To write this definitive account, Susan Morgan traveled around the globe and discovered new information that has eluded researchers for years. Anna was born a poor, mixed-race army brat in India, and what followed is an extraordinary nineteenth-century story of savvy self-invention, wild adventure, and far-reaching influence. At a time when most women stayed at home, Anna Leonowens traveled all over the world, witnessed some of the most fascinating events of the Age of Empire, and became a well-known travel writer, journalist, teacher, and lecturer. She remains the one and only foreigner to have spent significant time inside the royal harem of Siam. She emigrated to the United States, crossed all of Russia on her own just before the revolution, and moved to Canada, where she publicly defended the rights of women and the working class.The book also gives an engrossing account of how and why Anna became an icon of American culture in The King and I and its many adaptations.


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"A lively incarnation of Anna, one that gives the character of the musical and movies full humanity in historical context."--Philadelphia Inquirer "Morgan paints a satisfying, multifaceted portrait. Engrossing retelling of an extraordinary life, correcting many popular misconceptions."--Kirkus Reviews "This informed and entertaining biography reveals Leonowens as an intriguing and complex woman, whose interests ranged far beyond young lovers and whistling happy tunes."--Foreword "A fascinating, scholarly work."--Library Journal "Pick up Bombay Anna and be prepared to find an inspiring story of an incredible woman."--Feminist Review

Susan Morgan, Distinguished Professor of English at Miami University, is the author of Place Matters: Gendered Geography in Victorian Women's Travel Writings about Southeast Asia, among other books.

General Fields

  • : 9780520252264
  • : University of California Press
  • : University of California Press
  • : June 2008
  • : 229mm X 152mm X 25mm
  • : United States
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 959.3034092
  • : Hardback
  • : Susan Morgan
  • : 15 b/w photographs
  • : 300