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Relations - Jane Eldridge Miller

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Jane Eldridge Miller
Jonathan Cape
UK Publication Date

An extraordinary family memoir In this remarkable book, Jane Miller writes about the experiences of being a daughter and a sister, of the intensities of family life and of the illuminations that come from the last days and death of parents. Relations offers a portrait of a record-keeping, middle-class kinship, reaching back into the past, which begins from her parents' long marriage, its mysteries and incompatibilities, their shared sense of themselves as artists - she as a painter, he as a pianist. It was a marriage marked by the dismay it met with from both their families. Writing about these things leads Miller to further explorations: her relations with her maternal grandfather, Redcliffe Salaman, scientist, historian, secular Jew, and his with his devoutly Jewish wife. Her father's family were Unitarian - Dissenters since the 17th century - and her great-grandfather, Collet Dobson Collet, was known for his role in the successful campaign to liberate the press from the 'taxes on knowledge' imposed by government and for his friendship with Karl Marx.;Collet's daughter Clara was one of the first women civil servants, and an economist who was involved in the first stirrings of the Welfare State. Here are the tensions of belonging and yet not belonging to an English middle class at once hospitable to difference and internally divided. More than two hundred years of English history are present in these portraits, which show the gradual and uneven emancipation of women, the effects of empire on family life and the importance to it of religion, education and money. It is the story of a long haul, an evolution, of a move out of trade towards public service and the professions, and towards the dramas and family romance of recent times.

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Keyword Index
Middle class - Great Britain - Biography.|Great Britain - Social life and customs.
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