Friday, February 10, 2012

Downton Abbey and alternate realities

This New York Times article by Judith Newman explores the immense popularity of PBS's Downton Abbey  within the U.S., along with several books that offer alternative views on relationships between English masters and servants.  Was it the case that they were characterized by noblesse oblige, perhaps even coupled with social intimacy, or were they typically distant and exploitative in nature?  Newman implies that the depiction may largely reflect the social background of the writer, as does a recent piece by Heilpern appearing in the Nation about the author of Downton Abbey.  Newman, as well as Timson in a recent article in The Globe and Mail, see the popularity of this series in light of America's financial crisis and growing preoccupation with inequality.

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