Sunday, May 20, 2007

Attention domestic historians!

Masterpiece Theatre is airing The Secret Life Of Mrs. Beeton tonight. It's as close as PBS gets to a lurid tell-all about the first lady of home economics, Isabella Beeton.

UPDATED: Thanks to Anonymous who expressed my feelings quicker than I could get them typed! You can read the book on which this program was based if you are curious about the blend of fact and fiction. My heart broke at Mrs. Beeton's children's deaths. In an era when similar women would recline on the fainting couch from depression, I admire her gumption. I especially enjoyed the kitchen scene where she and her housekeeper attempt turtle soup!
Vickie at Turkey Feathers has more commentary on the program.

9 comments:

Ivy said...

Thanks for posting this, I've got it TiVoed!

Grace said...

I saw that somewhere online but forgot to set the DVR to record it! Thanks for the reminder. Should be ineresting.

Shannon said...

This was so good, but I missed the last part (morning sickness at night - fun). What did she die of?

Elizabeth said...

So so sad to me... SPOILER:









She died after childbirth, but it was implied that syphillis contributed to her death... her dh later died of it...

Anonymous said...

This was a revelation. I grew up about two miles from Pinner,Middx. and Mrs. Beeton was a household name - however I never knew who she was or details of her sad life.
My sister had a first edition of her book..............

Marie said...

Lurid, indeed. I don't mind implied married sex, but they made Mrs. Beeton out to be quite the feminist!

I don't know much about Mrs. Beeton. Was that accurate?

Anna said...

Yes I too would like to know what others thought of this production. I don't really know much at all about her life and know how they can dramitize things and make them so out there unlike what a person's actual life was like. Do they actually even know that she died of syphillis? Let alone making it out that she wanted to work rather than be home and bored only after living and settling her home in order the for first the month they were there. I hope someone writes in. Meredith, what did you think of it...did they show her in a fair light?

Anonymous said...

I did a little research on Mrs. Beeton yesterday, after reading some comments on other blogs. The syphilis connection was drawn by the author of the book on which the film was based. It's not proven, but not a far-fetched possibility, either.

The author also implied that Mrs. Beeton turned to work not out of boredom, but more likely out of financial necessity and possibly to divert her attention from the grief of a number of miscarriages and stillbirths.

There wasn't anything implying or directly indicating that Mrs. Beeton was a feminist or promoted it; it just seemed like she did what women in tight circumstances have always done: work at whatever will bring in cash and make the best of whatever circumstances they find themselves in.

Anna said...

Thankyou for writing in what you have learned reguarding Mrts. Beeton.