Item Details

An English Governess in the Great War: The Secret Brussels Diary of Mary Thorp

Sophie De Schaepdrijver and Tammy M. Proctor
Format
Book
Published
New York, NY : Oxford University Press, [2017]
Language
English
ISBN
9780190276706, 0190276703
Summary
"Mary Thorp, an English governess working for a Belgian-Russian family in German-occupied Brussels, kept a secret war diary from September 1916 to January 1919. This long-forgotten diary sheds light on an important aspect of the First World War: civilian life under military occupation in a transnational conflict"--
"An Englishwoman of no particular fame living in World War I Brussels started a secret diary in September 1916. Aware that her thoughts could put her in danger with German authorities, she never wrote her name on the diary and ran to hide it every time the 'Boches' came to inspect the house. The diary survived the war and ended up in a Belgian archive, forgotten for nearly a century until historians Sophie De Schaepdrijver and Tammy M. Proctor discovered it and the remarkable woman who wrote it: Mary Thorp, a middle-aged English governess working for a wealthy Belgian-Russian family in Brussels. As a foreigner and a woman, Mary Thorp offers a unique window into life under German occupation in Brussels (the largest occupied city of World War I) and in the uncertain early days of the peace. Her diary describes the roar of cannons in the middle of the night, queues for food and supplies in the shops, her work for a wartime charity, news from an interned godson in Germany, along with elegant dinners with powerful diplomats and the educational progress of her beloved charges. Mary Thorp's sharp and bittersweet reflections testify to the daily strains of living under enemy occupation, comment on the events of the war as they unfolded, and ultimately serve up a personal story of self-reliance and endurance. De Schaepdrijver and Proctor's in-depth commentary situate this extraordinary woman in her complex political, social, and cultural context, thus providing an unusual chance to engage with the Great War on an intimate and personal level "--
Contents
  • Introduction: "Still I Feel I Did My Duty" : Diary of an English Governess, 1916-1919
  • Historical Background: Life in an Occupied City : Brussels
  • Framing the Diary : A Note from the Editors
  • Mary Thorp's Diary
  • -Part 1. No "Eleventh Hour" : September 1916-February 1917
  • -Part 2: "Qui Vivra Verra" : March-December 1917
  • -Part 3: "We Still Hear the Same Eternal Cannon" : January-October 1918
  • -Part 4. "The Book of Peace!!!" : October 1918-January 1919
  • Epilogue: "Quite Nice to Be Remembered"
  • Appendix: Thorp Family Tree.
Description
280 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
Notes
Includes bibliographical references (pages 263-268) and index.
Technical Details
  • Access in Virgo Classic

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    a| Introduction: "Still I Feel I Did My Duty" : Diary of an English Governess, 1916-1919 -- Historical Background: Life in an Occupied City : Brussels -- Framing the Diary : A Note from the Editors -- Mary Thorp's Diary -- -Part 1. No "Eleventh Hour" : September 1916-February 1917 -- -Part 2: "Qui Vivra Verra" : March-December 1917 -- -Part 3: "We Still Hear the Same Eternal Cannon" : January-October 1918 -- -Part 4. "The Book of Peace!!!" : October 1918-January 1919 -- Epilogue: "Quite Nice to Be Remembered" -- Appendix: Thorp Family Tree.
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