While waiting for the new season of Downton Abbey to begin, why not enjoy other DVDs and books which explore the same time period and themes? Anne Rouyer of the New York Public Library has created a list of great suggestions.
On DVD, check out the television serials Upstairs, Downstairs, Berkeley Square, and House of Eliott. The feature films Gosford Park and Remains of the Day are set later, but also portray the master/servant relationship. The Remains of the Day film is based on the book of the same title by Kazuo Ishiguro.
Margaret Powell’s memoir Below Stairs inspired Upstairs, Downstairs. For more information about the real Downton Abbey, read The World of Downton Abbey and Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey.
For non-fiction about this time period, try The Great Silence: Britain from the Shadow of the First World War to the Dawn of the Jazz Age, Inheritance: the story of Knole and the Sackvilles, The Bolter, Bright Young People: The Lost Generation of London’s Jazz Age and The Perfect Summer: England 1911, Just Before the Storm.
Fiction offers many fascinating choices. The classics Howard’s End or A Room with a View by E.M. Forster, The Buccaneers by Edith Wharton, and Vita Sackville-West’s The Edwardians are one place to start. In addition, The Shooting Party by Isabel Colegate, The Children’s Book, by A.S. Byatt, Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants, The American Heiress, by Daisy Goodwin , and The House at Riverton by Kate Morton all offer a good read.
The classic Dorothy L. Sayers mysteries featuring Lord Peter Wimsey and his efficient butler Bunter provide an excellent view of the era between the wars. For other mysteries, try The Crimson Rooms by Katharine McMahon, Shadows and Lies and The Shape of Sand by Marjorie Eccles, the Dandy Gilver series by Catriona McPherson, and the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear. Charles Todd has two mystery series from this time period. One features WWI nurse Bess Crawford while the other features Scotland Yard detective and WWI veteran Ian Rutledge.