Manservant and Maidservant

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Manservant and Maidservant
First edition
Author Ivy Compton-Burnett
Publisher Victor Gollancz
Publication date

Manservant and Maidservant is a 1947 novel by Ivy Compton-Burnett. It was published in the United States with the title Bullivant and the Lambs.[1]

Whenever the author was asked which of her novels were her favorites, she always mentioned Manservant and Maidservant and A House and Its Head.[citation needed]

Manservant and Maidservant is among the funniest and most surprising of Compton-Burnett's inventions. It focuses on the household of Horace Lamb, sadist, skinflint, and tyrant, a man whose children fear and hate him and whose wife is planning to elope [with Horace's cousin]. But it is when Horace undergoes an altogether unforeseeable change of heart that the real difficulties begin. Is the repentant master a victim along with his sometime slaves? What compensation, or consolation, can there be for the wrongs that have been done?” — from the back cover of the NYRB Classics edition, 2001.


  1. ^ Book Review of 1st US edition, Alfred A. Knopf, 1948 (19 July 1948). "The Autocrat at the Tea Table". Time. By the end of Bullivant and the Lambs, what seemed at first to be merely an assembly of oldfashioned, improbable types has been changed by mysterious artistry into a vitally authentic household.