Anna and the King of Siam (novel)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
First edition (publ. John Day)

Anna and the King of Siam is a 1944 semi-fictionalized biographical novel by Margaret Landon.

In the early 1860s, Anna Leonowens, a widow with two young children, was invited to Siam (now Thailand) by King Mongkut (Rama IV), who wanted her to teach his children and wives the English language and introduce them to British customs. Her experiences during the five years she spent in the country served as the basis for two memoirs, The English Governess at the Siamese Court (1870) and Romance of the Harem (1872).

Landon took Leonowens' first-person narratives and enhanced them with details about the Siamese people and their culture culled from other sources.[1] The book has been translated into dozens of languages[2] and has inspired at least six adaptations into various dramatic mediums:

At the time of its publication, The New York Times called it "an inviting escape into an unfamiliar, exotic past . . . calculated to transport us instantly." The Atlantic Monthly described it as "enchanting" and added, "the author wears her scholarship with grace, and the amazing story she has to tell is recounted with humor and understanding".[3]

Anna and the King was also published as an Armed Services Edition, distributed to American troops during WWII.

Radio adaptation[edit]

Anna and the King of Siam was presented on Hallmark Playhouse 15 September 1949. The 30-minute adaptation starred Deborah Kerr.[4]


  1. ^ "Getting to Know Anna And the King of Siam". Early Bird Books. 29 November 2019.
  2. ^ Landon, Margaret. "Anna and the King of Siam" (Paperback). HarperCollins Canada.
  3. ^ Landon, Margaret (3 November 1999). "Anna and the King of Siam". Harper Perennial – via Amazon.
  4. ^ "Those Were the Days". Nostalgia Digest. 41 (2): 32–41. Spring 2015.