Mrs. Robinson's disgrace: the private diary of a Victorian lady

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Pub. Date:
2012.
Language:
English
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"I think people marry far too much; it is such a lottery, and for a poor woman—bodily and morally the husband's slave—a very doubtful happiness." -Queen Victoria to her recently married daughter Vicky

Headstrong, high-spirited, and already widowed, Isabella Walker became Mrs. Henry Robinson at age 31 in 1844. Her first husband had died suddenly, leaving his estate to a son from a previous marriage, so she inherited nothing. A successful civil engineer, Henry moved them, by then with two sons, to Edinburgh's elegant society in 1850. But Henry traveled often and was cold and remote when home, leaving Isabella to her fantasies.

No doubt thousands of Victorian women faced the same circumstances, but Isabella chose to record her innermost thoughts-and especially her infatuation with a married Dr. Edward Lane-in her diary. Over five years the entries mounted-passionate, sensual, suggestive. One fateful day in 1858 Henry chanced on the diary and, broaching its privacy, read Isabella's intimate entries. Aghast at his wife's perceived infidelity, Henry petitioned for divorce on the grounds of adultery. Until that year, divorce had been illegal in England, the marital bond being a cornerstone of English life. Their trial would be a cause celebre, threatening the foundations of Victorian society with the specter of "a new and disturbing figure: a middle class wife who was restless, unhappy, avid for arousal." Her diary, read in court, was as explosive as Flaubert's Madame Bovary, just published in France but considered too scandalous to be translated into English until the 1880s.

As she accomplished in her award-winning and bestselling The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, Kate Summerscale brilliantly recreates the Victorian world, chronicling in exquisite and compelling detail the life of Isabella Robinson, wherein the longings of a frustrated wife collided with a society clinging to rigid ideas about sanity, the boundaries of privacy, the institution of marriage, and female sexuality.

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ISBN:
9781608199136
9781452628011
9780802743688
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Grouped Work ID 595a190a-2bd5-213b-744f-57315407acf6
full_title mrs robinson s disgrace the private diary of a victorian lady
author summerscale kate
grouping_category book
lastUpdate 2017-10-23 01:52:34AM

Solr Details

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auth_author2 McCaddon, Wanda.
author Kate Summerscale
author2-role McCaddon, Wanda., hoopla digital.
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display_description

"I think people marry far too much; it is such a lottery, and for a poor woman—bodily and morally the husband's slave—a very doubtful happiness." -Queen Victoria to her recently married daughter Vicky

Headstrong, high-spirited, and already widowed, Isabella Walker became Mrs. Henry Robinson at age 31 in 1844. Her first husband had died suddenly, leaving his estate to a son from a previous marriage, so she inherited nothing. A successful civil engineer, Henry moved them, by then with two sons, to Edinburgh's elegant society in 1850. But Henry traveled often and was cold and remote when home, leaving Isabella to her fantasies.

No doubt thousands of Victorian women faced the same circumstances, but Isabella chose to record her innermost thoughts-and especially her infatuation with a married Dr. Edward Lane-in her diary. Over five years the entries mounted-passionate, sensual, suggestive. One fateful day in 1858 Henry chanced on the diary and, broaching its privacy, read Isabella's intimate entries. Aghast at his wife's perceived infidelity, Henry petitioned for divorce on the grounds of adultery. Until that year, divorce had been illegal in England, the marital bond being a cornerstone of English life. Their trial would be a cause celebre, threatening the foundations of Victorian society with the specter of "a new and disturbing figure: a middle class wife who was restless, unhappy, avid for arousal." Her diary, read in court, was as explosive as Flaubert's Madame Bovary, just published in France but considered too scandalous to be translated into English until the 1880s.

As she accomplished in her award-winning and bestselling The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, Kate Summerscale brilliantly recreates the Victorian world, chronicling in exquisite and compelling detail the life of Isabella Robinson, wherein the longings of a frustrated wife collided with a society clinging to rigid ideas about sanity, the boundaries of privacy, the institution of marriage, and female sexuality.

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subject_facet BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / General, Divorce -- England -- 19th Century, Divorce -- Great Britain -- History, Edinburgh (Scotland) -- Social life and customs -- 19th Century, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain / General, HISTORY / Social History, Robinson, Isabella, -- 1813-1887, Robinson, Isabella, -- 1813-1887 -- Diaries, Trials (Adultery) -- Great Britain -- History, Upper class women -- Scotland -- Edinburgh -- Biography, Women -- Great Britain -- Biography
title_display Mrs. Robinson's disgrace : the private diary of a Victorian lady
title_full Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady, Mrs. Robinson's disgrace : the private diary of a Victorian lady / Kate Summerscale, Mrs. Robinson's disgrace : the private diary of a Victorian lady [electronic resource] / Kate Summerscale
title_short Mrs. Robinson's disgrace :
title_sub the private diary of a Victorian lady
topic_facet Divorce, HISTORY / Social History, History, Nonfiction, Robinson, Isabella, Social life and customs, Trials (Adultery), Upper class women, Women