Important updates: Due to limited resources, the number of customer checkouts on hoopla digital will be reduced to 7 per month per person beginning April 1. Additionally, the “Recommend to library” function in Overdrive is now only available for use once daily. You can still go to the library’s Request It page to make your requests.

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

Book Cover
Average Rating
New York : Bloomsbury USA, 2012.
1st U.S. ed.
9781608199136 (hbk.), 1608199134 (hbk.)
Physical Desc:
xvi, 303 pages : geneal. tables ; 22 cm.

"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.

Also in This Series
Call Number
Perl Mack - Adult Nonfiction
Checked out
More Like This
Other Editions and Formats
More Copies In Prospector
Loading Prospector Copies...
More Details


Includes bibliographical references (p. [283]-291) and index.
Reviews from GoodReads
Loading GoodReads Reviews.
APA Citation (style guide)

Summerscale, K. (2012). Mrs. Robinson's disgrace: the private diary of a Victorian lady. 1st U.S. ed. New York: Bloomsbury USA.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Summerscale, Kate, 1965-. 2012. Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace: The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady. New York: Bloomsbury USA.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Summerscale, Kate, 1965-, Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace: The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady. New York: Bloomsbury USA, 2012.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Summerscale, Kate. Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace: The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady. 1st U.S. ed. New York: Bloomsbury USA, 2012. Print.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
Staff View
Grouped Work ID:
Go To Grouped Work
Last File Modification Time Jun 14, 2019 01:59:11 AM
Last Grouped Work Modification Time Jul 19, 2019 01:51:58 AM

MARC Record

LEADER01517cam a2200397 a 4500
008120312s2012    nyuj     b    001 0beng d
0167 |a 016015402 |2 Uk
019 |a 764379151
020 |a 9781608199136 (hbk.)
020 |a 1608199134 (hbk.)
035 |a (OCoLC)784030618 |z (OCoLC)764379151
040 |a TOH |c TOH |d NLE |d OCLCO |d BTCTA |d UKMGB |d YDXCP |d BDX |d M$K |d NZTHP |d VP@ |d Tn LvILS |d TnLvILS
043 |a e-uk-st |a e-uk-en
049 |a IG$A
050 4 |a DA550 |b .S77 2012
08204 |a 941.3/4081092 |a B |2 23
084 |a HIS015000 |a HIS054000 |a BIO000000 |2 bisacsh
092 |a HISTORY
1001 |a Summerscale, Kate, |d 1965-
24510 |a Mrs. Robinson's disgrace : |b the private diary of a Victorian lady / |c Kate Summerscale.
250 |a 1st U.S. ed.
260 |a New York : |b Bloomsbury USA, |c 2012.
300 |a xvi, 303 p. : |b geneal. tables ; |c 22 cm.
504 |a Includes bibliographical references (p. [283]-291) and index.
60010 |a Robinson, Isabella, |d 1813-1887 |v Diaries.
650 0 |a Upper class women |z Scotland |z Edinburgh |v Biography.
650 0 |a Divorce |z England |y 19th Century.
651 0 |a Edinburgh (Scotland) |x Social life and customs |y 19th Century.
650 7 |a HISTORY / Social History |2 bisacsh
690 4 |a HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain / General.
949 |b 33021024590199 |c ahist |d HISTORY |m pm |n 1182098 |s Ingram Library Services |t a |v o
999 |a 884256