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

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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
9781452608013
9781452628011
9780802743688
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Grouping Title mrs robinson s disgrace the private diary of a victorian lady
Grouping Author summerscale kate
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2019-10-16 22:54:53PM
Last Indexed 2019-10-15 23:42:31PM

Solr Details

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author Kate Summerscale
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display_description Traces the story of a scandalous trial that rocked Victorian England, describing how Isabella Robinson recorded sexual fantasies in her private diary, which was discovered and read by her husband, who petitioned for divorce on the grounds of adultery.
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subject_facet Audiobooks
Divorce -- Great Britain -- History
Divorce -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century
Edinburgh (Scotland) -- Social life and customs -- 19th century
Middle class women -- Scotland -- Edinburgh -- Biography
Robinson, Isabella, -- 1813-1887
Trials (Adultery) -- Great Britain -- History
Trials (Adultery) -- Scotland -- Edinburgh -- History -- 19th century
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 [sound recording] : the private diary of a Victorian lady / Kate Summerscale
title_short Mrs. Robinson's disgrace :
title_sub the private diary of a Victorian lady
topic_facet Audiobooks
Divorce
History
Middle class women
Nonfiction
Robinson, Isabella
Social life and customs
Trials (Adultery)
Women