Mrs Robinson's Disgrace: The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady

Summerscale, Kate
Bloomsbury 2012
Date finished: 2013-07-21

In 1858 Henry and Isabella Robinson's divorce case was heard in London. She was accused of adultery with Edward Lane, a married doctor and friend of the family. She had been keeping a daily diary for a long time, and her husband's finding and reading the diary is what led to his filing the divorce suit. The case would hinge on the diary: were her somewhat ambiguous writings really evidence of adultery? And how much of what she wrote was real and how much was imagined? Her defence argued that she was mentally ill, and there was a contemporary debate over whether women could suffer from nymphomania that trapped them in romantic fantasies. As in the author's previous book The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, a prosecution is dusted off and brought out of the archives, showing how history provides a marvellous collection of now-forgotten stories.

Tagged: law, marriage


%T Mrs Robinson's Disgrace
%S The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady
%A Summerscale, Kate
%K marriage, law
%G 978-1-60819-913-6
%I Bloomsbury
%P 293pp
%D 2012
%@ 2013-07-21

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