Mrs Robinson s Disgrace The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady 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 Head

  • Title: Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace: The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady
  • Author: Kate Summerscale
  • ISBN: 9781608199136
  • Page: 116
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 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 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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    One thought on “Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace: The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady”

    1. I'm currently about halfway through this, and, frankly, am finding it somewhat disappointing. I had such high hopes after the absorbing THE SUSPICIONS OF MR WHICHER, but the first section alone had far too much irrelevant padding, and I fear somewhat for the remainder.While there was much more to interest once the account of the legal proceedings got underway, this book remained something of a disappointment throughout. Despite that, I still feel it's worthy of 3***

    2. Where I got the book: e-ARC from NetGalley.I'm sort of hovering between 4 and 5 stars for this one, but I'm settling for 4 because it took me a little while to get into this book. Summerscale's deadpan reporting voice has the happy effect that the author disappears from the narrative leaving the characters to speak for themselves, but this also means you have to get to know the characters before you can get engaged so the first 50 pages can be tough. I had the same problem with The Suspicions of [...]

    3. A life of discontentment with a loss in faith of man and miraclesThis poor woman was certainly a victim of the Victorian era.After hearing the diary recitations I think Isabella missed her calling. She should have written bawdy novels and made a killing. Proper ladies hiding the penny book behind a magazine's pages sitting in the parlor, becoming flushed and distracted as their husbands elucidate on their day's events.The author proves that Mrs. Robinson's predicament was not an isolated inciden [...]

    4. Ultimamente ho letto che le donne inglesi (ovviamente giovani e belle) una volta sposati milionari o miliardari divorziano ottenendo un notevole pacchetto di buonuscita.150 anni prima, sotto il regno di una donna, non solo erano becche e bastonate ma venivano lasciate in braghe di tela (realtà che sono divenute modi di dire). Da sposate e da divorziate.La signora in questione godette (e probabilmente fu la sola volta in cui le accadde) di una legge fresca fresca che permetteva il divorzio con u [...]

    5. Summerscale, again, provides an interesting portrayal of the Victorian England criminal/legal system. This time, she focuses on divorce laws, unfair to women, through presenting the case of Isabelle Robinson's divorce through her infidelity. Kate Summerscale brings light to some of the most unusual cases in Victorian England, such as her last book, The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective, and now this one. She brings what could be an a bori [...]

    6. I feel like this is two separate books in one, neither of which I have any desire to re-visit. The title starts out promising, and then it's all yawn from there. The book really does not pick up speed until midway through, at the actual divorce proceedings. Even then, Summerscale takes so many side trips down irrelevant avenues that I started to wonder if these tangents don't serve the purpose of fluff and filler. Do we really have an aching need to learn everything there is to know about hydrot [...]

    7. This morning I heard a story on the radio show Radio 360 about Jace Clayton, a Brooklyn-based DJ also known as DJ/rupture, and how he pulls together sometimes quite different pieces of music and merges them into something new. I found it thrilling to hear the original pieces and then hear how Clayton brought them together. This was similar to how I felt while reading Mrs Robinson's Disgrace. Kate Summerscale skillfully weaves a variety of elements into a cohesive narrative, which I found absolut [...]

    8. This was thoroughly enjoyable and interesting. If you want to read some well researched, accessible mid-nineteenth century British history, this is the book from you. Whilst it’s about Mrs Robinson, her life, her relationships, her diaries and the ultimate divorce proceedings which followed them, the fact of writing about these matters causes Summerscale to explore many others. Namely, sex, medicine, religion (or the lack of it), law, gender, marriage, sex, public vs private and a whole variet [...]

    9. This biographical story about Isabella Robinson broke my heart. Imagine that you are Isabella: you are a Victorian lady and have had a privileged upbringing. Nevertheless, you were married off not once, but twice. Your first husband died, leaving you with a small child, and your second husband is avaricious, cruel and a philanderer.Since you live in Victorian times, anything you own is the property of your husband's. Your father gave you £5000 as a wedding gift for your first wedding; he gave y [...]

    10. Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace tells the story of Isabella Robinson. Isabella is married to Henry, a cold and strict man who is not home often. Isabella is left to take care of their home and children most often alone and she finds her life dull and passionless. She writes a diary of her restlessness and for her desire for another man. The other man is Dr. Edward Lane who is married and has children. The diary tells of Isabella's hopes, desires, fantasies, and the lack of feeling she has for her own h [...]

    11. What an incredilbly tedious book. It was chosen by some-one in my book group as the book to be discussed in August or I would never have read it. I find Kate Summerscale's writing style intensely irritating. This is, essentially, the story of a Victorian divorce when divorce had only just become a possiblity for the middle classes. As such it should have been very interesting but it really wasn't. The author certainly does the research but she doesn't appear to have a stop button. Everything is [...]

    12. 3.5 Summerscale definitely has the knack of making nonfiction readable for all, not dry as so many are.Once again I am so glad that I did not live back than, woman had absolutely no rights of their own and Mrs. Robinson's husband was not a very nice man at all. The Victorian legal system, the books that the system tried to suppress, how little upper class woman had to do if they wanted to challenge their minds, their complete dependance on the males in their lives are all highlighted in this ver [...]

    13. Review from Badelynge.In Kate Summerscale's previous book The Suspicions of Mr Whicher the author demonstrated that if you are going to try marketing what was essentially an extended essay you could do worse than find a subject that included a notorious Victorian murder, family secrets and a celebrated Scotland Yard Detective. It was a massive bestseller. If you expected Summerscale to choose another such mystery, perhaps another murder and another dashing detective then you might be a little di [...]

    14. Mixed emotions about this book; started out quite enthused, got bored, and then was caught up again in the the second half. On the one hand, it reads like a novel, a portrait of an upper-class wife of that period and a fascinating account of the laws and procedures for divorce in the mid-nineteenth century. The first half of the book is like an English Madame Bovary, using Isabella's diary extensively to describe a neurotic but also somewhat sympathetic woman , dissatisfied with her life and att [...]

    15. When we meet Isabella Robinson, she is a married woman with three sons. Born into a wealthy family, Isabella married Edward Dansey "on impulse" and had a son with him. After he died, leaving her a young widow, she was persuaded "against better judgement" to accept the third proposal of Henry Oliver Robinson. The marriage gave Henry Robinson status and the ability to appropriate Isabella's personal money. She never loved her husband - now she despised him. Isabella began keeping a diary in 1849, [...]

    16. I enjoyed Kate Summerscale's earlier book 'The Suspicions of Mr Whicher'. She consolidates her reputation for me with this absorbing account of a Victorian lady's fall from respectable affluence to disgrace as a result not so much of her sexual appetite but her obsession with writing about it in a diary which could easily be found by her monstrous husband; and inevitably was.Summerscale tends to her prose like a diligent gardener; it is well-kempt and unfussy, attractive without being showy, and [...]

    17. Ho letto il primo libro di Kate Summerscale, Il delitto di Road Hill House, come se fosse un romanzo: la stessa appasionante cura nella narrazione, unita a un'attenzione per il dettaglio documentaristico eccezionale.Al mio stupore sul come gli italiani non sappiano scrivere saggistica così, ma debbano sempre affliggere il lettore con prosa ponderosa e sintassi polverosa (mi scusino le poche, meravigliose eccezioni, come Benedetta Craveri) un amico mi spiegava che nei Paesi di lingua anglosasson [...]

    18. Another Mrs. Robinsonother sexual escapade, only this one is not begun with "plastics" but with the lonely life of a Victorian woman's misalliance. The widowed Isabella marries Henry who is not only mean, but unable to fulfill her sexual needs (or maybe her sexual needs are extreme; remember this is Victorian England). Isabella seems to "fall in love" with every young man who crosses her path, and moreover keeps a diary detailing all of her feelings and desires. Her diary does indicate a strong [...]

    19. I really did enjoy this, perhaps not quite as much as The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, but Kate Summerscale's writing style definitely appeals. Added interest in that not only was the main protagonist a Robinson (I hope to god that I am in no way related to Henry, detestable man) but much of the story is set in Reading. The Robinsons actually built Balmore House, a huge rambling Georgian style mansion, that we used to see as kids, from my Nan and Grandad's house. (Remember the ghost stories, Alfred [...]

    20. Liked:* There was a lot of interesting information about divorce and divorce law in Victorian England.* The reader gets a glimpse of how life was for middle class Victorians whose lives touched those of the great well-knowns (Darwin, Dickens, Queen Victoria) but who were not famous enough to be remembered themselves. I found it to be a very enlightening view.* The book touched on the effects of new ideas and sciences on the lives of ordinary people. For example, Mrs. Robinson was an atheist and [...]

    21. [Audiobook version]This really didn't live up to its title. Mrs Robinson came across as embarrassing rather than scandalous, flinging herself at younger men without seeming to realise that they really weren't attracted by her cougarish antics. The affair with Dr Lane, which this book is centred around, left me baffled. One moment Mrs Robinson is desperately bombarding him with gushing letters (to which he doesn't reply) and I'm thinking, give up, love, and the next minute they're having sex in a [...]

    22. Isabella Robinson was a Victorian lady who began a passionate affair with a doctor of her acquaintance. She recorded details of their entanglement in her diaries, and when her brutish husband discovered it, this written record exploded into a scandal which burst into the newly formed divorce courts and the front page of the newspapers.After Summerscale’s hugely impressive ‘The Suspicions of Mr Whicher’, this was a disappointingly slight tale to hang a whole book around. Yes, it’s good on [...]

    23. 10% of the book is literally footnotes, at the end of the book. Not easy to turn to, with an ebook. The histoy drips from it's pages-who some famous and not so famous crossed paths with her. No copy of the diary included-lost to time. Some passages do get quoted though. I was looking forward to reading actually pages, from her personal journal. I enjoyed the journey , that this books takes one, and learned much from it. I just started a new book recently, and just noticed-it is by the as author. [...]

    24. This true account of an unhappy marriage and a frustrated wife in mid-Victorian England is not just about Mrs. Robinson and her woes. It's a sociological look at attitudes towards women, sex, marriage, science and religion in 1800s England. Upon reading this, if you're a woman, you might be feeling grateful you didn't live then, except that a closer examination may show that although there's a good bit of advancement in our knowledge and beliefs we may not have arrived quite at the stage of enli [...]

    25. theprettygoodgatsby.wordpress.Although I finished the book last week I sat on this review for a few days. Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace is the type of book that needs to be digested slowly and given careful thought. Personally, I adore those kinds of books and am absolutely ecstatic I found this one.My misery is a woman's misery, and it will speak - here, rather than nowhere; to my second self, in this book, if I have no one else to hear me.Wilkie Collins; ArmadaleThe book opens in 1850 in Edinburgh, [...]

    26. This was a good read as during my working life I was involved with the divorce courts in England. This is the story the case between Henry Robinson and his wife Isabella in 1858 just after the first Divorce bill had been past. It alleged indiscretion between Isabella and a Dr. Lane, this was another interesting part for me as he ran a hydrotherapy clinic at Moor Park, which is near to my home , The case hinged on her diary entries which were seized by her husband. A good deal of family history a [...]

    27. I had a high school English teacher who told us the most important part of any essay we would ever write was not the how or the why, but the "so what?" The essay--or whatever else we wrote, really--should mean something, should have a purpose.For me, this is where Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace failed. The writing was good and the research meticulous, but I spent the entire book wondering what was so important about Isabella Robinson's story and why Kate Summerscale had bothered to write an entire boo [...]

    28. The subtitle of this book reads "The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady". But really, it's like one of those non-fiction historical crime novels - it dissects what actually happened using not only her diary but also the letters, newspapers, etc. What all this leads to is a very interesting narrative on what happened.Because it's almost impossible to know exactly what happened (even the diary is not explicit), quite a lot of guesswork has to be made. But it all sounds very plausible, Now that I've [...]

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