The Ghost in Mrs. Robinsons House
I did not agree with the choices she made, but I could see her reasons based on the details we were given of the life she had with her husband. This was just an ok read for me but I could see someone more interested in the subject or the Victorian Era enjoying it more than I did. It is a solidly researched book with lots of information about the time. 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 [Audiobook version] This really didn't live up to its title. 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 carriage? Except then Kate Summerscale goes on to say later that Mrs Robinson and Dr Lane probably had sex for the first time in his office, and revises her earlier description of the hanky-panky in the carriage by saying it could just have been kissing.
It was pretty difficult to keep track of what was going on. There was a lot of padding and going off on unconnected tangents. Add to that the fact that all the people involved were thoroughly dislikable, and I wonder why I bothered listening to the whole book. 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 3.
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 very interesting book.enter site
Here’s a New Mrs. Robinson
Her diary being read in public and used by her husband in a divorce action was such an invasion of privacy, I felt so very sorry for this poor woman who stood to lose everything including her children. Will appeal to those fascinated by Victorian society, woman;s rights and the legal system. ARC from NetGalley. 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 Review from Badelynge. If you expected Summerscale to choose another such mystery, perhaps another murder and another dashing detective then you might be a little disappointed that this time the focus is on one of the most notable of the early divorce trials of the s.
Henry Robinson is a middle class businessman who discovers his wife's secret diary, the contents of which form the basis of his legal attempts to divorce her. The case hinges on whether the illicit affair detailed within the pages is truth or some elaborate fiction. The verdict is less important, to the reader at least, than the study of a period of history focusing on social aspects like the law, marriage, health, class, family, sex, the psyche, morality, science and religion.
Lane and Mrs Robinson have a large and eclectic circle of contacts and friends that reach deep into British literary circles and the Victorian scientific intelligentsia; Darwin is one of Lane's patients and George Combe, a proponent of phrenology, is a frequent correspondent of them both. Sumerscale melds the different sources into the essay with care and the proper focus for the themes explored.
The tone is certainly engaging and never dry. As a slice of social history the book works very well. It might be the case that some people might be more inclined to read the diaries in question and make their own mind up without Summerscales commentary but as a fuller snapshot of the times Mrs Robinson's disgrace would be my choice. Divorce case aside the book also celebrates the early history of diaries, their place in the British home and like the crux of the trial, the line between factual journal and their place among fiction as entertainment.
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 Mixed emotions about this book; started out quite enthused, got bored, and then was caught up again in the the second half. 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 attracted to other men.
This part was to my taste a bit more drawn-out than it could have been; I became somewhat impatient. I also wish we had a fuller picture of Henry Robinson during this period; he is distinguished primarily by his absence and seems to be mentioned only when he and Isabella quarrel. I wondered, for example, if he actually was as cold as she pictures him. Can't really criticize the author for less detail about Henry than about Isabella; after all, we don't have HIS diary!
Obviously more is known about Henry than we are told. In the second half of the book Madame Bovary morphs into Perry Mason as we see conflicting testimony in the courtroom about whether the diary is true. The question is not "Who dunnit? Throughout the book there are cameo appearances by well-known figures like Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin, so many that if it were fiction I might object that there were too many to be credible!
Aug 15, Beattie marked it as off-tbr-and-into-wpb. Robinson's Disgrace '. 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 , When we meet Isabella Robinson, she is a married woman with three sons. Isabella began keeping a diary in , confiding her depression, fears and loneliness to it's pages.
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Moving to Edinburgh she was befriended by Lady Drysdale, a rich widow and renowned hostess. On the 15th November, , Isabella set out for a party. She was thirty seven and her husband Henry was away on business. Edward Lane was twenty seven, a lawyer, a lover of the arts and literature, interesting and the total opposite of Henry, whom Isabella found to be, "uneducated, narrow-minded, harsh-tempered, selfish and proud. This fascinating book follows Isabella's obsession with, not only Edward Lane, but other men - every desire documented into the diary which would fall into Henry's hands.
Isabella is a mix of desire, depression, need and regret. Impulsive and impatient, she rails against the life she feels she has been forced to accept and the boundaries of her marriage. It is hard to say whether the portrait she paints of her husband, Henry, is a fair one; although other members of his family also seem to have had issues with him which suggest she was not being totally unfair. She declared in her diary that she would leave him if it was not for her sons by him, whom she would lose custody of; but her writings eventually means she, in effect, documented her own disgrace.
The author follows Isabella's relationship with Edward Lane, who opened a health spa which had many influential and wealthy visitors. When Henry discovered Isabella's diary in a very exciting way, but I won't spoil it he took advantage of a new court, opened in in London, to make divorce available in a much easier and more reasonable way than previously.
During the summer of the 'Great Stink', Henry accused Isabella of adultery and submitted her private diary as evidence. Her private and personal words were read aloud in court and printed in the press, portraying her as a "predatory and ageing seductress". The disgrace did not only affect Isabella and her sons - it also affected Edward and his wife Mary. Edward had many female patients, who would certainly lose all trust for him if he was found to be tainted by such a scandal. This book looks not only at Isabella's tragic downfall and disgrace, but looks at the way women in Victorian England were at the mercy of their husbands in marriage and the concern changing divorce laws had on the nation.
Excellent book, which I thoroughly enjoyed and, although Isabella is often critical of herself, you feel a great deal of sympathy for her plight and her obvious desire to love and be loved. View all 7 comments. May 26, David Williams rated it really liked it.
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 I enjoyed Kate Summerscale's earlier book 'The Suspicions of Mr Whicher'.
Summerscale tends to her prose like a diligent gardener; it is well-kempt and unfussy, attractive without being showy, and provides something new of interest at every turn. Nor does she leave her tools on the lawn as so many historian-gardeners do - the details of her extensive research are kept neatly in the notes section at the back so as not to interrupt the flow of the story. While Isabella Robinson's emotions and psychology form the core of interest, there is plenty of rewarding diversion along the way. We learn a good deal of the ways, habits and foibles of mid Victorian upper-middle class society, which confirms so much of what we may have discovered in the fictional worlds of E M Forster and others.
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The status of women as 'chattels' to their husbands becomes starkly apparent in the way Isabella is economically 'stripped' by her husband. I'm sure most readers will have shared my longing for Henry to have his come-uppance, but I won't spoil things for new readers by revealing whether or not this happens. The later chapters of the book are fascinating too for their treatment of the changing legal system in England, and the consequences of decisions made in court.
As with 'Mr Whicher' Kate Summerscale turns the trick of making us think of these real-life subjects as characters in a novel, and in so doing takes us through all the emotions, identifications, lows and highs that we would normally expect in fiction. The paradox is that they become more real and immediate as a consequence than they might have seemed had the author supplied a drier historical account. This narrative technique certainly works for me and, judging by the popularity of Summerscale's books, for many other readers too.
Jul 22, Donna rated it really liked it Shelves: nonfiction. Another Mrs. 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.
Here's a New Mrs. Robinson - Nymag
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 st Another Mrs. Her diary does indicate a strong emotional reporting of "something" with her favorite young doctor, but was this criminal adultery? In Parliament passes the new Divorce Law making divorce possible for all, although it is easier for a man to sue for divorce than a woman. Nonetheless, this is a huge step forward for women's rights in allowing them a legal exit from an abusive marriage.
The case of Robinson v. Robinson is one of the first heard in the new divorce court. While the book starts out a bit slowly, it records Isabella's life as she details it in her diary. As is usual in books about the upper class in Victorian England, one meets many familiar people: Charles Darwin partakes of the "water cure" at the same facility as Isabella.
I enjoyed Part II -- the divorce trial -- better than Part I, but that could be because of my interest in law.
I adored Summerscale's "The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher" and this nearly meets that standard. Perhaps I just enjoy murder mysteries better than divorce cases. For an interesting slice of Victorian life, I recommend this book. 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 I really did enjoy this, perhaps not quite as much as The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, but Kate Summerscale's writing style definitely appeals.
Remember the ghost stories, Alfred the butler, Suzanne? Anyway, better say a bit about the book. It's very much based on factual details of one of the first divorce cases certainly one of the most celebrated ones in the country after the introduction of the Matrimonial Causes Act. But it reads more like a fictional novel and that's probably one of the main reasons I liked it. Split into two halves, the first describes the lonely life of Isabella Robinson and her relationship with several men, including Edward Lane who she falls "madly" in love with, the account described in detail in her diaries.
The second half of the book is the drawn out divorce trial. Henry the horrid husband discovers Isabella's revealing diaries and petitions for divorce, citing the weak Edward Lane as the adulterer with whom his wife has misbehaved. Very interesting read and a superb illustration of how far the equality of men and women in marriage has come since the mid 19th century. Shelves: ebook , nonfiction , I found it to be a very enlightening view. For example, Mrs.
Here’s to you, Mrs Robinson: why The Graduate unites warring generations 50 years on
Robinson was an atheist and I liked reading about the effect on her life in her own words. Robinson's journal in the context of the times. Others' writings are quoted as well, but the story wasn't really all that interesting at that point. I think the section leading up the court case could probably have been more succinct without losing any impact. Overall, there is a lot of interesting information in this book but it comes after a fairly lackluster first portion.
May 02, F. 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. 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. I am excited about it as well. Dec 09, OLT rated it really liked it. 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 s 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 This true account of an unhappy marriage and a frustrated wife in mid-Victorian England is not just about Mrs.
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 enlightenment yet. Aren't we still arguing evolution, sexual orientation, and don't we still have a few double standards in attitudes towards the sexes?
This was compelling reading. It's also factual and has 65 pages of notes at the back to corroborate the author's exposition. Letters, extracts from diaries, publications and newpapers, public records, biographies, census returns, etc. Isabella Mrs. Henry Robinson is the titular character of the book but much mention is made of other troubled marriages of the period, of troubled characters such as George Drysdale, who struggled with sexual dysfunction at an early age, and of behavioral science and religious attitude of the times, with particular mention of the use of phrenology in diagnosis of mental and emotional problems e.
Edward Lane and his water-cure establishment. Isabella was married for the first time in to Edward Dansey at the age of They had 1 child and Edward died in In Isabella saw herself more or less forced to marry Henry Robinson, since a widow with a child had few freedoms and a restricted life. But, unfortunately, marriage for a woman could be a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation.
Henry showed himself to be dictatorial, cold, uninterested in intellectual pursuits, appropriative of Isabella's money, and notoriously unfaithful, producing 2 illegitimate children while they were married. We have Isabella sexually and intellectually frustrated and lonely. She took to writing letters to and engaging in conversation with those who were more compatible. She also took to writing, had some published verse, and a very private diary in which she laid herself bare about all her dissatisfactions. In her diary she mentions her romantic relationships with 3 men, one of whom was married Dr.
Edward Lane, a friend of the Robinson family, and their relationship is described in her diary in such a way that one could infer it was sexual in nature, not just romantic. Henry Robinson discovers the diary close to the time of Parliament's passage of the Matrimonial Causes Act, which opens up the possibility for divorce in the middle classes through secular court rather than through the expensive private Act of Parliament in place previously and available basically only to the very rich. To give an idea of how difficult it was to be granted a divorce prior to 's new law, only divorces had been granted between the years and , less than 2 a year.
The divorce trial of Isabella and her husband Henry is quite the eye-opener. Be prepared for curious ideas such as 'uterine disease' in its mental manifestations, female sexual manias such as erotomania and nyphomania, self-abuse and self-pollution, treatments for these monomanias such as leeches, enemas, douches, etc.
All good stuff, but we still have some residual quaint attitudes to this day. The basis for the book are the court records, the diaries and some letters. Kate Summerscale has pieced these together to write a book showing not only the folly of an unhappy woman but the injustice that the woman faced simply because of her being a female. I thought the book was fascinating. Check our catalog. Get RSS Feed. Robinson's Disgrace Mrs. Glencoe Public Library. May 14 Read our latest Excerpts!
Summer Edition What's Hot for Summer! Read more Six picture books that touch upon being grateful in this season of thanks and giving: Read our December Excerpts Newsletter Read more September 12 Visit us at Harvest Fest! Turner, Selma Read more H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald Read more October 27 Sparky! Library hours during holidays Read more The Gods of Gotham Read more Mrs Robinson is not only a former President of Ireland but a leading figure in international affairs and the book will have a global readership. While the interest in her book may not be in the same ballpark as the memoirs by Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, it will be significant.
One of the world's most respected campaigners for human rights, Mrs Robinson gained international attention as the first woman President of Ireland from to and as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights under Kofi Annan from to A spokesman for Hodder said that Mrs Robinson is writing the book herself and no ghost writer will be involved. Ms Webb said yesterday: "Mary Robinson has long been one of my heroes. I know she will write an important and inspiring book and it's a huge privilege to be helping her to bring it to the widest possible readership.