The Criminal Conversation of Mrs Norton

The Criminal Conversation of Mrs Norton

Caroline Norton, born in 1808, was a society beauty, poet and pamphleteer. Her good looks and wit attracted many male admirers, first her husband, the Honourable George Norton, and then the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne. After years of simmering jealousy, George Norton accused Caroline and the Prime Minister of a ‘criminal conversation’ (adultery) resulting in a trial referred to as ‘the scandal of the century’. Cut off and bankrupted by George Norton, she went on to become one of the most important figures in changing the law for wives and mothers.

Divorced, Beheaded, Sold

Ending an English Marriage, 1500–1847

Divorced, Beheaded, Sold

A fresh perspective on the seamy side of history. Maria Nicolaou has done considerable research into the largely unexplored area of divorce and marital separation from the Tudor period to the early Victorian era. Divorced, Beheaded, Sold is full of scandalous, little-known stories of wife sale, marital discord and audacious escapades of errant spouses, this is an interesting, as well as informative read in the same vein as Maureen Waller's The English Marriage and Kate Summerscale's Mrs Robinson's Disgrace. Maria Nicolaou reveals how people ended their marriages in the days before divorce was readily available from committing bigamy to selling a wife at market. Her book is full of colourful characters and warring spouses, like Con Philips, who fought off her husband with a gun filled with firework powder; the Duke of Grafton, who hired an army of detectives to spy on his wife and obtain proof of her adultery; and Marion Jones, who recruited a gang to take back her property from her husband.

Victorian Literature

An Anthology

Victorian Literature

Victorian Literature is a comprehensive and fully annotated anthology with a flexible design that allows teachers and students to pursue traditional or innovative lines of inquiry – from the canon to its extensions and its contexts. Represents the period’s major writers of prose, poetry, drama, and more, including Tennyson, Arnold, the Brownings, Carlyle, Ruskin, the Rossettis, Wilde, Eliot, and the Brontës Promotes an ideologically and culturally varied view of Victorian society with the inclusion of women, working-class, colonial, and gay and lesbian writers Incorporates recent scholarship with 5 contextual sections and innovative sub-sections on topics like environmentalism and animal rights; mass literacy and mass media; sex and sexuality; melodrama and comedy; the Irish question; ruling India and the Indian Mutiny and innovations in print culture Emphasizes the interdisciplinary nature of the field with a focus on social, cultural, artistic, and historical factors Includes a fully annotated companion website for teachers and students offering expanded context sections, additional readings from key writers, appendices, and an extensive bibliography

Until They are Seven: The Origins of Women's Legal Rights

The Origins of Women's Legal Rights

Until They are Seven: The Origins of Women's Legal Rights

Until the 1850s, under the law a husband and wife were one, and that one was the husband. Presenting an account of the origins of women's rights to property and their children, this work deals with the moves made by Henrietta Greenhill, Caroline Norton and their associates.

Romantic Women Poets, 1770-1838

Romantic Women Poets, 1770-1838

In this new volume, Andrew Ashfield illustrates how women extended the horizons of Romanticism by their insistent engagement with social issues such as slavery, child labor and women workers.

After Intimacy

The Culture of Divorce in the West Since 1789

After Intimacy

Divorce is a conspicuous character trait of modernity, commonly portrayed in texts and on screen, with its moral and social rationalisation firmly rooted in Enlightenment and Romantic thought. The aim of this volume is to bring into focus this contemporary cultural fascination by assembling the variety of academic responses it has started to create. Bringing together the reflections of scholars from the UK and North America who have worked in this domain, this study offers for the first time a genuinely wide-ranging account of the depiction of divorce across the northern hemisphere in a number of media (fiction, journalism, film and television). It reaches historically from the intellectual and legal aftermath of the Enlightenment right up to the present day. As such, the collection shows both the roots of this apparently contemporary phenomenon in nineteenth-century literary practice and the very particular ways in which divorce characterises the different narrative media of modernity.

Sex, Crime and Literature in Victorian England

Sex, Crime and Literature in Victorian England

The Victorians worried about many things, prominent among their worries being the 'condition' of England and the 'question' of its women. Sex, Crime and Literature in Victorian England revisits these particular anxieties, concentrating more closely upon four 'crimes' which generated especial concern amongst contemporaries: adultery, bigamy, infanticide and prostitution. Each engaged questions of sexuality and its regulation, legal, moral and cultural, for which reason each attracted the considerable interest not just of lawyers and parliamentarians, but also novelists and poets and perhaps most importantly those who, in ever-larger numbers, liked to pass their leisure hours reading about sex and crime. Alongside statutes such as the 1857 Matrimonial Causes Act and the 1864 Contagious Diseases Act, Sex, Crime and Literature in Victorian England contemplates those texts which shaped Victorian attitudes towards England's 'condition' and the 'question' of its women: the novels of Dickens, Thackeray and Eliot, the works of sensationalists such as Ellen Wood and Mary Braddon, and the poetry of Gabriel and Christina Rossetti. Sex, Crime and Literature in Victorian England is a richly contextual commentary on a critical period in the evolution of modern legal and cultural attitudes to the relation of crime, sexuality and the family.