did-you-know? rent-now

Amazon no longer offers textbook rentals. We do!

did-you-know? rent-now

Amazon no longer offers textbook rentals. We do!

We're the #1 textbook rental company. Let us show you why.


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

  • ISBN13:


  • ISBN10:


  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-06-19
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Purchase Benefits
  • Free Shipping Icon Free Shipping On Orders Over $35!
    Your order must be $35 or more to qualify for free economy shipping. Bulk sales, PO's, Marketplace items, eBooks and apparel do not qualify for this offer.
  • eCampus.com Logo Get Rewarded for Ordering Your Textbooks! Enroll Now
List Price: $26.00 Save up to $0.78
  • Buy New


Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


"I think people marry far too much; it is such a lottery, and for a poor womanbodily and morally the husband's slavea 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 thoughtsand especially her infatuation with a married Dr. Edward Lanein her diary. Over five years the entries mountedpassionate, 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.

Author Biography

Kate Summerscale is the author of the bestselling books The Queen of Whale Cay and The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher. She lives in London with her son.

Table of Contents

"This is the golden age of narrative nonfiction, and Summerscale does it better than just about anyone."—Laura Miller of Salon.com on NPR’s "Weekend Edition Sunday"

"Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace is far more than the account of a failed marriage and its aftermath—or even the story of a torrid affair, imaginary or otherwise. In the manner of her prize-winning The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, Kate Summerscale takes the records and reports of the court case and treats them like a detective story, skillfully building up the suspense and using the interstices in her main narrative—when the judges retire to consider their verdict, for instance—to digress into the highways and byways of Victorian life."—Virginia Rounding, Financial Times

"With intelligence and graceful prose, Summerscale gives an intimate and surprising look into Victorian life."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"[Isabella Robinson’s] is a sad story, but Summerscale tells it with sympathy and understanding. She sees Isabella as a British Madame Bovary, whose story Gustave Flaubert was setting down in his great novel even as Isabella’s story was unfolding. She also sees Isabella as a transitional figure in women’s slow and difficult progress from repression and exploitation to the liberation that in time emerged. The evidence Summerscale presents suggests that this is a fair interpretation."—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

This nonfiction account of the divorce of Isabella and Henry Robinson in 1858 is an elegantly rendered portrait of marriage, class and hypocrisy in Victorian Britain."—Cynthia Crossen, WSJ.com’s "Dear Book Lover" blog

"Summerscale is a gifted researcher and storyteller, and her insights into the conventions of diary-keeping and her subject's psyche animate the first half of the book. Summerscale never underestimates the power of the written word in the life of a lonely woman. Addressing the implicit question of why anyone would draft a veritable confession of an affair, Summerscale speculates that for a bored, love-starved woman like Isabella Robinson, the diary was a way to recreate ‘the thrill of transgression, of pleasures sharpened by the danger of discovery’…. Although the legal complexities of Isabella's case were enormous, Summerscale teases out the intricacies of English divorce law without resorting to a recitation of arcane facts. Instead, she reserves her energy for the fascinating defense submitted by Isabella's legal team: that the diary was a fiction…. No matter which way the court decided, Isabella would be ruined; there are no winners in this tale of heartbreak, betrayal, and societal injustice. But Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace tells us far more than the story of one reckless woman born before her time. It navigates the cloudy waters of marital law, Victorian sexuality, and the burgeoning women's liberation movement. The diary may have ruined Isabella Robinson, but Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace has the power to vindicate her."—Hillary Kelly, Bookforum.com

"With intelligence and graceful prose, Summerscale gives an intimate and surprising look into Victorian life."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Not just a scandalous diary, but a portrait of the plight of women in the early Victorian era…. A revealing portrait of the straight-laced Victorians."Kirkus Reviews

"Following the pattern of her previous book The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, Summerscale combines a thorough examination of her topic with a wider view of relevant social issues—in this case, Victorian attitudes toward marriage, divorce, and the figure of the unhappy housewife. A deft unraveling of a little-known scandal that should appeal to any reader interested in women's history or the world behind the facade of the Victorian home."— Kathleen McCallister, Library Journal

"Romance and repression abound as a Victorian matron’s innermost secrets are revealed in court via her private diary…. Summerscale does a nice job of placing both the case and the diary firmly into historical and sociological contexts."— Margaret Flanagan, Booklist

"[Isabella Robinson’s] is a sad story, but Summerscale tells it with sympathy and understanding. She

Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

Rewards Program