The criminal conversation of Mrs. Norton: Victorian England's "scandal of the century" and the fallen socialite who changed women's lives forever

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Chicago Review Press,
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Westminster, London, June 22, 1836. Crowds are gathering at the Court of Common Pleas. On trial is Caroline Sheridan Norton, a beautiful and clever young woman who had been maneuvered into marrying the Honorable George Norton when she was just nineteen. Ten years older, he is a dull, violent, and controlling lawyer, but Caroline is determined not to be a traditional wife. By her early twenties, Caroline has become a respected poet and songwriter, clever mimic, and outrageous flirt. Her beauty and wit attract many male admirers, including the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne. After years of simmering jealousy, George Norton accuses Caroline and the Prime Minister of "criminal conversation" (adultery) precipitating Victorian England's "scandal of the century."

nbsp;In Westminster Hall that day is a young Charles Dickens, who would, just a few months later, fictionalize events as Bardell v. Pickwick in The Pickwick Papers . After a trial lasting twelve hours, the jury's not guilty verdict is immediate, unanimous, and sensational. George is a laughingstock. Angry and humiliated he cuts Caroline off, as was his right under the law, refuses to let her see their three sons, seizes her manuscripts and letters, her clothes and jewels, and leaves her destitute. Knowing she can not change her brutish husband's mind, Caroline resolves to change the law.

nbsp;Steeped in archival research that draws on more than 1,500 of Caroline's personal letters, The Criminal Conversation of Mrs. Norton is the extraordinary story of one woman's fight for the rights of women everywhere. For the next thirty years Caroline campaigned for women and battled male-dominated Victorian society, helping to write the Infant Custody Act (1839), and influenced the Matrimonial Causes (Divorce) Act (1857) and the Married Women's Property Act (1870), which gave women a separate legal identity for the first time.

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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID 19de5ed2-0ba5-a6d4-e8f2-6516b15bce99
Grouping Title criminal conversation of mrs norton victorian englands scandal of the century and the fallen sociali
Grouping Author atkinson diane
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2019-06-21 20:02:01PM
Last Indexed 2019-06-25 04:33:59AM

Solr Details

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author Atkinson, Diane.
author2-role hoopla digital.
author_display Atkinson, Diane
available_at_louisville Louisville Public Library
detailed_location_louisville Louisville Biographies
display_description A forgotten heroine of the women's rights movement is rescued from obscurity in this biography of Caroline Norton, a respected poet, songwriter, and socialite whose 1836 adultery trial rocked Victorian England. When George Norton accused his wife of having an affair with the British Prime Minister, he sparked what was considered the scandal of the century. Though she was declared innocent, the humiliated George locked Caroline out of their home, seized her manuscripts, letters, clothes, jewels, and every penny of her earnings, and refused to let her see their three sons. This detailed account of the Norton criminal conversation trial sheds vivid light on the desperate position of women in male-dominated Victorian society and chronicles Caroline's lifelong campaign to establish legal rights for married and divorced women, allowing them to inherit property, take court action on their own behalf, and in effect establishing them for the first time as full-fledged human beings before the law. Figuring into this fascinating story are Norton's friend and confidante Mary Shelley, longtime admirer Charles Dickens, Lord Byron, Queen Victoria, and other literary and royal heavyweights of the day.
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literary_form Non Fiction
literary_form_full Non Fiction
local_callnumber_louisville 305.42092 NORTON
owning_library_louisville Louisville Public Library
owning_location_louisville Louisville Public Library
primary_isbn 9781613748800
publishDate 2013
record_details hoopla:MWT11333540|eBook|eBook||English|Chicago Review Press,|2013.|1 online resource, ils:.b21310889|Book|Books||English|Chicago Review Press,|2013.|486 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., geneal. chart ; 24 cm.
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ils:.b21310889 .i25651973 On Shelf On Shelf false true true false false true 128, 129, 3, 131, 132, 133, 135, 8, 136, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 18, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 45, 46, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 80, 81, 82, 84, 85, 86, 92, 93, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 105, 106, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 125, 126, 127
subject_facet Electronic books, Feminists -- England -- Biography, Norton, Caroline Sheridan, -- 1808-1877, Norton, Caroline Sheridan, -- 1808-1877 -- Political and social views, Women -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- England -- History -- 19th century
title_display The criminal conversation of Mrs. Norton : Victorian England's "scandal of the century" and the fallen socialite who changed women's lives forever
title_full The Criminal Conversation of Mrs. Norton : Victorian England's "scandal of the century" and the fallen socialite who changed women's lives forever [electronic resource] / Diane Atkinson, The criminal conversation of Mrs. Norton : Victorian England's "scandal of the century" and the fallen socialite who changed women's lives forever / Diane Atkinson
title_short The criminal conversation of Mrs. Norton :
title_sub Victorian England's "scandal of the century" and the fallen socialite who changed women's lives forever
topic_facet Electronic books, Feminists, History, Legal status, laws, etc, Norton, Caroline Sheridan, Political and social views, Women