The Case of the Married Woman: Caroline Norton: A 19th Century Heroine Who Wanted Justice for Women (Hardback)Lady Antonia Fraser (author)
In captivating prose, Fraser chronicles the events that led Caroline Norton, a nineteenth-century poet and pamphleteer, to become a pioneering women’s rights activist at a time when married women and their children were considered their husband’s property.
Poet, pamphleteer and artist's muse, Caroline Norton dazzled nineteenth-century society with her vivacity and intelligence.
After her marriage in 1828 to the MP George Norton, she continued to attract friends and admirers to her salon in Westminster, which included the young Disraeli. Most prominent among her admirers was the widowed Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne. Racked with jealousy, George Norton took the Prime Minister to court, suing him for damages on account of his 'Criminal Conversation' (adultery) with Caroline. A dramatic trial followed. Despite the unexpected and sensational result - acquittal - Norton legally denied Caroline access to her three children under seven. He also claimed her income as an author for himself, since the copyrights of a married woman belonged to her husband.
Yet Caroline refused to despair. Beset by the personal cruelties perpetrated by her husband and a society whose rules were set against her, she chose to fight, not surrender. She channelled her energies in an area of much-needed reform: the rights of a married woman and specifically those of a mother. Over the next few years she campaigned tirelessly, achieving her first landmark victory with the Infant Custody Act of 1839. Provisions which are now taken for granted, such as the right of a mother to have access to her own children, owe much to Caroline, who was determined to secure justice for women at all levels of society from the privileged to the dispossessed.
Award-winning historian Antonia Fraser brilliantly portrays a woman, at once courageous and compassionate, who refused to be curbed by the personal and political constraints of her time.
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 547 g
Dimensions: 236 x 158 x 32 mm
'Before biography was fashionable, Antonia Fraser made the past popular' - Guardian
'As a pure storyteller, Antonia Fraser has few equals' - Sunday Times
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“Caroline Norton's Story gets the Justice it Deserves”
First of all, I should start with a bit of a disclaimer. I am, I must confess, somewhat obsessed with Caroline Norton. I am also a fan of Antonia Fraser and her writing, as she sees the stories in history and focusses... More
To be fair Deborah's review is excellent, comprehensive and on point. Fraser has produced a well written story balancing scholarship and readability. I am not sure Norton was a watershed moment but it is a... More
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