The Criminal Conversation of Mrs Norton
- Thursday, 30th May 2013, 6-7.15pm
Hawthornden Lecture Theatre - Gardens Entrance (Scottish National Gallery)
Diane Atkinson's definitive new biography tells the extraordinary story of one woman's fight for the rights of women everywhere. For 30 years, Caroline Norton 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 wives a separate legal identity for the first time.
Poet, songwriter and novelist Norton became an accidental feminist when her life unravelled in 1836. Her husband accused the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, of having had a 'criminal conversation' (adultery) with her. Lord Melbourne was found not guilty, Norton's marriage collapsed: she was left destitute, denied all her manuscripts and possessions and forbidden from seeing her three sons. Today her name and work are not widely known, but every time a mother is granted custody of her children, or is successful in her application for financial support, Caroline's struggles with her cruel husband and her eventual success should be saluted.
A special evening talk by author Diane Atkinson followed by a book signing.
No booking required: free, unticketed.See all events