Friday, December 4, 2009

stencil #015 - rosina bulwer lytton

Rosina Bulwer Lytton
Irish beauty, satirist & tormented wife
High Street, Northcote

Seemingly unworthy of meriting her own entry in the Dictionary of Writers by Larousse (or in any of my other companions/compendiums/continuums to literature), she is mentioned only in her husband Edward’s entry as the ‘Irish beauty’ he married.

Most of the discussion of her work I’ve come across centres on the way she used her writing to parody her husband and his family in her novels as a means of avenging herself for the terrible treatment she endured at their hands, including Edward’s adultery and violence towards her.

Unlike her husband’s books, Rosina’s have been virtually unobtainable. Fortunately, print-on-demand technology is redressing this situation, ensuring Rosina did not have to suffer for nothing.

Click on the link to  read/download her first novel, [Cheveley; or The Man of Honour], written in 1839. As well as being a thinly disguised and very witty hatchet job on her husband, his family and his friends, her novel is also an observant polemic on the oppressive conditions under which, women, especially married women, lived.

Read also [The Blighted Life], Rosina’s essay chronicling the events surrounding her incarceration in a Victorian madhouse by her husband and her subsequent release a few weeks later.

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