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Green Jay

Joined: 13 Jan 2009
Posts: 1605

Location: West Sussex

PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 4:09 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote

KlaraZ wrote:
Yes, I take your point, Greenjay i.e why Catherine would have wanted to stay with Dickens. Of course, many women 'put up' with adulterous husbands in those days, and maintained a front to the world.

From what I've read about this era, I truly don't think they had much choice about "putting up" with husbands' extra-marital behaviour - legally, financially, morally, and in the eyes of society. I should think some of them were quite glad to have a bit of a break if they'd produced the numbers of children typical of Victorian families! Though, joking apart, they were also prey to diseases brought back into the marriage, as shown up several times on that genealogical TV series  Who Do You Think You Are? which shed interesting light on the pathology - or do I mean etiology? - of syphillis in families. It did not always kill, but led to miscarriages early on, then blindness in later babies who were carried to term, then sort of burnt itself out. That the pattern can be seen quite clearly by experts in the field shows it was common enough to be noted. Grim subject, but fascinating from this distance.

KlaraZ wrote:
As for Dickens 'banning' Catherine from seeing her children, certainly Sue Perkins asserted this in the programme, but I'd have liked to know what her evidence for this was. From the biographical material I've read, (incl.  Edgar Johnson's 'Dickens, his tragedy and triumph), it wasn't as clear-cut as that. Kate Dickens sided with her mother, and she was a very strong character, not at all the kind of person who would blindly obey her father) whereas Mamie sided with her mother.  Charley, the eldest son, also supported Catherine.

I once read a library book on Dickens and the women in his life - wife, sisters in law including the one who "died in his arms", and his daughters. It must have been more than 10 years ago as it was in a library where we lived at the time. I can't find the title on Amazon.  I think a lot of the material in the programme came from that source as it seemed familiar.

What I would add is that in dysfunctional families - maybe any families - different siblings often seem to be working from different scripts, almost as if the same events could not have happened to them and their versions are amazingly different. Siblings may have quite contrasting relationships with a parent, and see them with completely different eyes depending on this, and giving them very different capacities for forgiveness, understanding, sympathy and so on.  I seem to have said the word "different" far too many times just then!

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