William lamb

A born rebel: Lady Caroline Lamb scandalises society

At the beginning of her biography of the novelist, ‘fairy sprite’ and proto-feminist Lady Caroline Lamb, Lady Antonia Fraser hints that this may be her final book. Not for her a dramatic, Prospero-breaking-his-staff exit; instead, she writes mildly in the prologue that ‘this book… can also be regarded as the culmination of an exciting and fulfilling life spent studying history’. We must hope that Fraser continues to research and publish. Yet if this is to be her swansong, it is characteristically readable, accomplished and in places positively revolutionary. Glenarvon, Caro’s stinging attack on Byron, became a bestseller, even as it led to her banishment from society Lamb – or Caro

She didn’t go quietly: Caroline Norton’s campaign for married women’s rights

When Caroline Sheridan married George Chapple Norton in 1827 she ceased to exist. According to the legal status quo, as a wife she no longer had any rights separate to her husband. He could abuse her, claim her work as his own, spend her earnings and prevent her from seeing their children — and still be on the right side of the law. The Case of the Married Woman is the third book in Antonia Fraser’s unofficial trilogy about the major legal upheavals of the 19th century. The previous two volumes have dealt with the Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1829 and the Reform Act of 1832 — both turning