I know I already shared a teaser from Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace just last week, but the more I read the more disturbed I get in thinking about a woman's situation in Victorian England. It is both fascinating reading and slightly repellent. I can only shake my head in dismay when reading some of the things I have read. I can't help but share one more excerpt, which I shall not comment on. It stands on its own and you can make up your own mind. You will probably have a good idea just what I think about all this:
"The treatments for sexual monomania were various. Some physicians, following the phrenologists, targeted the cerebellum: the Scottish alienist Sir Alexander Morison claimed to have cured an erotomaniac governess aged twenty-two by applying leeches to her shaven head, then douching the back of her skull with cold water. Bennet recommended injecting the vagina with a pump syringe, and subjecting the whole body to hip baths, deep baths and showers. Storer suggested that the sufferer should be treated with sponge baths, cold enemas and borax douches, refrain from sexual intercourse and literary pursuits, sleep on mattresses and pillows stuffed with hair, and abstain from meat and brandy. Locock advised the application of electricity to the pelvis of the afflicted woman, or of leeches to her groin, labia, uterus or feet. A London surgeon relieved at least one patient of her sexual feelings by removing her 'enlarged' clitoris, an operation reported in the Lancet in 1853."
I wonder what the pillows and mattresses stuffed with hair were supposed to do? No wonder women went "mad". Subjected to this sort of treatment I would go a little mad, too. I find reading about the period really interesting and then thank my lucky stars to be born now rather than then. Whatever would those Victorians think if they caught a glimpse at Fifty Shades of Grey and the movie and the spin-offs . . .
I'm nearly finished reading. Part of me wants to read something more about the period and part of me wants to choose something entirely different. I am coming up to the last couple of chapters, including the verdict of the trial. Dare I wish for a happier outcome for Mrs. Robinson? I hope to write about the book soon. There is certainly lots of interesting things to share with you!