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The Doctor's Wife

Mary Elizabeth Braddon

This is one of the Victorian “Sensationist” Mary Elizabeth Braddon's many novels (best known among them: “Lady Audley’s Secret”). It is extremely well written, fluid, humorous and, in places, self-mocking: one of the main characters is a Sensation Author. The motifs of the-woman-with-a-secret, adultery, and death are classic “sensationist” material. Yet this is also a self-consciously serious work of literature, taking on various social themes of the day. Specifically, Braddon presents the psychological struggle and cognitive dissonance which are the inevitable plight of the married middle-class woman with a strong sense of self, who is essentially constrained to live the life of her husband. In this, it echoes Flaubert’s “Madame Bovary.” The heroine, Isabel Sleaford, was driven early in her childhood to bury herself in, and develop her sense of self through, romantic novels and poetry. She is thus ill-adapted to the conventional, provincial structures and strictures laid upon her when she marries the very good and adoring, but also boring and unimaginative, Dr. George Gilbert. Isabel forms friendships with men (including her husband's best friend) who are more amenable to her romantic inclinations, and inevitably encounters social condemnation as a result. The book shows how life’s tragedies and the world’s cruel judgments shape Isabel, as she grows more mature, somewhat embittered, but also – true to her nature – beautifully resilient. (Summary by Kirsten Wever)

This is one of the Victorian “Sensationist” Mary Elizabeth Braddon's many novels (best known among them: “Lady Audley’s Secret”). It is extremely well written, fluid, humorous and, in places, self-mocking: one of the main characters is a Sensation Author. The motifs of the-woman-with-a-secret, adultery, and death are classic “sensationist” material. Yet this is also a self-consciously serious work of literature, taking on various social themes of the day. Specifically, Braddon presents the psychological struggle and cognitive dissonance which are the inevitable plight of the married middle-class woman with a strong sense of self, who is essentially constrained to live the life of her husband. In this, it echoes Flaubert’s “Madame Bovary.” The heroine, Isabel Sleaford, was driven early in her childhood to bury herself in, and develop her sense of self through, romantic novels and poetry. She is thus ill-adapted to the conventional, provincial structures and strictures laid upon her when she marries the very good and adoring, but also boring and unimaginative, Dr. George Gilbert. Isabel forms friendships with men (including her husband's best friend) who are more amenable to her romantic inclinations, and inevitably encounters social condemnation as a result. The book shows how life’s tragedies and the world’s cruel judgments shape Isabel, as she grows more mature, somewhat embittered, but also – true to her nature – beautifully resilient. (Summary by Kirsten Wever)
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Description:

This is one of the Victorian “Sensationist” Mary Elizabeth Braddon's many novels (best known among them: “Lady Audley’s Secret”). It is extremely well written, fluid, humorous and, in places, self-mocking: one of the main characters is a Sensation Author. The motifs of the-woman-with-a-secret, adultery, and death are classic “sensationist” material. Yet this is also a self-consciously serious work of literature, taking on various social themes of the day. Specifically, Braddon presents the psychological struggle and cognitive dissonance which are the inevitable plight of the married middle-class woman with a strong sense of self, who is essentially constrained to live the life of her husband. In this, it echoes Flaubert’s “Madame Bovary.” The heroine, Isabel Sleaford, was driven early in her childhood to bury herself in, and develop her sense of self through, romantic novels and poetry. She is thus ill-adapted to the conventional, provincial structures and strictures laid upon her when she marries the very good and adoring, but also boring and unimaginative, Dr. George Gilbert. Isabel forms friendships with men (including her husband's best friend) who are more amenable to her romantic inclinations, and inevitably encounters social condemnation as a result. The book shows how life’s tragedies and the world’s cruel judgments shape Isabel, as she grows more mature, somewhat embittered, but also – true to her nature – beautifully resilient. (Summary by Kirsten Wever)

Language:

English

Narrators:

LibriVox Community

Length:

18h


Chapters

Free Sample

05:00

Chapter 1
Chapter 1

16:50


Chapter 2
Chapter 2

30:58


Chapter 3
Chapter 3

45:39


Chapter 4
Chapter 4

29:26


Chapter 5
Chapter 5

35:06


Chapter 6
Chapter 6

34:06


Chapter 7
Chapter 7

43:59


Chapter 8
Chapter 8

14:23


Chapter 9
Chapter 9

20:11


Chapter 10
Chapter 10

18:57


Chapter 11
Chapter 11

25:24


Chapter 12
Chapter 12

46:27


Chapter 13
Chapter 13

33:57


Chapter 14
Chapter 14

31:03


Chapter 15
Chapter 15

13:49


Chapter 16
Chapter 16

29:38


Chapter 17
Chapter 17

48:49


Chapter 18
Chapter 18

33:19


Chapter 19
Chapter 19

17:36


Chapter 20
Chapter 20

32:33


Chapter 21
Chapter 21

26:20


Chapter 22
Chapter 22

19:42


Chapter 23
Chapter 23

23:43


Chapter 24
Chapter 24

23:36


Chapter 25
Chapter 25

31:02


Chapter 26
Chapter 26

31:57


Chapter 27
Chapter 27

25:15


Chapter 28
Chapter 28

21:01


Chapter 29
Chapter 29

14:34


Chapter 30
Chapter 30

30:17


Chapter 31
Chapter 31

28:45


Chapter 32
Chapter 32

29:00


Chapter 33
Chapter 33

35:45


Chapter 34
Chapter 34

20:27


Chapter 35
Chapter 35

17:27


Chapter 36
Chapter 36

30:34


Chapter 37
Chapter 37

41:01


Chapter 38
Chapter 38

27:54