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At the Circulating Library

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

Title: Ideala

Author and Title: Sarah Grand. Ideala: A Study from Life

First Edition: London: E. W. Allen, 1888. 1 volume, 8vo., 5s.

Summary: Told from Lord Dawne's point of view, the novel recounts the life of Ideala, a woman some called cold but the narrator finds charming. The beginning of the novel recounts a series of anecdotes about Ideala—her social popularity, her eccentric behavior, her freely-spoken opinions on women and religion—which confirm her as a New Woman. Later, the novel reveals she is married to a cruel, domineering, and jealous husband. Ideala, with few exceptions, endures her husband's abuse and writes poetry anonymously. But when she discovers his adultery with a barmaid and he strikes her, she decides to seek advice. Through the recommendation of a friend, she meets Lorrimer, a doctor of psychology at the Great Hospital. Ideala confesses her troubles to Lorrimer, returns regularly to use the hospital's library and a friendship eventually springs up between the two. Initially, Ideala considers divorce from her husband but fears the publicity. After attending the death of her husband's cast-off mistress, she separates from him. A few months later, Ideala agrees to run away with Lorrimer, to the horror of Lord Dawne. After many painful interviews, he and his sister successfully convince the couple to call off the proposed affair. The novel ends with Ideala dedicating herself to helping poor women in London. (TJB)

Title Tags:

References: BL; EC


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