Caroline Norton

Standard Name: Norton, Caroline
Birth Name: Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Sheridan
Pseudonym: A Young Lady of Distinction, aged eleven years
Married Name: Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton
Pseudonym: Pearce Stevenson, Esq.
Married Name: The Honourable Mrs Norton
Pseudonym: Aunt Carry
Pseudonym: Cxxxy
Pseudonym: Libertas
Publishing over forty years of the nineteenth century, professional woman of letters CN produced poetry and songs, four novels, stories, and a few unsuccessful plays. She edited annuals and periodicals, where she also published work of her own, including reviews. The circumstances of her life led her also to publish on the social-reform topics of child labour, divorce law, and married women's property, in pamphlets, letters to the Times, and well-researched monographs. Though she thought of herself as primarily a poet, her polemical writing is now her best-known, just as her contribution to reforming the laws for women in Victorian England has now overshadowed the scandal that dogged her in and beyond her lifetime.


Connections Sort descending Author name Excerpt
Anthologization Dora Greenwell
DG also contributed during this decade, in collaboration with Jean Ingelow , Caroline Norton , and several other women, to Home Thoughts and Home Scenes, In Original Poems, published in 1865, a book of poetry for children.
death Edmund Spenser
Spenser's early women readers who were also poets seem to have included An Collins and Alicia D'Anvers . Later women writers in English either found him useful for raising the status of the romance genre...
death Lucie Duff Gordon
Caroline Norton , one of LDG 's closest friends, wrote following her death: A great reader, a great thinker, very original in her conclusions, very eager in impressing her opinions, her mind was not like...
Dedications Matilda Charlotte Houstoun
She dedicated it to Caroline Norton 's brother, who shared the name of his grandfather Richard Brinsley Sheridan , and to the memory of Houstoun's own brother, John Heneage Jesse .
Houstoun, Matilda Charlotte. A Woman’s Memories of World-Known Men. F. V. White.
I: prelims
Education Dora Greenwell
Thereafter, she taught herself, studying philosophy, Latin, German, Italian, French, political economy, and theology.
“Dictionary of Literary Biography online”. Gale Databases: Literature Resource Center-LRC.
Matthew, Henry Colin Gray et al., editors. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
Dorling, William. Memoirs of Dora Greenwell. James Clarke.
She was very well read and took a particular interest in the writings of Caroline Norton , Felicia Hemans
Family and Intimate relationships Caroline Blackwood
Through her father, CB was descended from the writer Frances Sheridan , though the Sheridan blood was thought of in the family as bad blood, and CB 's biographer seems to associate it solely...
Family and Intimate relationships Harriette Wilson
On the journey to Newcastle HW had begun a flirtation with the witty Tom Sheridan (born 1775, son of the playwright, grandson of Frances Sheridan , and father of Caroline Norton ). He and his...
Family and Intimate relationships Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington
Respectable women had always shunned Blessington on account of her past; now her present too was publicly unacceptable. Her sister Ellen, now well married, dropped her.
Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington,. “Introduction”. Conversations of Lord Byron, edited by Ernest J. Lovell, Princeton University Press, pp. 3-114.
Camilla Crosland later recalled how as an unmarried...
Family and Intimate relationships Maria Riddell
Her daughter, Anna Maria , married a naval officer, Charles Montagu Walker , and had eight children. Most of her inheritance vanished in mortgages and contested ownership. One of MR 's grandsons took an interest...
Family and Intimate relationships Mary Ann Cavendish Bradshaw
According to her first daughter-in-law writing years later, MACB suggested, while she and the young people were in Paris, that Emily ought to advance her husband's career by either sleeping with or at least...
Fictionalization Lucie Duff Gordon
LDG was an inspiration to several of her literary peers. George Meredith probably had her in mind in drawing his character Lady Dunstane in Diana of the Crossways. (His Lady Dunstane is a close...
Friends, Associates L. E. L.
By the time LEL began living alone, she was well-known in literary circles. She became a good friend of Emma Roberts and Rosina Bulwer-Lytton around this time, and gradually became a recognized London public figure...
Friends, Associates Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, first Baron Lytton
His friends included Benjamin Disraeli , Charles Dickens , John Forster , and Thomas Babington Macaulay . Later in life he conducted a long, mentoring friendship by letter with Mary Elizabeth Braddon . He also...
Friends, Associates Eliza Lynn Linton
Eliza Lynn met a number of women authors who were once applauded but later complacently forgotten . . . . as literary fossils.
Linton, Eliza Lynn, and Beatrice Harraden. My Literary Life. Hodder and Stoughton.
She contended that Women who wrote were then few and far...
Friends, Associates Jane Welsh Carlyle
JWC criticized the party, which was also attended by Elizabeth Gaskell , William Thackeray , and Tom Taylor .
Surtees, Virginia. Jane Welsh Carlyle. Michael Russell.
Around this time JWC also met Frédéric François Chopin , who played her piano, and Caroline Norton .
Surtees, Virginia. Jane Welsh Carlyle. Michael Russell.


3 June 1829: Publisher Henry Colburn went into partnership...

Writing climate item

3 June 1829

Publisher Henry Colburn went into partnership with Richard Bentley (1794 - ­1871) (who, in order to do this, had just dissolved the partnership between himself and his brother Samuel Bentley as printers).

July 1832: A monthly periodical for women entitled The...

Writing climate item

July 1832

A monthly periodical for women entitled The Court Magazine and Belle Assemblée swallowed up La Belle Assemblée and began publishing under this title in London.

16 October 1834: Fire destroyed the British Houses of Parliament,...

National or international item

16 October 1834

Fire destroyed the British Houses of Parliament, which were then rebuilt from 1841 to 1863 in the Gothic style.

April 1837: Sergeant Talfourd, a Member of Parliament...

National or international item

April 1837

Sergeant Talfourd , a Member of Parliament and a friend of Caroline Norton , introduced an Infant Custody Bill.

July 1838: An article on the Custody of Infants Bill...

Building item

July 1838

An article on the Custody of Infants Bill in the British and Foreign Quarterly Review attacked both the proposed legislation and its proponent Caroline Norton .

4 December 1845: The position of Peel's Conservative government...

National or international item

4 December 1845

The position of Peel 's Conservative government was severely shaken by a report in the Times that it was about to repeal the Corn Laws.

March 1848: Chartist uprisings took place in London,...

National or international item

March 1848

Chartist uprisings took place in London, Glasgow, and Manchester.

1855: James Ridgway published a pamphlet entitled...

Building item


James Ridgway published a pamphlet entitled Remarks on the Law of Marriage and Divorce; suggested by the Honourable Mrs Norton 's Letter to the Queen.

December 1855: Barbara Leigh Smith, later Bodichon, founded...

National or international item

December 1855

Barbara Leigh Smith , later Bodichon, founded the Married Women's Property Committee (sometimes called the Women's Committee) to draw up a petition for a married women's property bill.

May 1856: Lord Chancellor Cranworth presented a second...

National or international item

May 1856

Lord Chancellor Cranworth presented a second divorce bill, to which there were several successful amendments affecting married women's property.

April 1873: The Custody of Infants Act made provision...

Building item

April 1873

The Custody of Infants Act made provision for women separating from their husbands to be awarded custody of children up to the age of sixteen.

By 14 March 1885: George Meredith published Diana of the Crossways,...

Writing climate item

By 14 March 1885

George Meredith published Diana of the Crossways, a novel based on the life of Caroline Norton .


Norton, Caroline. A Letter to the Queen on Lord Chancellor Cranworth’s Marriage and Divorce Bill. Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1855.
Norton, Caroline. A Letter to the Queen on Lord Chancellor Cranworth’s Marriage and Divorce Bill. Cambridge University Press, 2010,
Norton, Caroline. A Plain Letter to the Lord Chancellor on the Infant Custody Bill. J. Ridgway, 1839, p. .
Norton, Caroline. A Review of the Divorce Bill of 1856. J. W. Parker and Son, 1857.
Norton, Caroline. “A Review of the Divorce Bill of 1856”. The Wives: The Rights of Married Women, edited by Marie Mulvey Roberts and Tamae Mizuta, Routledge/Thoemmes Press, 1994, pp. 1-178.
Norton, Caroline. A Voice from the Factories. J. Murray, 1836.
Norton, Caroline. A Voice from the Factories. Woodstock Books, 1994.
Norton, Caroline, and John Absolon. Aunt Carry’s Ballads for Children. J. Cundall, 1847.
Norton, Caroline, and William Thomas Smedley. Bingen on the Rhine. John C. Winston, 1883.
Norton, Caroline, and Joan Huddleston. Caroline Norton’s Defense. Academy Chicago, 1982.
Norton, Caroline. English Laws for Women in the Nineteenth Century. Printed for private circulation, 1854.
Ingelow, Jean et al. Home Thoughts and Home Scenes. Routledge, Warne and Routledge, 1865.
Huddleston, Joan, and Caroline Norton. “Introduction”. Caroline Norton’s Defense, Academy Chicago, 1982, p. I - XIII.
Shurbutt, S. Bailey, and Caroline Norton. “Introduction”. Lost and Saved, Scholars’ Facsimiles and Reprints, 1988, pp. 3-26.
Norton, Caroline. “Introduction”. A Voice from the Factories, edited by Jonathan Wordsworth, Woodstock Books, 1994.
Norton, Caroline, editor. La Belle Assemblée. J. Bell.
Norton, Caroline. “Lady Duff-Gordon and Her Works”. Macmillan’s Magazine, Vol.
, pp. 457-62.
Norton, Caroline. Letters to the Mob. T. Bosworth, 1848.
Norton, Caroline. Lost and Saved. Hurst and Blackett, 1863.
Norton, Caroline, and S. Bailey Shurbutt. Lost and Saved. Scholars’ Facsimilies and Reprints, 1988.
Norton, Caroline. Observations on the Natural Claim of the Mother to the Custody of her Infant Children. J. Ridgway, 1837.
Norton, Caroline. Old Sir Douglas. Hurst and Blackett, 1868.
Norton, Caroline. Poems. Allen and Ticknor, 1833.
Norton, Caroline. “Review: <span data-tei-ns-tag="tei_title" data-tei-title-lvl="m">The Angel in the House</span> and <span data-tei-ns-tag="tei_title" data-tei-title-lvl=‘m’>Goblin Market</span&gt”;. Macmillans, pp. 398-04.
Norton, Caroline et al. Selected Writings of Caroline Norton. Scholar’s Facsimiles and Reprints, 1978.