Catherine was Charles Dickens’ wife whom he separated from after twenty-two years of marriage and ten children. Enamored of a young actress, Charles scripted a fiction about his marriage in which he was the long suffering husband to a woman who was unfit to be wife and mother. He spread this story through his powerful editor friends.
Catherine did not, could not, fight him. Even the law gave custody of minor children to fathers, and all her children, except one, were minor. She retreated into dignified silence which seems baffling today. But the strength of her agony is exhibited in her words to her daughter, to whom she gave letters written to her by Charles, and told her to give them to the British Museum, “so that the world may know he loved me once.”
Outside the Magic Circle is the story of Catherine and the repressive times she lived in.
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