Young Mrs. Lucy Carleton is the daughter of one of the oldest and wealthiest families in 1880s New York City. William Carleton is Lucys un-pedigreed, nouveau riche husband. Problems arise when Lucy becomes increasingly uncomfortable with the prudish manners and paternalistic dependencies that... read more
The key word in this tale, I think, is: passion. For lack of it, Lucy Carelton was having bouts of nervousness that sent Lucy and William, her husband, to several doctors of the time (1880s) to discover the reason and, if possible, a cure. William was trying hard to make their life in... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
The key word in this tale, I think, is: passion. For lack of it, Lucy Carelton was having bouts of nervousness that sent Lucy and William, her husband, to several doctors of the time (1880s) to discover the reason and, if possible, a cure. William was trying hard to make their life in society what he felt it should be: comfortable, and rising. Lucy was from the Van Berckel family, one of high society and William wasn't - and in those times, men ruled. Her father, Delancey, had ruled the family with an iron hand, insisting that Lucy lean more to marriage and children than toward the art (poetry, drawing, etc.) she loved. The day William proposed to Lucy stood out, to her, as one of her favorite memories.
Dr. Victor Seth, a Jewish neurologist, was hired by William to treat Lucy. Seth's treatment consisted of a newer technique, hypnotism. He theorized that Lucy felt thwarted, but the times didn't allow him to say this. It wasn't too long before the treatments showed signs of helping, but now other aspects began giving William problems - Lucy was acting differently in private. Dr. Seth was hired to be with Lucy often, even when she was at her Newport, RI summer home. There, William only came home on weekends. But also by then, the closeness had made a difference in Lucy and Dr. Seth's relationship. When this was discovered, William took extreme measures - and later Lucy took even more extreme ones, the results of which leave us guessing, in some ways!
“... It seems all William's dreams are coming true. We're to build on that plat on Fifth Avenue.”Lucy to Millicent, at the opera
“A man should have his comforts, Lucy. An oasis of peace from the world. When your mother was alive, I had that.”Delancey Van Berckel to Lucy at breakfast
“Mrs. Carelton, all I have done is to suggest to your unconscious mind that you will feel better. I've imposed no will upon you. I am not a magician, this is not an entertainment. If you cannot trust me, I fear there's no point in going further.”Dr. Victor Seth to Lucy at one of her initial visits
“Sp in the end, you're just like William. You're just like my father.”Lucy to Dr. Seth at one of her visits
“--- But we're not talking of just any mind, we're talking of a woman's. Lucy's. How complex can it be?”William to Dr. Seth at Newport
“How was the continent, ma'am? I trust your journey was comfortable.”Harris, the Carelton's servant, to Lucy, when she returned home, but to the newly built house.
“Well, I must admit this is unusual for me. Most of my clients aren't so high-toned.”William Howe to Lucy in her father's parlor
“Yes. Even that. I can make Lucy do anything.”Victor Seth to Attorney Howe
“I am a highly qualified physician, Mr. Scott, and she is only a woman.”Dr. Little
“"He was so confident. He still thought he could control me, and I wanted him enough to let him believe it. For now. Yes, we would be together for now. Until the day I cut the thread that bound us."”Lucy's final quote at end of book
sehnsucht, as the Germans call it. The longing for something that can’t be named.Highlighted by 26 Kindle customers
Your goal, my friend, should have been to teach her to find happiness in her role, to teach her to be happy within her femininity, and not to urge her to seek pleasure and fulfillment in a world she is not allowed access to. She is not, after all, a man.”Highlighted by 16 Kindle customers
I didn’t tell them what I knew: that it was easy to be like me. All it took was a slip, a step from the path we’d all been trained to tread. We were none of us different from the others; that was the lesson I had learned. We were all capable of anything.Highlighted by 15 Kindle customers
“In the end it all comes down to accepting that you’re a wife. Only then will you be truly satisfied. Find your duty. Happiness will follow.”Highlighted by 14 Kindle customers
I would be less a scientist—truly worthy of the contempt of my colleagues—if I conceded to her wishes. She is only a woman.Highlighted by 12 Kindle customers
She is a strong and vibrant woman, one I have fashioned from whole cloth; one I have improved from a submissive, tentative, neurasthenic woman groping for some way to drug herself into passivity. I continue to be amazed at my success and preoccupied with her every nuance. She belongs to me in a way that no human being has ever belonged to another.Highlighted by 11 Kindle customers
Dr. Little reddened. “I am a highly qualified physician, Mr. Scott, and she is only a woman.”Highlighted by 11 Kindle customers
Yet what else is God but a manifestation of our will? What is a soul but the melding of our conscious and unconscious minds? I intend to prove that our will can be molded, that a “soul” can be created. I am creating a new woman—and succeeding beyond my greatest expectations.Highlighted by 9 Kindle customers
faradization may ease these symptoms, bring her to my office in a more anticipatory state, and perhaps allow me to utilize her satisfied passions to regain her trust. If there is no trust, there can be no crédivité. And without that, I cannot be effective.Highlighted by 6 Kindle customers
Faradization has brought her to climax quickly, and she achieved a trance through touch-induced stimulus—which leads me to believe that Mrs. C. has normal female passions that have been severely discouraged, perhaps by her husband, perhaps by others in her life. Because she confessed that she married her husband for love—as much as that can be so—I suspect her nervousness and irritability may stem from interrupted coitus, an epidemic in the upper classes.Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
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