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Truth and Fiction in Caroline Clive's Year after Year

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Year after Year (1858) is a novel that is mainly concerned with a legal action against a group of insurance companies which refuse to pay on the policies which they have issued on the life of the heroine's brother, alleging that he failed to disclose poor health and intemperate habits. The story is closely modelled on a similar episode in the life of the author, Caroline Clive (1801-1873). The article examines the surviving records of her own legal battle alongside the lightly fictionalised account that she wrote twenty years later, which expresses characteristic Victorian anxieties about the place of honour and gentlemanly conduct in an increasingly commercialised and self-interested world, and includes some nasty digs at the ethics and integrity of the legal profession.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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  • Until 2007 the King's Law Journal was known as the King's College Law Journal. It was established in 1990 as a legal periodical publishing scholarly and authoritative Articles, Notes and Reports on legal issues of current importance to both academic research and legal practice. It has a national and international readership, and publishes refereed contributions from authors across the United Kingdom, from continental Europe and further afield (particularly Commonwealth countries and USA). The journal includes a Reviews section containing critical notices of recently published books.
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