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‘I’d sell my spouse if anyone would purchase her’: spouse product sales in England

Mittwoch, Dezember 18th, 2019

‘I’d sell my spouse if anyone would purchase her’: spouse product sales in England

‘For my component we don’t understand why males who ‚ve got wives and want that is don’t, shouldn’t be rid of ‘em since these gipsy fellows do their old horses…Why should not they place ‘em up and offer ‘em by auction to males that are looking for such articles? Hey? Why, begad, I’d sell mine this full moment if anyone would purchase her!’

Therefore states the young farm labourer Michael Henchard, in just one of probably the most arresting passages in Thomas Hardy’s 1886 novel The Mayor of Casterbridge. Nearby the start of the written guide, Michael gets drunk on rum-laced furmity (frumenty), and has now a disagreement together with his spouse, Susan. He chooses to sell Susan and their infant child, that are purchased by a sailor for five guineas. Whenever Michael sobers up, the enormity of just exactly what he’s done hits house; he realises he cannot get their spouse and child straight right back, and swears down liquor for the following 21 years because of this.

The scene is shocking, no question, exactly just what with Michael’s casual brutality, Susan’s misery, in addition to misogyny that is pervasive. Yet whenever it emerges that Susan normally quite keen to part means with Michael, i will be struck by there being something oddly modern with what is actually a no-fault divorce that is quick. Michael describes to your onlookers that:

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