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‘I’d sell my partner if anybody would purchase her’: spouse product product product sales in England
in My Latin Bride
‘For my part we don’t understand why guys who 've got wives and want that is don’t, should not dispose 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 moment if anyone would purchase her!’
Therefore says the young farm labourer Michael Henchard, in another of probably the most arresting passages in Thomas Hardy’s 1886 novel The Mayor of Casterbridge. Nearby the start of written book, Michael gets drunk on rum-laced furmity (frumenty), and contains a quarrel together with his spouse, Susan. He chooses to sell Susan and their infant child, that are purchased by way of a sailor for five guineas. Whenever Michael sobers up, the enormity of just what he’s done hits home; he realises he cannot get their daughter and wife right straight back, and swears down liquor for the following 21 years because of this.
The scene is shocking, no question, just what with Michael’s casual brutality, Susan’s misery, and also the pervasive misogyny. Yet whenever it emerges that Susan normally quite keen to part methods with Michael, i will be struck by there being something oddly modern with what is actually a fast no-fault divorce proceedings. Michael describes to your onlookers that:
‘It’s an agreement to component. She shall make the baby|Thebaby shall be taken by her if she really wants to, and get her means. I’ll just simply take my tools, and get my methods. ‘Tis straightforward as Scripture history.’
This brilliant scene raised a wide range of concerns I set out to investigate for me, which.