Abstract

Abstract:

Mansfield Park (1814) is Jane Austen's reckoning with Lord Mansfield's decision in Somerset against Stewart, a 1772 slave trial in the King's Bench. The novel's transatlantic plotline dramatizes the Mansfield decision's jurisdictional limits and, ultimately, its incoherence with English ideals of sustainable agriculture and free labor. Britain's 1807 abolition of its slave trade, Mansfield Park's immediate historical context, is equally dubious: both interventions, while legally distancing Britain from some elements of slavery, ultimately permitted it to flourish overseas. Because British slavery continued abroad, Austen shows, colonial social customs were now altering the domestic lives and racial identities of the English.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-315X
Print ISSN
0013-2586
Pages
pp. 211-233
Launched on MUSE
2020-01-30
Open Access
No
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