Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 4:10pm
STEPS Building, 290
1 W Packer Ave, Bethlehem, PA 18015
This lecture focuses on The Woman of Colour, A Tale and Mansfield Park and shows how the anonymous author of Woman of Color and Jane Austen use the marriage market and its laws to comment on women’s oppression and its links to institutions of slavery. With heroines whose subject positions shift as they travel from slave culture to slave culture (Olivia Fairfield from Jamaica to Bristol and Fanny Price from Portsmouth to Northampton and the world of Mansfield Park) and for whom marriage offers tantalizing access to security, both novelists use metaphors and narrative tropes that evoke the slave trade—the middle passage, slave markets, and women’s slave narratives, and the 1772 Somerset decision settled by Lord Mansfield. Further, Olivia and Fanny both rely on enslavers for their material stability. Both women are willing to “yield up” their independence, but, as Amma Asante makes clear in her film “Belle” their doing so highlights the limits of abolitionist sentiments, protest, and respectability politics.
Dr. Patricia A. Matthew
Associate Professor of English
Montclair State University