‘I’d sell my spouse if anyone would purchase her’: spouse product product product sales in England
‘For my part we don’t realise why guys who ‘ve got wives and don’t hope ‘em, should not eliminate of ‘em since these gipsy fellows do their old horses…Why shouldn’t they place ‘em up and offer ‘em by auction to males who will be 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 another of 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 it has a quarrel together with wife, Susan. He chooses to sell Susan and their infant child, that are purchased with a sailor for five guineas. Whenever Michael sobers up, the enormity of just just exactly what he’s done hits house; 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, exactly exactly what with Michael’s casual brutality, Susan’s misery, therefore 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 in just what is basically a fast no-fault breakup.