Posted by Claire on August 14, 1997 at 23:20:40:
In reply to Re: Women's rights (flog the horse) posted by Katariina on August 14, 1997 at 09:44:32
] ]I've even read somewhere that men could sell their wives, since they were considered property, (the poorer classes anyway).! whoa!
] True. But it is not quite as bad as it sounds as this was actually a form of divorce. The wife was often sold to her lover and hardly ever against her own will. The ceremony was, however, deeply humiliating for both the husband and the wife. The wife was sold like cattle in a market with a rope around her neck. But as i said, the wife's acceptance was essential for the sale to be valid. So I don't suppose a woman could be forced into matrimony. Of course there were means to make it impossible for her to refuse, like disinheriting her, but in theory, I believe you needed the woman's own consent as well as her father's.
] Source for selling wives: E.P. Thompson: Customs in common
I recall the "Mayor of Casterbridge" sold his wife, or traded her to a sailor (wasn't it? It's been years since I read the novel). And, of course, it takes place toward the latter half of the 19th century, but one might figure it didn't start with him. I recall being appalled. I was much younger then. It was prior to his being successful; he was pretty much a tramp at the time, a pauper.
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