UK Tabloids Furious at Jane Austen Museum's Pivot to Accurate History

Illustration for article titled UK Tabloids Furious at Jane Austen Museum's Pivot to Accurate History
Illustration: Hulton Archive (Getty Images)

In a move that British tabloids The Express and the Daily Mail have labeled “Black Lives Matter-inspired” and “woke madness,” the Jane Austen’s House Museum has announced plans to answer questions about the author’s ties to brutal imperialism honestly.

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As the Telegraph originally reported, the museum, based in a house in Hampshire where Austen once lived, will include information about the fact that Austen’s father was a trustee of an Antigua sugar plantation that exploited the labor of enslaved people, information that increasingly comes up in tours, according to a person who actually works at the museum and would therefore know what information is most helpful to its visitors to contextualize the world from which Austen wrote:

“Austen lived during the era of slavery and the abolition by Britain of the Atlantic slave trade in 1807. We are increasingly asked questions about this by our visitors and it is therefore appropriate that we share the information and research that exists on her connections to slavery and its mention in her novels. This information is widely accessible in the public domain,” a statement from the museum said, according to the Guardian. “We would like to offer reassurance that we will not, and have never had any intention to, interrogate Austen, her characters or her readers for drinking tea.”

I would beseech any and all UK tabloid writers or readers outraged at this shocking Austen revelation to either never read Jane Eyre or close the book when you get to the part where Jane leaves Lowood because you are going to be fucking livid when you find out what Rochester’s got in that attic.

DISCUSSION

robdweiner
TrumpsTinyHands

My great-grandfather was involved in the “Indian Wars”, i.e. taking lands from Native Americans and killing as many as possible under the veil of fighting insurrection.

I am not proud of it, but it is a thing that happened. If someone cares to write my family history and includes that fact, then accusing them of “excessive wokeness” or “succumbing to BLM pressure” is just plain stupid. Shit happened in the past. Much of it not good. Making note of it in a museum is kind of what museums are for. Yeesh. I think the thought process is kind of like: “Can’t we just be cool with being racist for a while?”