Jane Austen, Abolitionist

The Loaded History of the Phrase “Pride and Prejudice”

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About the Book

The history of the phrase “pride and prejudice” before it became the title of Jane Austen’s most famous novel is largely forgotten today. In particular, most of the reading public is unaware that “pride and prejudice” was a traditional critique adopted by British and American antislavery writers. After Austen’s lifetime, the antislavery associations intensified, especially in America.
This is the only book about the tradition and the many newly discovered uses of “pride and prejudice” before and after Austen’s popular novel. Hundreds of examples in an annotated list show the phrase used to uphold independence—independent judgment, independent ethical behavior, independence that repudiated all forms of oppression. The book demonstrates how, in a natural evolution, the phrase was used to criticize enslavement and the slave trade. Eighteenth-century revolutionary Thomas Paine used it in Common Sense, and nineteenth-century abolitionist Frederick Douglass used it throughout his lifetime. Choosing her title for these resonances, Austen supported independent reason, reinforced writing by women, and opposed enslavement.

About the Author(s)

Margie Burns has published four nonfiction books and many articles. She lectures part-time in English at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Bibliographic Details

Margie Burns
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: ca. 5 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8531-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5404-1
Imprint: McFarland