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19 Apr, 2021 13:36

‘Madness’: Jane Austen museum to add displays on iconic writer’s ‘connection’ to colonialism & slavery after BLM protests

‘Madness’: Jane Austen museum to add displays on iconic writer’s ‘connection’ to colonialism & slavery after BLM protests

A museum dedicated to Jane Austen in the English countryside is introducing displays on the writer's “colonial roots” and connection to the British Empire following Black Lives Matter protests.

According to the Telegraph newspaper, Jane Austen’s House Museum in Chawton, Hampshire will feature displays showing the beloved writer’s “links to slavery” through her Church of England clergyman father Rev George Austen, who was once “the trustee of an Antigua sugar plantation.” Austen’s love of tea will also be subject to “historical interrogation” over its links to colonialism, the Telegraph said.

It’s not all bad news, however. Another proposed display will attempt to portray Austen in a positive light by declaring “Black Lives Matter to Jane Austen” – a reference to her support of abolitionism.

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Museum director Lizzie Dunford told the Telegraph that “the slave trade and the consequences of Regency-era Colonialism touched every family of means during the period,” and that Austen and her family “were no exception.”

“As purchasers of tea, sugar and cotton they were consumers of the products of the trade, and did also have closer links via family and friends,” she argued, adding that the museum is currently “reviewing and updating” its displays and exhibits following international Black Lives Matter protests, “including plans to explore the Empire and Regency Colonial context of both Austen’s family and her work.”

Many social media users protested the museum’s planned changes, however, with one branding it “Madness without end.”

“Even Jane Austen isn’t safe from the toxic woke crowd. We need to fight this nonsense," reacted one Brit, while another joked that it’s easy to tell something is wrong in Britain “when we start questioning whether we can drink tea…”

Some questioned why people who “despise the culture" are running the Austen museum, and expressed regret at having previously donated to its upkeep.

Others, however, supported the planned changes, arguing that Austen’s work “can stand the examination.”

“Seems to me a lot of young people haven’t a proper education and are ‘suddenly’ finding things out in their 20s and being horrified. I’m horrified they’ve been so bloody ignorant until now,” tweeted one user.

Also on rt.com Woke history or telling it as it is? National Trust under fire for encouraging children to write poems critical of British Empire

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