I am sick of England

Category: Places | Type: Discussion | Title: Emma (in Context) | Author: Jane Austen | Vol: Volume III | Ch: Chapter VI

A remarkable admission and nearly seditious in Austen, especially given Emma's recent appreciation of the idyllic English scene of Donwell Abbey.

Sick of England! To go where? To revolutionary and belligerent France, despotically governed by a strutting emperor? Popish Italy awash in superstition? To one of Germany's princely states indistinguishable from Medieval England's serfdom. Emma's retort about prosperity and indulgence is cutting.

Georgian and Regency England was brashly chauvinistic, and with good reason proud of its power, liberties (such as habeas corpus and jury trials), enterprise, tolerance of religious diversity, and in place of caste a somewhat porous class structure. Frank's petulance is odd and with the above "discomposed" remains for now unaccounted for.

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