Jane Austen family link to abolition movement comes to light

National and World
ASU professor Devoney Looser

This April 10, 2018 image released by Arizona State University shows ASU professor Devoney Looser at her home in Phoenix, Ariz. Looser unearthed Rev. Henry Thomas Austen’s attendance at the 1840 World Anti-Slavery Convention in London. Austen is the brother of “Pride and Prejudice” author Jane Austen. Looser calls him a “a next-generation Austen” publicly supporting abolition. (Deanna Dent/ASU via AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — While Jane Austen admirers savor the wit and romance of “Pride and Prejudice” and her other enduring novels, scholars have long delved into Austen’s life and times.

Among the previous discoveries: an 18th-century family connection to slavery.

The effort to place Jane Austen in the social and political context of her day has yielded a new and contrasting discovery that a favorite brother, Henry, was part of the 19th-century abolition movement.

An Arizona State University professor unearthed Rev. Henry Thomas Austen’s attendance at the 1840 World Anti-Slavery Convention in London.

Professor Devoney Looser calls him a “a next-generation Austen” publicly supporting abolition.

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