Examining Law Through the Lens of Literature: The Formation of Marriage in Eighteenth-Century England
Law and Humanities, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 29–48, 2008
20 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2009
This article examines what eighteenth-century novels and plays can tell us about the formation of marriage both before and after the Clandestine Marriages Act of 1753. It shows how the practices and, perhaps more crucially, the assumptions, of fictional characters were consistent with legal sources of the time, and that such primary sources fundamentally undermine many modern analyses of the making of marriage.
Keywords: contracts of marriage, clandestine marriage, ministers, Gretna Green
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