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New Historical Research article

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We have to compliment the Aristocracy on the exhibition of their morals’: the Ellenborough divorce case (1830) and the politics of scandal in pre-reform London and Vormärz Vienna by Greet de Bock220px-Stieler-Jane_Digby

Using the 1830 divorce of Lord and Lady Ellenborough as a case study, this article sheds more light on the mechanisms of sexual scandal in early nineteenth-century Europe. It contrasts the publicity and political meaning given to the adultery of Lady Ellenborough and the Austrian envoy Felix zu Schwarzenberg in London and Vienna. Whereas radical and moderate reformers exploited the divorce to contest aristocratic leadership and to propagate a contrasting model of domesticity in the British press, the Austrian government went to great lengths to cover up the affair. Both Austrian diplomatic correspondence and British high-society letters and diaries from before and during the scandal show an awareness of the damage that disclosures about the private affairs of the elite could cause.

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