When Jane Austen represented the ideal subject for a novel as "three or four families in a country village", rather than encouraging a narrow range of reference she may have meant that a tight focus was the best way of understanding the wider world. The essays in this collection research the historical significance of her many geographical references and suggest how contemporaries may have read them, whether as indications of the rapid development of national travel, or of Britain’s imperial status, or as signifiers of wealth and social class, or as symptomatic of political fears and aspirations. Specifically, the essays consider the representation of colonial mail-order wives and naval activities in the Mediterranean, the worrisome nomadism of contemporary capitalism, the complexity of her understanding of the actual places in which her fictions are set, her awareness of and eschewal of contemporary literary conventions, and the burden of the Austen family’s Kentish origins, the political implications of addresses in London and Northamptonshire. Skilful, detailed, and historically informed, these essays open domains of meaning in Austen’s texts that have often gone unseen by later readers but which were probably available to her coterie readers and clearly merit much closer critical attention.

chapter 1|27 pages


ByRobert Clark

chapter 3|16 pages

Emotional and Imperial Topographies

Mapping Feeling in “Catharine, or the Bower”
ByAna-Karina Schneider

chapter 4|27 pages

Tales of Inheritance from West Kent 1

ByMark Ballard

chapter 5|20 pages

Wessex Tales

The West Country Background to Jane Austen
ByPat Rogers

chapter 6|13 pages

Traveling Shoe Roses

The Geography of Things in Austen’s Works
ByBeth Kowaleski Wallace

chapter 7|28 pages

“Slight and Fugitive Indications”

Some Locations in Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice
ByRobert Clark

chapter 8|19 pages

‘That Is Capital’

Views of London in Pride and Prejudice
ByE. J. Clery

chapter 9|28 pages

Jane Austen’s Allusive Geographies

London’s Streets, Squares, and Gardens
ByLaurie Kaplan

chapter 10|17 pages

How Celebrity Name-Dropping Leads to a New Location for Pemberley 1

ByJanine Barchas

chapter 11|17 pages

“If You Could Discover Whether Northamptonshire Is a Country of Hedgerows”

The Location of Mansfield Park
ByRobert Clark

chapter 12|14 pages

Mobility in England, 1816

Austen’s Emma and Repton’s “View from My Own Cottage”
ByDouglas Murray