Monday, September 14, 2015

Location, Location, Location

The Counties of England 

"And what is fifty miles of good road? Little more than half a day's journey.”
Pride and Prejudice ch. 32

From Devonshire east to Kent and from Hampshire north to Derbyshire, Jane Austen knew her way around England. Her novels span most of England. From seacoast and mountain, town to country, Jane Austen’s characters visited a wide variety of locales. 

But, of course, many of the main venues in Jane Austen’s novels are fictional. Part of Jane Austen’s genius was her ability to mix the real and imaginary in a way that makes the fictional locations seem so real. In Persuasion the scene moves from Uppercross (fictional) to Lyme (real) without missing a beat. With barely any description, Meryton and Highbury seem to be places we could visit on a day trip from London.

To make her places real Jane Austen provided all kinds of hints that her readers could use to imagine the settings. This is our own Carolyn Meisel’s topic for her JASNA AGM talk in Louisville this October. Her talk is titled “Locations for Jane’s Stories: Why were they chosen?  What clues did they give to her readers?  What have we missed?” and will be presented in Session B, Friday 3:50 pm.

But if you’re not going to AGM you can still hear Carolyn speak on this subject. JASNA CWNY is pleased to have Carolyn speak at our September meeting. She will preview her talk at AGM and give us insight into hints that distances, real locations ad old country names gave to Jane Austen’s readers. Using these clues Carolyn’s talk will give us a sharpened awareness of location in Jane Austen’s novels.

Join us on September 19th at 1 p.m. in the Barnes and Noble Pittsford store to find out where things really happened in Jane Austen’s novels.

As a bonus you might want to consider purchasing Edith Lank’s book Jane Austen Speaks to Women. There are only 54 copies left and Carolyn will be taking these to KY. So this may be your last chance. Copies are just $5 and will be available at Saturday’s meeting.

See you there.


(By Rob Bendall at

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