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The Space of the Social

1 January 2009


This is chapter two of the Jane Austen book-length project, Social Jane. Landscape, houses and estates form the backdrop to much of what happens in the Austen novels, and Austen is entirely familiar with the theories of landscape of her time. She sets about debunking Whig improvers, while decimating the pretensions of the Tory do-nothings she saw around her. Benign and cautious progress seems to be her preferred model of land management. The chapter rehearses the social and architectural theories of her time, shows her use of these theories in her characters and in her work, and tries to liberate her from her reputation as a simple lickspittle of the Tory hierarchy.


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