chapter  6
13 Pages

Traveling Shoe Roses

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

Someone must travel from the here that is Longbourn to the there that is Meryton in order to prepare for an event being held somewhere else, that is also not here, Netherfield. "The very shoe-roses for Netherfield were got by proxy." What a wonderful sentence—succinct in its phrasing, precise in its point and elegant in its simplicity. Whoever does the action of getting the shoe roses is effectively erased from the sentence and from the reader's consciousness. The Jane Austen's world is full of things is, of course, readily apparent: dresses, shoes, hats and gloves, carriages, horses and dogs, pictures, books and letters, pianos, harps and mirrors, farrier's bills, stoves and cricket bats. Whether Austen wants them to or not the universe from which they have come. So clearly, Austen was thinking about Italy during her formative years, and she found it useful to have a place onto which the narrative could project the "un-English.".