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Durham University

Department of Geography

Departmental Research Projects

Publication details

Crang, M. Placing Stories, Performing Places: spatiality in Joyce and Austen. Anglia: Zeitschrift für englische Philologie. 2008;126:312-329.

Author(s) from Durham


This paper examines the role of space in sustaining the action of Austen and Joyce’s writings. Using these contrasting textual styles it looks at the different geographies produced and the texts the different geographies enable. It examines the role of location and connotations from places in sustaining and enlivening novels. But more than this it looks at how the emplotment of novels build differing spatialities that encode senses of the world. In Austen we find a closed, coherent and orderly world whose boundaries and exclusions make possible the polite society within. In Joyce’s Ulysses, we instead find the overlaying and intermingling of differing spatial scales and forms. The result is a tension between an ordered, systematic spatiality and a chaotic form when its recapitulative structure exceeds its own boundaries. In both we find a fictive landscape which helps make the novels work by reframing and reimagining the world. In this sense they do not take place in space but produce their own characteristic spaces.

Department of Geography