‘English Verdure, English Culture, English Comfort’: Ireland and the Gothic Elsewhere in Jane Austen’s Emma

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Abstract

This article shifts attention away from the perfections of England to explore the place of Ireland in Jane Austen's Emma. Intrigued by Jane Fairfax's refusal to travel with the Dixons in Ireland, Emma conjectures spitefully about an unrequited - or possibly consummated - affair between Jane and Mr Dixon. Obfuscating his actual affair with Jane, Frank Churchill uses Emma's Irish conjectures to flirt with both women. Ireland becomes a repository of Gothic potential over the course of Austen's novel: a space upon which characters can map their unspoken and unspeakable desires. Austen accesses the Irish Gothic to ask questions about national identity, legitimacy, and power.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-77
JournalRomantic Textualities
Volume22
Early online date1 Jun 2017
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jun 2017

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