The real places of Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice is set in a number of rural settings. For much of her life Jane Austen lived at the family home in Chawton in Hampshire where her father had a number of sources of income, which included farming.

Many iconic writers have important connections with particular places that have subsequently inspired them to recreate aspects of them in their works of fiction. Charles Dickens had London, and for Jane Austen there were several places that inspired the settings for her books. Her novel Mansfield Park was inspired, in part, by Cottesbrooke Hall in Northamptonshire.

In chapter seven of Pride and Prejudice the narrator explains that “The village of Longbourn was only one mile from Meryton; a most convenient distance for the young ladies, who were usually tempted thither three or four times a week, to pay their duty to their aunt and to a milliner’s shop just over the way….” In Meryton is also a militia camp.

In the second half of Pride and Prejudice, the county of Derbyshire becomes very important to the plot as this is where Mr. Darcy lives. In chapter forty-three there is a description of his house. It is called Pemberley and the way in which the house is described partly functions as a metaphor for Mr Darcy’s own character. Making the connection between fiction and fact, Pemberley is widely understood to be based on a real country house in Derbyshire called Chatsworth House.

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