Susan Wiseman
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The contemplative woman’s recreation?
Katherine Austen and the estate poem
in Early modern women and the poem
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This chapter discusses 'On the situation of Highbury' as a starting place to reconsider the place of the estate poem as one among several interlocking discourses of land, property, place and money in Restoration London. It aims to use close work on Katherine Austen in order to look again at the estate poem and tease out the conditions under which writers approached place at the Restoration. Accurately described by its editor, Sarah Ross, as a 'borderline literary text', 'Book M' offers a litmus test of life, money, land and literature as the 1650s become the Restoration. The overlapping concerns about 'dwelling', ease, labour and good estate management found in Austen's poem and 'To Penshurst' have been elucidated by Pamela Hammons. Austen's 'Book M' discloses the world in a very different way from that audible to economics alone.

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