“Oh! Who Can Ever Be Tired of Bath?”

by Alice Nord

Jane Austen is often claimed to have disliked Bath, but to some extent, that is a conflation of her heroine Anne Elliot’s feelings about the city with her own. Certainly, Austen mentioned her “happy feelings of escape” at leaving Bath at one point, but her letters—particularly the early ones—also show enthusiasm and admiration. Whatever her feelings, no other city played as large a role in her novels as Bath, with much of Persuasion and Northanger Abbey taking place in what was then a happening spa town. Her protagonists’ feelings about the city shed light on their characters ...

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