Brenda Assael is lecturer in history at the University of Wales Swansea. The research for this article was supported by a small grant from the British Academy. An earlier version of this article was presented at the “City and Literature” workshop at the Arts and Humanities Research Board Centre for Asian and African Literature (School of Oriental and African Studies) in November 2003 and the Women's History Seminar at the Institute of Historical Research, London, in January 2004. The author would like to thank the audiences for their useful comments. She would also like to thank Martin Francis, Peter Bailey, Rohan McWilliam, Kelly Boyd, and the anonymous readers of this article for their responses on various drafts.