Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

*Lomax Place

*Lomax Place. Working-class section of Pentonville in north London that is home to Amanda Pynsent, the foster mother of Hyacinth Robinson, who is ostensibly the bastard child of an English lord. In spite of their lowly social position, Pynsent raises Hyacinth to be a gentleman, not only because she believes that in fact he is one, but also because of her reverence for the upper class. Prior even to Hyacinth’s own recognition of his “mixed blood,” there is already a tension between his social status and his upbringing.


*Millbank. Prison on the River Thames in which Hyacinth’s birth mother, Florentine Vivier, has been imprisoned for murdering the man she claims is Hyacinth’s father, Lord Fredericks. The prison is the setting for one of the most important scenes in the novel, in which the young Hyacinth meets his dying mother and thus confronts his own mixed origins. This encounter sets up the tension between the two sides of Hyacinth’s character that struggle with each other throughout the novel.

James himself visited Millbank in 1884, and Miss Pynsent’s commentary on the prison may be seen as James’s own reflections on the subject.

*Audley Court

*Audley Court. Neighborhood in Camberwell, a lower-class section in south London, in which Paul Muniment, the chemist who leads Hyacinth into revolutionary work, and his sister Rose, live. Rose has a debilitating illness, but is strong enough to voice her protests against a working-class revolution, making Audley Court another setting for...

(The entire section is 657 words.)