2017 – JASNA Summer Program


Jane Austen Summer Program Presents

“200 Years of Persuasion”

June 15 to 18, 2017

Hosted by the University of North Carolina, CH and JASNA-NC

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — This summer more than 100 people, including Austen fans, established scholars, graduate students, K-12 teachers, and aspiring authors, will have the opportunity to hear expert speakers and participate in discussion groups on Austen’s last completed novel, Persuasion. Attendees will also partake in an English tea, dance at a Regency-style ball, attend Austen-inspired theatricals, and visit special exhibits tailored to the conference.

They will be attending the fifth-annual Jane Austen Summer Program from June 15 to 18, 2017 to explore this year’s chosen theme: “200 Years of Persuasion.” The events will take place at the Hampton Inn in Carrboro and at various locations on the UNC campus in Chapel Hill, NC.

The discussions will consider Austen’s last completed novel Persuasion in its historical context as well as its afterlives in fiction and film. “This year we are so pleased that Jocelyn Harris, a Persuasion expert and a delightful individual, is coming from New Zealand to join us as a key note speaker,” says Inger Brodey, co-director of the program with James Thompson. “We will also have a naval historian guide us through the mostly off-stage military dimension of the novel.”

Participants old and new praise the program’s accessibility, innovation, and community-building. “Last year’s conference on Mansfield Park was my first experience of JASP—and now I’m hooked!,” says Vicky Brandt. “It’s a wonderful idea to open up an academic conference to the interested public: everyone should be able to experience the loving inquiry that is the heart of scholarship. All the presentations were enlightening; the small group discussions lively and insightful; the Saturday evening Regency ball almost as beautiful to watch as the ones we see on film. In short, I can think of no better way to describe it than with Austen’s own words: ‘the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation.’” Attendees express special appreciation for the cultural and historical knowledge exchanged at the program. Patrick McGraw says, “Over four days, I learned more about Austen’s novel than I ever imagined I could. I cannot wait to return to UNC Chapel Hill this coming summer to explore Persuasion.”

For more program information, to see comments and photos from previous programs, or to register, please visit the program’s website janeaustensummer.org or follow the program at facebook.com/janeaustensummer or via twitter, @JASPhotline. You may also contact us at janeaustensummer@unc.edu.

 

**** The 2017 Summer Program wants teachers*****

Persuasion Teacher Flyer



 

Jane Austen’s Portsmouth And the Dynamics of the Price Family

JASNA-StLouis-Fall-Program-MansfieldPark-Portsmouth-PhyllisThorpe-TobyBenis

Your Fall Program presenters were Phyllis Thorpe (L) and Toby Benis (R) – both JASNA-St. Louis members.

At the Saturday, Sept. 26, meeting of the St. Louis Metropolitan Region, Jane Austen Society of North America, members and guests experienced not one but two insightful presentations concerning Austen’s 1814 novel Mansfield Park.

The presentations were offered by members Phyllis Thorpe and Toby Benis.

Last year, at JASNA’s Montreal AGM, Phyllis participated in a panel discussion, “Mansfield Park Pathologies,” moderated by past JASNA president and University of Colorado scholar and professor emeritus Joan Klingel Ray. Phyllis’ subject was “Fanny Price: the Lost Child in an Alcoholic Family.” On Sept. 26, Phyllis reprised her presentation before Toby’s exploration of the city of Portsmouth and its civic and military history.

With help from volunteers, who participated in a tableau, Phyllis explored the dynamics of the Fanny’s large family and the role each member played in it. (Fanny’s role: invisible child.) With an alcoholic father whose only interest seemed to be reading the navy news and visiting the dockyard, his family was left to its own devices. The result was a noisy, chaotic household with a mother often at wit’s end.

Thanks also go out to Phyllis’ partner, Dr. Andrei Laszlo, who was her able assistant, helping the tableau “come to life.” The tableau offered a perfect lead-in for Toby’s reflections on “Jane Austen’s Portsmouth.”

Fanny’s uncle, Sir Thomas Bertram, had sent Fanny back to her family in Portsmouth as punishment for not consenting to marry young, rich Henry Crawford. Sir Thomas hoped that a re-acquaintance with the noise, poverty, and disorder of the Price household would make Fanny realize what she could have with Henry.

Toby, a professor of English at Saint Louis University, reminded her listeners that most of Austen’s novels are set in the bucolic countryside—think rolling hills, picturesque villages, and quaint farms—not in a congested, dirty, urban environment. With the use of period maps and quotes from Edward Daniel Clark, a Georgian clergyman, naturalist, travel writer, and contemporary of Austen, Toby highlighted the background of Portsmouth and explained its importance as a city and a navy base, especially during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars (1792–1815).

Portsmouth, Toby said, was called the Key of England because of its enormous strategic importance. Yet its civic boosters envisioned it as a spa town also, she added, but despite its coastal location and the new craze for seaside spas, Portsmouth was, in the eyes of many, not a sufficiently healthy environment for R&R. It lay low on the coast, with backwaters and ditches creating “bad air.” It was awash in soldiers, marines, sailors, and dockyard workers. Its bars were always full (and overpriced, according to contemporary accounts) and the area was considered damp and “aguish.” Fanny, at age 10, leaving such an environment to live at Mansfield Park, is deemed in poor health. Her cousins, by comparison, exhibit a healthy glow and are pictured as advanced for their age.

Fanny, as a near-adult returning to Portsmouth, finds herself banished to an unhealthy environment and an unpleasant situation concerning space, sound, and air. Her living quarters in the Price house are cramped; there is constant noise; and the house is disorganized and never tidy. She misses the order and gentility of Mansfield Park and, not surprisingly, grows despondent.

Yet now on her own, but also having benefited from Edmund’s influence, Fanny grows up while confined to Portsmouth and her parents’ household. She makes a space upstairs for herself and her sister Susan to read and contemplate, and she helps create some order downstairs (e.g., the silver knife episode).

Finally, in discussing Portsmouth—as well as Fanny and Edmund—Toby highlighted one of the “evangelical” themes of Mansfield Park, pointing out the difference for evangelical advocates between the city (Portsmouth) and the village (Mansfield Park). In the novel, Edmund observes that the city dilutes the efficacy of the clergyman because his parishioners cannot observe his behavior. He believes strongly that a clergyman should lead by example and that he should know his people and his community, and this is best accomplished in an environment where a clergyman is in daily contact with his parishioners, i.e., in the country. Fanny, in Portsmouth, comes to imitate Edmund’s preferred clerical conduct by initiating a well-regulated home.

Toby noted that from an evangelical perspective, Fanny’s evolution in Portsmouth highlights the influence of women in the home by illustrating her sense of obligation and gratitude, her devotion to duty, and her help in the shaping of Susan’s character.

Toby’s presentation was not only informative about Portsmouth and the setting for the chapters about Portsmouth in Mansfield Park, but also about how much Fanny grew and matured during her sojourn in Portsmouth. You might say the plan that Fanny’s Uncle Thomas concocted to bring Fanny to her senses served its purpose, but not in the way he anticipated. Also, one can see why the novel is often called an evangelical novel, or a novel of morals.

The two presentations fit together, hand in glove; they certainly precipitated some stimulating conversation afterward. One member wrote in an e-mail, “I thought the talks were wonderful, and I so enjoyed the conversation after. [I am] looking forward to participating more.”

Another wrote, “This afternoon’s JASNA meeting was just wonderful. I learned so much. It really adds depth to the novel to have this background.”

As both Phyllis and Toby noted, one can find something new each time Mansfield Park is read.

It would have been interesting to see how Austen continued to evolve as a writer had she lived longer.

 

 

 

2016 Emma Program Suggestions Needed


 

Jane-Austen-Emma-1816It is planning time for the year 2016, and we are asking your input for program ideas.  2016 is the 200th anniversary of the publication of Emma, and in keeping with the 2016 AGM theme of Emma, we ask that program suggestions center on that book.  You may also attend the planning meeting.

The planning meeting will be on Sunday, September 13, 2015, from 2-4 p.m. at the St. Louis Bread Company located in the Loughborough Commons, near Highway 55 and Loughborough (across from Carondelet Park).  The address is 1008 Loughborough Avenue, 63111

 

 

For the four meetings per year, a variety of programs can be considered:

  • March and September –  speaker presentations, open to the public.
    • Literary in nature (often presented by a professor or other academic)
    • A special area of interest to JASNA members – As we did with Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park, we will probably use the March meeting to hold a “Reading of your favorite passages from Emma.
  • June (members-and-their-guests) – often a book review or discussion, delivered by one of our club members or another other lighter topic
  • December (members-and-their-guests) – a birthday celebration for Ms. Austen – mostly light and entertaining in nature, also delivered by one of our club members.

 

Deadline for submissions is September 6, 2015.   Those can be make using the convenient online contact form below.

You can conveniently use your Regional Coordinators’ (Rose Marie Nestor and Jim Heine)  online contract form to submit your ideas and suggestions for your 2016 Emma programs.

 

Kara Louise: How She Came to Writing and Jane Austen and Where It Led


Kara Louise's novel Darcy's Voyage - program presentation at Jane Austen Society in St. Louis

Darcy’s Voyage – Kara Louise

On June 6, members of the St. Louis Region of JASNA and their guests congregated at the lovely home of member Bettye Dew to enjoy one of her delectable luncheons and then a delightful presentation by author Kara Louise. Ms. Louise (her pen name) recounted the story of her exploration of writing; from one line in fourth grade (as a reaction to a painting) to three pages of a story many years later to three chapters inspired by genealogy research even later. That was where it seemed to end.

Then in 2001 she discovered the writings of Jane Austen. Through the six-hour miniseries and the novel of Pride and Prejudice, Louise was finally inspired to really write. Soon she was reading the Penguin edition of Pride and Prejudice and reading more of Austen’s novels and watching the accompanying films. She also discovered online the many Pride and Prejudice sequels (of course, not by Austen).

Kara Louise also researched online sites and decided to write, not sequels, but as she calls them, variations on Pride and Prejudice. She is fascinated with the characters and wants to write stories from their points of view and to put them in different situations.

This has led to several Darcy and Elizabeth stories, several which begin with Elizabeth’s refusal of Darcy’s proposal during their meeting at Rosings. She states that her books have no order or sequence, instead they are independent stories. In Darcy’s Voyage the two meet crossing the ocean. That was inspired by the story of the Jeanie Johnston (a ship famous for no loss of lives in its voyages) and Two Years before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana, Jr. That research also inspired Pirates and Prejudice.

Even so, some research can lead to dead ends or closed doors, as when Kara Louise wanted to use deafness and sign language in a story but found that sign language had not yet been invented in England during the time period of her novel. This has not deterred Kara Louise who has used Pride and Prejudice: An Annotated Edition, Patricia Meyer Spacks, editor, and the novels of Georgette Heyer for further research. These have inspired stories involving other characters of Austen’s such as Anne de Bourgh and Harriet Smith.

What is ahead for Kara Louise? Well, she is certainly far from finished.   She has started an Emma – inspired story revolving around Harriet Smith and is very interested in one based on Persuasion. All this interested attendees who had read some of her novels while others were ready to do so. One such attendee, a librarian, could not believe she had no titles by Kara Louise at her library and was sure to remedy that situation.

Kara Louise shared several of her favorite research sites with attendees. And who knows, some may have suddenly become bitten by the writing bug. After all, as she pointed out, information leads to inspiration.

Kara Louise’s novels are mostly self-published with two that were picked up by Source books. You can find them at her website: http://www.karalouise.net/

 


 

“The Material World of Jane Austen’s Time” Highlights


Highlights from “The Material World of Jane Austen’s Time”

Presented by Anne Woodhouse, PhD

Curator of Domestic Life at the Missouri History Museum

 

Portrait of a young lady. Acc. # 1953.158.32. Watercolor on paper by Anna Maria von Phul, 1818. Missouri Historical Society Museum Collections. Von Phul 32. Scan © 2007, Missouri Historical Society.

Portrait of a young lady. Acc. # 1953.158.32. Watercolor on paper by Anna Maria von Phul, 1818. Missouri Historical Society Museum Collections. Von Phul 32. Scan © 2007, Missouri Historical Society.

We have a pretty good idea of Jane Austen’s England during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. But what did things look like here in America, especially around St. Louis? Anne Woodhouse, Curator of Domestic Life at the Missouri History Museum, helped us unlock those mysteries as well as make comparisons between England and America during that time.

Through the use of a beautiful and well-organized slide show consisting of sketches, paintings, water colors and silhouettes, as well as photos of existing artifacts, and through quotes from Austen and from books about her, Ms. Woodhouse took us on a journey from England and the civilized world of Austen to the wilds of America and the St. Louis region.

We saw the dress of Regency England – short and puff-sleeved, high-waisted dresses with curls around the faces of young women. Pictures of furniture, small and simple: round tables, straw-seat chairs, a lap desk similar to the one in which Jane could hide her work if she was disturbed while writing.

We viewed maps of Austen’s England, where she lived and how she lived, how she traveled – stage coach or post chaise and, of course, how people entertained themselves during her time. Dancing was chief among these entertainments. We saw paintings of these dances, and one can find many quotes from almost all of Austen’s novels telling of balls and dances.

In contrast, little is known of that time period in America, specifically the area around St. Louis, Fort de Chartres, Ste. Genevieve, and Cahokia. This area went back and forth between France and Spain before being bought by the United States. So the French influence was unmistakable.

In the sketches and watercolors of Anna Maria von Phul (who came from Kentucky to visit her brother), a wealth of information about people and places can be gleaned. Ms. Woodhouse explained that the informal water colors give us an insight into everyday life in this region. Clothes and hair were very similar to that of their European counterparts. But Creole style often included wrapped heads for women, skeleton suits (a one-piece outfit) for young boys, moccasins, and the use of Indian blankets as a wrap or jacket.

Madame-Marie-Chouteau

Madame Chouteau of St. Louis.

The more well-to-do, as in Europe, had their portraits painted. Madame Chouteau, the matriarch of the Chouteau family, could be seen in one portrait wearing both a scarf wrapped around her head and a plain black shawl, but with elaborate embroidery – something only the rich could afford.

Much was yet to be manufactured in America, but silver could be obtained locally and many people enjoyed silver ornaments in the form of jewelry and buttons on their clothing. However, cotton was not easily obtained and, as with many other articles for everyday use, had to be imported.

Scenes of houses in St. Louis and Ste. Genevieve drawn by von Phul showed the French style of building construction – logs placed vertically rather than horizontally. The Bolduc House in Ste. Genevieve is of this style and can still be toured today.

We were able to see several artifacts from the time period built in the French style, such as an armoire using the French ball and claw foot. Snuff boxes honoring Napoleon were also a popular item. One interesting artifact was the cellaret (a cabinet for bottles of wine or liquor) and it was noted that “all the best men got drunk around it.”

Dancing was popular here in America as well as in England. The Creole style of dancing was, as expected, quite popular. There is one story of a dancing party that took place in Arrow Rock. It started as a celebration for one thing then another and yet another until it lasted for two days and nights.

An important influence in America was that of Native Americans, especially in dress. Examples of these would be the use of moccasins, blanket coats, and buckskin coats with embroidery made of porcupine quills. Many people wore a mix of European and Native American dress. We were shown a silhouette of Auguste Chouteau wearing a dapper European suit and hat, and instead of boots, very comfortable looking moccasins – being both stylish and practical.

And so our journey ended. We traveled from the civilized world of Jane Austen, in England to the wilds of French America. Some things were similar, but with a new civilization being created and the scarcity of goods making necessity the mother of invention, much was different.

For more information on Anna Maria von Phul’s works and life in St. Louis, see the link below, a blog by Barbara Wells Sarudy.

http://bjws.blogspot.it/2013/11/where-did-lady-buy-material-for-turban.html