In Memoriam


 

Our national organization reports, via the UK’s Telegraph newspaper, that Austen fans have lost another author and long-time advocate of Jane Austen. Marie Dobbs made an interesting life for herself and penned other works besides her 1975 completion of Sanditon, as her Telegraph obituary indicates:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/11790472/Marie-Dobbs-author-obituary.html

Last month, the Telegraph also marked the passing of Austen scholar Irene Collins, perhaps best known for her book, Jane Austen and the Clergy (1994):

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/11753737/Irene-Collins-historian-obituary.html

Some years ago, Jane Austen and the Clergy was the topic at one of our summer luncheon meetings, held that year at the Chatillon-DeMenil House.

 

Revisiting the A&E/BBC’s 1995 P&P

Finally, on a lighter note, if you need an excuse to skip over to England in the next few weeks, here is the perfect reason for making the trip, courtesy of the Basingstoke Gazette:

http://www.basingstokegazette.co.uk/leisure/general/13582167.Selected_cast_and_director_of_1995_BBC_Pride_and_Prejudice_to_attend_Chawton_conference/?ref=fbshr

For more information about the the library’s Sept. 5 presentation, “BBC Pride and Prejudice 1995: Reflections Around a Much-Loved Production,”  visit the Chawton House Library’s website,

www.chawtonhouse.org, or simply click on this link for a program agenda: www.chawtonhouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/ProgrammePP3.pdf

Among the presenters Sept. 5, our own Devoney Looser (a.k.a., Stone Cold Jane Austen, www.devoneylooser.com/roller-derby.html). Now with Arizona State University, Devoney’s topic will be “Playing Mr. Darcy, from Archery to Wet Shirts.”

Also, you may recall that Chawton House Library founder Sandy Lerner was our 2012 Birthday Luncheon guest.

And speaking of topics, this is a good time to remind everyone that our next JASNA Metropolitan St. Louis Region meeting is Sept. 26 at the University City Public Library. Dr. Toby Benis, of Saint Louis University’s College of Arts and Sciences and a fellow region member, will speak on “Jane Austen’s Portsmouth.” The 2 p.m. presentation is open to the public; so please invite your family and friends. The library is located at 6701 Delmar Blvd., University City, Mo. We’ll see you then.

 

 

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/

 


 

Seventh Annual Louisville Jane Austen Festival July 18–20

Tea, Workshops, a Regency Dress Record, and More Tea: A Delightful Weekend in Louisville

By Mayme Bolt, Metropolitan St. Louis Region

Despite a little drizzle on Friday night, July 18, there was Twilight Shopping, which proved a lot of fun. Traditional Kentucky food was served, and the anniversary of Jane Austen’s death was observed with the playing of music from the Regency period. The tea company, Bingley’s Tea, was there, and the first 25 people who bought tea received a free tote bag. Yes, I got my bag. I love their Jane Austen tea series.

On Saturday, the fun started early at Locust Grove: dueling, archery, shuttlecock, and other activities ran throughout the day, including a Navy Encampment. There were workshops, such as how to tie a cravat, and my favorite afternoon tea. Four different Bingley Teas were available to choose from, along with Mini Hot Browns (a Kentucky specialty), scones, egg-salad sandwiches, and Benedictine sandwiches (also a Kentucky favorite). For dessert, we were able to choose from blackberry jam cake, lavender rum cake (amazing), bread pudding, and of course, Mr. Darcy’s lemon pound cake. The authors John Mullen (What Matters in Jane Austen) and Jo Baker (Longbourn) were guest speakers on Saturday, followed by a book signing.

The highlight of Saturday was trying to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the most people in Regency dress. Bath, England, held the record—409 people. Despite our efforts last year, we missed the mark by 50-plus people. But I’m happy to say we beat the record this year with around 491 people, who also walked in the Promenade. All of us who walked donated a dollar to the Jane Austen House, and JASNA Louisville is matching the donation. The day ended with a ball on Saturday night, which I am sorry to say, I could not attend.

On Sunday my mother and I were volunteers in the morning: checking people in for their teas and workshops. The navy Chaplin held services that morning, and later my cousin joined us for another tea! I can’t say no to tea!

Throughout the weekend there was shopping at the “Shoppe of Meryton.” Inside, Lydia Fast was selling her beautiful hats. (Lauren, my niece, bought one for her birthday last year and was wearing it with the riding habit she wore this year). A wig maker and a bookseller were present also.

They are hoping to put on the festival again next year. Right now they are trying to balance having the AGM next October and the festival next July. It’s a lot of work for Bonny to organize.

Below is a link to events held at this year’s Louisville festival:

http://jasnalouisville.com/festival-schedule

Also, here is a link to a blog that describes Lydia Fast’s beautiful hats:

http://thebohemianbelle1800.blogspot.com/2012/11/lydia-fast-regency-bonnet-workshop.html

 


 

The following pictures and legends from the Louisville Jane Austen Festival July 18-20 have been provided by JASNA StL member Mayme Bolt. Mayme attended the festival this year with her mother, Mary Raybourn, and her niece, Lauren Bolt. Thank you Mayme.  All photos copyright © Mayme Bolt.  All rights reserved.

 


 

Austen lovers to celebrate 200th birthday of ‘Mansfield Park’

 

“The following appeared online at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (www.stltoday.com) on St. Patrick’s Day. Jane Henderson is the book editor for the Post-Dispatch and writes about books and publishing at her “Book Blog.”

 

Readers from the local chapter of the Jane Austen Society of North America will gather March 29 at the Tavern of Fine Arts.

Last year the group had a good crowd for its celebration of “P&P.” But as member Jim Heine notes, Fanny Price is no Elizabeth Bennet:

“After being dazzled by the incandescent Elizabeth Bennet, encountering Fanny Price is something of a shock. Elizabeth is brilliant and witty; Fanny, reserved, reticent, occasionally fearful (with good reason), and even, at times, priggish. And as the nexus of the story, Mansfield Park itself is far different, for example, from Longbourn, Netherfield, Rosings, or Pemberley. You find no comic relief at Mansfield Park, as there is in the various homes of Pride and Prejudice—no Mrs. Bennet or Mr. Collins to laugh at, no Mary Bennet to amuse you, no incisive retorts to make you smile. Where Pride and Prejudice offers joy, Mansfield Park reminds the reader on almost every page that Fanny’s fate is held by people whose moral compasses are in doubt, and who seem bent on using Fanny to serve their selfish ends. It probably takes a second reading of Mansfield Park to appreciate Fanny’s character and plight, and to appreciate Austen’s construction of the novel.”

Toward the end of “Mansfield Park,” Fanny does receive some good news — which almost sends the meek one searching for a “cordial.” In honor of Fanny, the Tavern will create its own drink for the event.

In a press release, the JASNA chapter says

“JASNA members and friends will read favorite scenes from ‘Mansfield Park’, first published in London by Thomas Egerton on May 9, 1814, and offer insights on its themes and relevance for today. For more information, e-mail or call Rose Marie Nester, JASNA St. Louis regional coordinator, at 104voce@att.net or 314-752-3752. Lunch will be available after 11 a.m. and throughout the afternoon from the Tavern of Fine Arts menu. The event is free and open to the public.”

The event is from 1-3 p.m. March 29. The Tavern of Fine Arts is at 313 Belt Avenue.

 


Jane Henderson is book editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Follow her online at stltoday.com/books and on Twitter @stlbooks.

http://www.stltoday.com/entertainment/books-and-literature/book-blog/austen-lovers-to-celebrate-th-birthday-of-mansfield-park/article_a6249ac3-fab0-5013-ab27-49425ab2f93d.html


 

BBC 1 Trailers for ‘Death Comes to Pemberley’

 

The TV adaptation of P.D. James’ “Death Comes to Pemberley” has aired already in Great Britain (over the Christmas holiday, no less). While we await its premier on PBS, here are YouTube links to four BBC 1 trailers for the miniseries. As we reviewed the book at our June 2013 luncheon, it will be interesting to see how James’ sequel to Pride and Prejudice fares as a movie adaptation.

Here are the trailers:

1.      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhmgTlVXbxw

 

2.      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzezYWDb0zI

 

3.      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQDhA459r7w

 

4.      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkDtJ0wsyPE

Conclusions from watching the trailers:

  1. Superb production values—no surprise there.
  2. Every miniseries needs a Lydia.

Altogether, there are eight BBC clips for “Death Comes to Pemberley”.  However, all may not be available for viewing here in the U.S.:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01mqkm5/clips.

On the same topic, several reviews/features from the UK’s  Telegraph:

·         Death Comes to Pemberley: behind the scenes.

·         Death Comes to Pemberly: won round by an older and wiser Lizzie.

·         Death Comes to Pemberely: episode 3, BBC One, review.

 



Found: an 1831 Letter from John Murray to Cassandra Austen—Plus Other End-of-Year Items

 

Linda Dennery and Meg Levin, our New York Region colleagues, have passed along the following end-of-year tidbits. Of particular interest is the letter from publisher John Murray to Cassandra Austen.


 

As the centenary of Pride and Prejudice celebration ends, we offers a few items to round out the year:

1. An 1831 letter (long thought lost) to Cassandra Austen from John Murray, Jane Austen’s last publisher, has been found:
Murray’s letter

2. You may have missed New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd’s piece linking Jane Austen’s novels and professional football (!)
Dowd column

3. The British Library has uploaded over one million illustrations from its collections to the photo site Flickr, free for anyone to copy and reuse without charge. They range from the 17th to the 19th century. Here for example is Mr Wrench, a character in the “burletta” Tom and Jerry, or Life in London performed in London from 1821 to 1823:
Mr. Wrench

Unfortunately the archive has been dumped onto Flickr with not much in the way of captions and no easy way to search the site. As one blogger at the website Londonist has noted, “the search box is about as easy to handle as a wasp-drawn chariot.” This particular writer has selected two books about London and has posted illustrations on his website:
The Londonist

If you find any particularly good Regency illustrations please let us know!

Happy New Year from
JASNA NY Metro