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.

 

Report on Mansfield Park Readings, presented March 29, 2014



On Saturday, March 29, 2014, St. Louis Region Janeites and guests from around the St. Louis area congregated at the Tavern of Fine Arts for lunch and readings of their favorite scenes from Mansfield Park.  As with our Pride and Prejudice event last year, The Tavern of Fine Arts offered a special cocktail for the occasion: “the Mansfield Park.”

James Heine, Rose Nester, Rhoda Richmond, Jennifer Darnell, Lynette McFarland, Miranda Miller, Andromeda Williams, and Shirley Bassett read selections from Mansfield Park.

Because Mansfield Park is one of the most controversial novels of Jane Austen, comments from her family and friends collected by Jane Austen were also read.  The readings themselves gave a glimpse into the world of Fanny Price, her cousins, visitors to the park, and her family in Portsmouth.

Some attendees brought their books and were willing to read a selection too, if time allowed.

Miranda Miller and Andromeda Williams attended in beautiful Regency costumes, adding greatly to their readings.  They also gave a description of how the costumes are made and the undergarments that are part of the costume.  It certainly gives one a new appreciation for what women wore during that time period, as compared to the freedom and ease of clothes today. It was later discovered their guest, Toya Huston, designed Andromeda’s costume.    

Everyone showed a great understanding of Mansfield Park with each of their readings.
Some comments:

“…a wonderful job of organizing the nice event today. I really enjoyed my first visit to the Tavern. My food was very good…  Service very nice… And, of course, the readings – I loved them, and I admire anyone who does public speaking. …the acoustics are good. The podium was charming.”



Jayme Blandford, a literature teacher from St. Charles Community College, was a first-time attendee and is excited to do more.  She is presenting a paper at the Popular Culture Association Conference in Chicago in April regarding the film Austenland.  The paper’s title is “Austenland: The Modern Janeite’s Fantasy Come to Film.”

    Many were interested in repeating this event for the 200th anniversary of the publication of Emma.

In preparation for the March meeting Sheila Hwang, a professor from Webster University, and Regional Coordinator Rose Nester were interviewed for the KDHX program “Literature for the Halibut,” which you can find at the following link:  http://kdhx.fm/archives/archive_gen.php?show=literatureforthehalibut .  The link will be available until April 7, 2014.

 

UNC-Chapel Hill offers summer Austen program June 27-30

Eve M. Duffy, director of the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill Program in the Humanities, recently informed us that UNC–Chapel Hill is partnering with the English and Comparative Literature Department at UNC to offer a Jane Austen Summer Program June 27-30. The four-day program celebrates the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice. Designed, not only for scholars, but also for high-school teachers, and graduate and undergraduate students, the program is open to anyone with a passion for all things Austen. Tuition is $499 and includes parking on campus, breakfast, break food, a buffet dinner, dance lessons, and a regency ball. Current K -12 teachers are eligible for scholarships that cover approximately half the tuition cost. For more information, including the program agenda, visit http://humanities.unc.edu/programs/jasp.

Readings from Pride and Prejudice March 16, 2013, at the Tavern of Fine Arts

 

On Saturday, March 16, 2013, members and guests of our St. Louis Metropolitan Region of the Jane Austen Society of North America gathered at the Tavern of Fine Arts to read their favorite selections from Pride and Prejudice. The tavern, a café and fine arts venue, provided lunch and offered a special cocktail for the occasion: “The Bennet”—a concoction that many raved over.

We read in the tavern’s performance space (excellent acoustics). Everyone who read could be heard easily, and everyone read so well! It was truly special, with great guest readers and wonderful members and guests in the audience. The afternoon was a resounding success.

Here is a sample of responses to the event:

The entire program was delightful. I enjoyed meeting and listening to all who contributed. The Tavern was totally new to me, and I am so pleased with an introduction to it as well.

I felt the people at the Tavern were gracious and helpful, clearly committed to establishing an intimate and informal performing arts venue in the area. It was my first time there, though my friend, who read with me, had read in—and helped organize—the annual Joyce readings held there on Bloomsday, June 16. I look forward to hearing classical music there, especially guitar, and do hope we can find occasion to “do it again next year.”

What a delightful way to spend an afternoon. I enjoyed every one of the talented readers and their selections! Thanks to all of you and special thanks to Rose and Jim for arranging this wonderful program!

I believe it would be marvelous to continue this practice with the coming publication anniversaries of Mansfield Park, Emma, Persuasion, and Northanger Abbey. And because we did not have the opportunity to mark the 2011 publication anniversary of Sense and Sensibility, I believe it would be good to schedule a reading for that book also.

Thanks to all, for a lovely afternoon.