JASNA StL News & Notes – August 2014


JASNA StL founding member Phyllis Thorpe recently passed along two links of interest to readers of Jane Austen.

The first: a link to a July 6 “Charlie Rose” conversation with John McQuillen, the curator of the Morgan Library’s current “Marks of Genius” exhibit. The interviewer is guest host Jon Meacham, whose favorite author, it turns out, is Miss Austen. (If you want to skip the political talk, however interesting, that precedes the interview with Mr. McQuillen, scroll to near the end of the program.)


The second: an article in the current issue of the Atlantic, “The Economics of Jane Austen” by Shannon Chamberlain, who discusses the influence Adam Smith may have had on Jane Austen’s views on money and morality. Interesting, to say the least.



Notes from our New York Colleagues

In addition to Phyllis’ correspondence, our New York colleagues Linda Dennery and Meg Levin passed along the following recently:

For the last three months, Sarah Emsley’s blog has been offering guests the chance to discuss Mansfield Park, Jane Austen’s third novel, which was published in 1814 and is the theme of this year’s JASNA AGM. Authors include Elaine Bander, Cheryl Kinney, Juliet McMaster, Sarah Seltzer and Juliette Wells. Go here to read the latest one and scroll down the page for earlier posts, beginning May 9: sarahemsley.

If you’re not familiar with W.H. Auden’s poem in which he feigns shock at how Jane Austen could “Reveal so frankly and with such sobriety/The Economic basis of society,” you can find the poem and the views of other famous authors on the following page: here.

The Jane Austen Centre in Bath has unveiled a new waxwork figure of Jane Austen, based on contemporary descriptions and the sketch by her sister Cassandra. Go here to view a video of how it was made: Wax Jane.



Tarrytown (N.Y.) Weekend Conference Registration


Ed. note: Should any members be in the NYC area March 21-23, here is an opportunity to meet JASNA colleagues from the East Coast. Plus, you’ll get to visit the locale of Sleepy Hollow.

JASNA NY METRO invites you to join us from Friday, March 21, to Sunday, March 23, 2014, for our weekend conference “At Home with Jane Austen: Daily Life in the World of Her Novels.”

We will meet at the Tarrytown House and Conference Center in Tarrytown, N.Y., just 25 miles from New York City. The weekend will include several guest speakers, an optional tour of Sunnyside (home of Washington Irving) and more. Register for the conference and your fee will cover the meetings, the hotel room, all the meals, and access to the fitness center. You do not need to make a separate reservation for the hotel. (The tour of Washington Irving’s house, Sunnyside, is not included in the conference fee, but you can sign up for it now.)

It promises to be a wonderful weekend. Space is limited to 60, so if you’d like to attend, don’t wait too long to register. (Please note, hotel policy prevents us from offering “day registration” to those who live nearby and wish to remain at home.)

For a detailed description and schedule click Tarrytown Conference. The last page is a registration form which you can print, fill out, and mail with a check payable to JASNA-NY. Or you can register online using the Paypal link marked “register with credit card” under the Tarrytown Conference link on jasnany.org. (Note that registration rates are $10 higher if you use Paypal.) If you want to share with a friend, each of you should register and pay separately and include the roommate’s name in your registration. If you don’t have a roommate but would like one, we’ll try to match you up.

It promises to be a memorable weekend. We hope to see you there! Please read the description and the refund policy, and if you have additional questions, please email jasnany@yahoo.com.

Linda Dennery and Meg Levin
JASNA – NY Metro Region

The Modern Woman: How Jane Austen and the Bronte Sisters Revolutionized Femimism

Earlier this year, Johanna Hill, a University City eighth-grader, prepared a National History Day (www.nhd.org) video about Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters. As part of her project, Johanna interviewed JASNA-StL member and Saint Louis University professor of English Toby Benis. Johanna has graciously allowed us to post a link to her video (below). Congratulations, Johanna, on a successful project.


Here is Johanna’s introduction to her National History Day (NHD) video:

“I started reading Jane Austen’s Emma about a year ago. It was my first ‘classic’ piece of literature, and I was expecting it to be tedious and dry. I was incredibly wrong. Miss Woodhouse, Harriet, and Mr. Churchill swept me into their world, and I became one with the story, gasping at each betrayal and cheering at every triumph. Jane Austen was my obsession, and I gobbled up her novels like a lunatic. This appetite was still occurring when my teacher, Mrs. Bakeman, handed me the packet with the NHD theme for the year: Turning points in history. It was tough to decide, but I finally chose to create a project about Austen’s interpretation of women, which I always admired because they were so smart and independent. To build on that, I also decided to include the Brontë sisters, another group of important women authors in roughly the same time period.”