NewsNotes Fall 2013 – From Our Regional Coordinator

JASNA Newsletter or Fall News Notes 2013 – Jane Austen Society of North America


Regional Coordinator’s Column

We have had a busy year celebrating the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice. Events hosted by our St. Louis region included a reading of our favorite scenes from Pride and Prejudice at Tavern of Fine Arts in March. The event was well received, with photographs and a report appearing in the summer issue of JASNA News.

In June, I moderated a lively discussion of the same book. Everyone who attended the June luncheon at Bettye Dew’s house enthusiastically expressed their ideas about characters, events, and themes in Pride and Prejudice. Bettye outdid herself with a lovely spread, augmented by dishes contributed by region members.

JASNA’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) Sept. 27-29 in Minneapolis will be the culminating event of the year, with three days of special sessions and break-out sessions, all covering a myriad of topics connected to Pride and Prejudice. This year’s AGM has proved so popular that it filled up completely only five days after registration opened.

Please check our website,, for specific articles on all these events and more!

Pride and Prejudice fans can also enjoy Austenland, a novel by Shannon Hale, which has been turned into a movie and will be playing at the Plaza Frontenac Theatre starting Friday, Sept. 6. Austenland is about a 30-something single woman who is obsessed with Colin Firth’s portrayal of Mr. Darcy in the 1995 A&E miniseries, as well as all other things Austen, visits an Austen theme park in England to once-and-for-all get him out of her system. Or does she?

St. Louis JASNA members were invited to a preview Aug. 29 at the Tivoli Theatre.

Now we turn to 2014 and the 200th anniversary of Austen’s Mansfield Park, a thought-provoking, even controversial book. We hope to schedule events similar to 2013 for this book also. Who will defend Fannie Price? Was she right to turn down Henry Crawford? What kind of life would she have had if she remained in Portsmouth? And could Mrs. Norris ever redeem herself?


Honorable Mentions: Jane Austen Essay Contest and National History Day Video

As many of you know, we have had some exciting news about a student at Webster University, taught by Sheila Hwang, and also about students at Villa Duchesne High School, taught by Elizabeth Yee, who have earned honorable mentions in the annual essay contest of the Jane Austen Society of North America.

Mindy Sansoucie, a graduate of Webster Universityand now working as a journalist, received an honorable mention for her essay “Love Comes Second: The Gender Lens on Time in Pride and Prejudice.” Here is Webster university’s article on Mindy.  Students from Villa Duchesne receiving honorable mentions included Meghan Grojean, for “Austen’s Letters: How Limitations of the Time Affected the Culture of Relationships.”; Laura E. Collins, for “Timing Is Everything: the Importance of Timing, Intention, and Fate”; and Megan M. Pohl, for “Pride and Prejudice and Perceptions: a Study of the Jane Austen Female Motif.”

On our website, we have posted a well-executed video by Johanna Hill about Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. Johanna, a high school freshman, produced the video as an eighth-grade student in University City. She created the project for this year’s National History Day contest.

Several of these young fans of Jane Austen will be attending the Sept. 14 meeting. Please plan on attending and meeting them.


Liz Philosophos Cooper

Our speaker for Sept. 14, Liz Philosophos Cooper, will offer insights on publishing in Jane Austen’s time. Mrs. Cooper will quote from Austen’s letters to family members to highlight how involved Austen was in the publishing process of the day.

Liz’s own story of how she became involved in JASNA centers on family: “My mother, Joan Philosophos, was very active and much loved in JASNA. She was a good friend of Joan Austen Leigh. Among other things, she was the one who came up with the letters theme for the [2005] Milwaukee AGM. … I have been an active JASNA member since my mother died in 2002.”

Cooper believes JASNA is part of her family inheritance, and she and her sister-in-law, Molly Philosophos, both feel a connection to her mother through JASNA. (Liz and Molly have alter egos of Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst, respectively, which they sometimes bring to JASNA’s AGMs.)

Liz reports that she also enjoyed reading Austen in high school. She put it this way: Austen “continues to surprise me while never failing to make me laugh.” She has read Austen biographies and books on the Regency era and finds that Austen is accessible to all readers.

Liz has been regional coordinator for the Wisconsin region and is now JASNA’s first vice-president of regions.


Hostess Business – Wanted: Refreshments for the Meeting

Our lovely hostess, Bettye Dew, will not be able to attend the Sept. 14 meeting. We will be in need of refreshments for that day. Hot tea will be available, but if you can contribute some tasty morsel for our delight, please contact me.


Our Founder, Shirley Bassett

As many of you know from Bettye Dew’s correspondence, Shirley has experienced several health problems of late. Shirley founded the St. Louis chapter of JASNA back in 1980 and served as regional coordinator for many years.

Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. It would certainly lift her spirits to receive a card. For information on an address for Shirley, please check your membership list or contact me.


Don’t Forget to Renew Your Membership

Please don’t forget to renew your national membership. The national year runs from September to September. You probably have received a renewal notice in the mail. If not, here is a link to the website’s renewal section:  I hope you have renewed and will continue to be a vital part of our St. Louis metropolitan region.

Our St. Louis region year follows the calendar year, with renewals sent in December.

Thank you for your continued support.

—Rose Marie Nester

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