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.
“…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.