This event is for JASNA -St .Louis Members and their guests. Reservations are required.
“Bending Little Minds: Harriet Smith and Henrietta Belfield”
Presenter: Mary Beth Wilczak
“’Oh! It is only a novel! . . . It is only Cecilia, or Camilla, or Belinda;’ or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed . . . “
Thus in Northanger Abbey does Jane Austen proudly assert the value of fiction in general, and specifically express her admiration for the works of sister novelists Frances Burney and Maria Edgeworth. Frances Burney’s Cecilia will be the subject of Mary Beth Wilczak’s presentation at the June luncheon, as she describes the parallels between a character in Cecilia, Henrietta Belfield, and Harriet Smith in Jane Austen’s Emma. Mary Beth will examine the ways in which Cecilia’s relationship with Henrietta Belfield is reflected (and distorted) in Emma’s relationship with Harriet Smith, and explore what this might suggest about Austen’s particular literary preoccupations.
Mary Beth Wilczak has been a member of JASNA since 1989 and has served on the board of the St. Louis region in a number of roles, including that of Regional Coordinator for 12 years. She has an MFA in creative writing and takes a writer’s interest in the work of Jane Austen, with a particular focus on Austen’s intellectual relationship to her sister (and brother) novelists, including Samuel Richardson, Ann Radcliffe and Frances Burney. Previously, Mary Beth presented a program about one of Jane Austen’s favorite novels, Sir Charles Grandison, by Samuel Richardson.