Virtual Jane Austen – Cleveland AGM

October 10, 2020 at 9:25 am (books, entertainment, jane austen, jasna) (, , )


Am spending the weekend in a VIRTUAL Cleveland, Ohio – the site of our JASNA (Jane Austen Society of North America) Annual General Meeting. Meeting in person, of course, got canceled back in the spring of 2020.

Last night’s opening featured:

Opening Remarks by JASNA President Liz Philosophos Cooper. She announced that the Virtual Event AGM attracted 1400 participants (a JASNA record, of course) – and gave a special shout-out to one “senior” in Japan, a member for 30 years, attending her first AGM (one of 466 first-timers).

Members learned of the death of a founding member of JASNA, Lorraine Hanaway, her daughter Annie giving a taped interview. I had the pleasure to meet Lorraine, a “neighbor” in New Hampshire at the time, and last saw her at one of the AGMs. She will be missed by many.

We heard a taped address from Chawton’s Jane Austen’s House Museum – new director Lizzie Dunford.

The most intellectually stimulating event was the lengthy “Conversation with Juliet McMaster” – Fascinating insight into a life spent with education, literature and art; as well, an inspection of Austen’s JUVENILIA, the topic of this year’s AGM.

“Entertainment” came in the form of a Special Interest Session that would have (under normal circumstances) been performed at Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Aside from our hostess – who I will come back to – our “Rock Stars” were:

Emma, Lady Hamilton – love interest of Lord Nelson

Frances Burney (Madame d’Arblay) – contemporary novelist

Dora Jordan – actress & love interest of William, Duke of Clarence

The Prince Regent – complete with wine bottle & glass

Lord Byron – poet leading a scandalous life

All hosted (and scripted) by Dolly Parton.

This must be Jocelyn Harris’ _vote_ for Dolly to be inducted (in the future) into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Her absence (and that of many WOMEN) was obviously a story back in January 2020. I see their website is experiencing “technical difficulties” – attack of the Janeites? or the fans of Dolly??

The evening ended with a BritBox presentation of the first two episodes of the 1995 Pride and Prejudice – newly “remastered” Here’s a hint as to why nearly everyone raves:

Mr. Darcy: “I beg you…. consent to be my wife.”

The conference continues today and tomorrow – though, being ‘virtual’, participants are able to “attend” as many Break-Out Sessions as they please, over the next 30 days. Special Interest Sessions, Games, even the Emporium are still happening. The one thing missing: Company and Meals. This AGM paves the way for more participants, from around the global (barring time differences for some) for dipping into future *live* AGMs.

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