Jane Austen-mania

August 21, 2017 at 11:11 pm (books, jane austen, jasna) (, , )

I wish to draw to the attention of readers of Two Teens in the Time of Austen an article in the LITERARY REVIEW for July 2017, by Lucy Lethbridge, entitled AUSTENMANIA.

Literary Review

Lucy is discussing and reviewing a HUGE pile of *new* Jane Austen books, including:

  • Jane Austen at Home: A Biography — by Lucy Worsley
  • Jane Austen the Banker’s Sister — by E.J. Clery
  • Jane and Dorothy: A True Tale of Sense and Sensibility — by Marian Veevers
  • A Secret Sisterhood: The Hidden Friendships of Austen, Brontë, Eliot and Woolf — by Claire Sweeney
  • The Genius of Jane Austen: Her Love of Theatre and Why She is a Hit in Hollywood — by Paula Byrne
  • The Making of Jane Austen — by Devoney Looser
  • Jane Austen: A Brief Life — by Fiona Stafford

[whew!]

I must say, Lucy doesn’t think much of Jane and Dorothy – a book I recently ordered (it shipped today!) mainly because of Veevers’ connection to Wordsworth scholarship. Might be a while, but hopefully I’ll have something to say about reading it.

I’ve been VERY intrigued by the book that obviously discusses Henry Austen – he’s the banker in the family (and I like to think had some kind of connections with the firm of Goslings & Sharpe! the banking family _I_ am most closely associated with).

I must look at the book more closely, for I’m really confused by Lucy Lethbridge’s use of the word (IN quotes!) ‘cosmic’ – as in the sentence: the book “looks at her [Jane Austen’s] ‘cosmic’ connection with her brother”.

Although I’d LOVE to know more about Anne Sharp (Fanny Knight’s governess), I’m not all caring about the other authors.

I found Worsley’s TV show, Jane Austen: Behind Closed Doors, of interest – but don’t care to read her exclamation-filled book (read Amazon reviews, and you’ll see some of the criticisms of her current writing style).

Lucy Lethbridge saves her highest praises for the two books that are from authors familiar to JASNA members. Byrne’s book is a revamped, expanded edition of her earlier book on Jane Austen and the “theatre”. I’m rather glad that, for once, a publisher allowed for updates rather than simply renaming, and re-dust-jacketing an old title.

And she’s put Devoney Looser’s book on the radar for me, especially by calling it a “lively account”. A decent price ($29.95) for a university press is also a PLUS.

I’ve grown rather tired of the same “life histories” of Austen, but I’d even like to take a look at Stafford’s stab at “A Brief Life”. At 184 pages, not as brief as the title made it originally sound. (obviously, the brief life refers to Austen’s life being brief)

Would welcome hearing from anyone (reader or writer) about these books, or if there’s something out or coming out.

*

NB: for those, like me, who wondered WHY the Lethbridge post’s URL was “Austenmania-2”; Austenmania was the original review (by Mark Bostridge, 2009) for Claire Harmon’s Jane’s Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World (alas! can only read it with a subscription to Literary Review)

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Mansfield Park in Montreal

May 4, 2014 at 5:35 pm (entertainment, jane austen, jasna) (, , , , )

This coming October, the AGM (Annual General Meeting) of JASNA – the Jane Austen Society of North America – is hosted by Montreal, a not-far drive from my northern Vermont home. I’ve been taking a look at the schedule of break-out speakers.

Session F is going to be REALLY hard to decide one “just one” – for there are three speakers whose topics call to me. Sarah Bowen discusses CLERGYMEN’S WIVES, which of course encompasses my Emma – and her sisters Augusta, Fanny, and Maria!

But there’s also Jacqueline Reid-Walsh‘s topic of “girls’ domestic activities,” which includes a look at “modifying prints as artwork”. Those show up in the Smith & Gosling homes several times over.

Tess O’Toole and Jocelyn Harris offer two more talks in the same session. Oh, dear… I slightly (currently) give the nod to Harris, for she wonders if Fanny and Susan Price could possibly have been based in some way on Fanny and Susan Burney.

And Sarah Emsley‘s topic has really caught my attention: Lady Sherbrooke, wife of the Lt-Gov. of Nova Scotia has been caught reading MP in tandem with her sister in 1815! What nuggets of diary or letter entries might this talk hold???

LOTS to think about in the weeks before the AGM opens for registration.

The post-chaise to Montreal leaves in October

 

 

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Upcoming Persuasions: Sex, Money & Power

May 19, 2013 at 10:43 am (books, jane austen, jasna) (, , , , , , , )

JASNA has released the contents page of the upcoming issue of Persuasions, the Austen journal sent to members every spring. (For purchase, see their website.)

ball18The issue contains some papers given at the New York AGM last fall – the AGM entitled Sex, Money and Power in Jane Austen’s Fiction.

Can’t wait to read Elaine Bander’s “Why Elizabeth finally says ‘Yes!’.”

Mary Ann O’Farrell’s title, “Meditating much upon Forks” reminds me of the 1991 BBC production’s Mr Collins — who sat at table scrutinizing the Bennet silverware!

VERY interested in seeing Jocelyn Harris’ article on The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge — all the clergymen in my research seem to raise money for this society, certain the Rev. Richard Seymour mentions the society over and again. Usually, he called it by its initial SPCK — took me a while to figure out what it meant!

I chuckle to myself thinking of Willoughby as “a luxury good” – so Shannon Chamberlain’s article will have to be an early read.

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Colonial Williamsburg: Historic Threads

November 8, 2012 at 8:52 pm (fashion, history, jasna, portraits and paintings) (, , , , , , , , )

Thought I’d share this wonderful website, pointing out the clothing information — but mention that visitors should look more fully at ALL the items on offer at Colonial Williamsburg’s history.org website:

This shows the array of items you can investigate: from portraits through materials. I dressed a young lady of the gentry! from stockings to pocket to cap and dress. It was fun – you can find it by clicking on “Dressing the Part“.

Now, you might be thinking “What does colonial-era clothing have to do with Two Teens in the Time of Austen?” Certainly, neither Mary nor Emma would have worn a gown like that above — but Lady Cunliffe certainly would have been familiar with the dress of this young lady. For those who wonder about Lady Cunliffe, Mary’s maternal grandmother, you can read a prior post by clicking on her portrait:

Lady Cunliffe in her portrait of 1761, painted by Joshua Reynolds.

* * *

two book recommendation:

The Dress of the People, John Styles (Yale U Press)
What Clothes Reveal, Linda Baumgarten (Yale U Press)

read my review of Styles’ book at JASNA
read about Styles’ upcoming Williamsburg 2013 Exhibit & Symposium:
Threads of Feeling Unraveled: The London Foundling Hospital’s Textile Tokens

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2016: Jane Austen’s Emma

October 25, 2012 at 7:05 pm (books, jane austen, jasna) (, , , , , )

A couple of weeks ago, the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) held its annual conference (AGM); and the announcement would have been made about the latest addition to the upcoming AGM line up:

2013 – “Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice … Timeless” = Minneapolis, MN

2014 – “Mansfield Park in Montreal: Contexts, Conventions, Controversies” = Montreal, Quebec

2015 – “Living in Jane Austen’s World” = Louisville, KY

Readers of Two Teens in the Time of Austen will know how “bullish” I am on studying the life of Cassandra Austen, and reading actual letters, and learning more about life in Regency England; so I really look forward to Louisville as a slice of something out of the ordinary. While Minneapolis and Montreal carry forward the 200th anniversary celebrations of the publication of Austen’s novels begun last year, in Fort Worth, with Sense and Sensibility.

So it was with GREAT interest that I looked up JASNA’s website listing of AGMs to see that Emma in 2016 will be held in our nation’s capital: Washington, DC!

Emma at 200: ‘No One But Herself’” builds on the idea of Austen writing that she was creating a heroine whom no one but herself would like. Fans know this is not true.

Can’t imagine a better place to celebrate Emma‘s “bicentennial”!

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Texas Beckons – Long and Winding Road nears its end

October 12, 2011 at 8:03 am (jane austen, jasna, news, travel) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Today marks the beginning of the JASNA AGM long and winding road: I leave for Manchester, NH and a Thursday flight for Dallas-Fort Worth.

It has, indeed, been long and winding…

Was last year about this time that I proposed a paper to the Annual General Meeting 2011 of the Jane Austen Society of North America. Then came the acceptance! Hurrah, was my first thought; but it’s been much work — and time away from my beloved Smiths & Goslings. In the last month, when I might have been living life in 1830s England, transcribing Richard Seymour’s diaries, I’ve been looking to fine tune some Jane Austen writings. I’ve read Austen because she would have been Emma’s “Aunt”; Emma, on visits to Chawton, when she describes Cassandra Austen or Edward Knight, might have been rubbing elbows with a woman whose books she read (there is a diary notation of Mansfield Park in 1818). I’ve certainly learned a lot about life, reading Austen’s novels; and also learned about obscure aspects of her novelistic world by studying the Smiths & Goslings. Yet, I’ll be glad to get back to “work” come November. I’m missing “my people”!

I’ve never been West – so this will be a bit of a treat. Going book-looking in New Hampshire (if all goes well) at my favorite used bookstore: Old Depot No. 6, in Henniker.

Not a lot of book room in the suitcase, should the JASNA Emporium beckon…

Hope to keep you up-to-date while I’m at the AGM!

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Long, Winding Road: One Month to JASNA AGM

September 14, 2011 at 2:26 am (books, jasna, news, research) (, , , , , , , )

It’s getting to the point where I can “count down” to the JASNA AGM. October 13th is the flight to Dallas/Fort Worth. My paper gets presented on the following day. Eek!

I like what it says, however, about music and art, about Elinor and Marianne. My thoughts are usually “history” based, and I begin with a Beechey painting and segue into a short discussion of “accomplishments”. I have a feeling — being a bit of a craftsperson/artist — that I think differently than many JASNA speakers about the actions behind the term “accomplishments.”

Sometimes there is so MUCH you’d like to say, but: you have only 40 minutes…

Sometimes, you just have to say “enough” and be done adding information.

Still, as much as I love talking about the era, I’d much rather talk about my Smiths&Goslings! So I’m not sure about future AGM paper proposals.

Lately, I’ve been looking at sketches, somewhat in anticipation of speaking about Elinor, done by Fanny Smith, Emma’s middle sister. I’ll blog about those sketches later.

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Rick Steves meets Jane Austen?!

June 8, 2011 at 9:32 pm (entertainment, estates, jasna, news, people, places, travel) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Yep, that’s the scoop! Direct from Cheryl Kinney at JASNA AGM central:

Dear All,

Thought you might enjoy this notice from the “Travel with Rick Steves” show!
 
We will be airing Rick’s interview with Andrew Davies about Jane Austen on the June 11/12 edition of Travel with Rick Steves.  The show will also include interviews with writer Bill Bryson (about his latest book, “At Home: A Short History of Private Life”) and with London tour guide Britt Lonsdale about enjoying afternoon tea in England.

We will be adding a link on our radio website to JASNA, and also providing details about the society’s October annual meeting.

For a complete list of stations and air times for our show, please see this page of our website: http://www.ricksteves.com/radio/whereitairs.htm

Beginning on June 12, the show will also be available to download any time from our website archives at this page: http://www.ricksteves.com/radio/archive.htm

 
Warmest regards,
Cheryl

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Jane Austen Book Raffle

March 6, 2011 at 11:00 am (books, jasna, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Time to post a bit of a *PLUG* for the giveaway:

One lucky winner will be gifted with this SIGNED copy of the delightful Life in the Country. Let’s take a quick look inside!

A little history, as my Emma would say, of the book:

This copy came direct from the U.K. (purchased by a friend). I brought it with me to the 2009 JASNA AGM in Philadelphia. Joan Ray, who spoke in Vermont in September of that year, had already signed the book. In Philadelphia, I tracked down Maggie Lane after her AGM presentation (I also wanted to see if she had heard of the Goslings, as a banking firm; unfortunately, she was unfamiliar with them). Freydis Welland, who is the daughther of Joan Austen-Leigh, I sought out because I wanted to meet her — she’s my Emma’s family, after all! Freydis and her sister were most kind in their remarks about my research, and Freydis consented to sign the copy of this book. Thus, only Eileen Sutherland is missing in this line-up.

The essays, like the one pictured — “Jane Austen and her Family” (Maggie Lane’s contribution) — make for a nice read. The bulk of the book are made up of wonderful silhouettes cut by my James Edward Austen Leigh!

My online review of the book has this to say about Life in the Country: “Most reviews of Life in the Country focus on its Jane Austen connection; while her name will create media coverage and open consumer wallets, it is the silhouettes themselves that will keep this book at hand. Although noted a bit late, there is acknowledgement at the back that virtually all the silhouettes are presented in their original size. The level of intricacy, especially in the more complicated scenery pieces, is astounding and the skill necessary to have produced them freehand is truly amazing.”

To read the entire review, see Jane Austen in Vermont (the JASNA-Vermont blog): http://janeausteninvermont.wordpress.com/2008/12/03/life-in-the-country-a-review/

The Jane Austen Raffle is simple and costs only $1:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Previewing Persuasions

April 1, 2009 at 11:40 am (books) (, , , , , , , )

peak-cavern-entrance_1830-kmJASNA has posted a link to the table of contents for volume 30 (2008) of the Jane Austen Society of North America’s journal Persuasions. This annual is a peer-reviewed journal, featuring both articles based on papers presented at the October AGMs (Annual General Meeting; 2008’s took placed in Chicago) and ‘miscellany’ — which includes my own article on the 1833 Austen-Smith journey to Derbyshire: they travelled pretty much in the shoes of Elizabeth Bennet! Watch the JASNA website, for I have been told the article might be posted on their “maps” page (a quite useful resource, now augmented with related articles on places and travel pulled from the Persuasions archive). This article has evolved into an illustrated talk, which will be of interest to anyone with an affinity for 19th-century travel in England!

(picture, courtesy of AncestryImages.com, shows the Entrance to the Peak Cavern – complete with its twine workers)

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