Left at the Church Door

November 20, 2015 at 12:18 pm (books, jane austen, jasna) (, , , )

One point made in my October JASNA AGM paper at Louisville was the propensity for Jane Austen to close after the relevant couples departed the church. We are told little of Wedding Breakfasts, Honeymoons, or burgeoning of “twigs” on “family trees”.

elizabeth and darcy

BUT: In amongst the “happily ever after” intentions of the closing chapters is also the recent history of Mrs Weston (Emma’s former governess). Hers is a narrative arc that encompasses Spinster – Wife – Mother all in one novel. Mrs. Weston (or Mister Weston, for there are men in JASNA audiences!) was someone to keep in mind, as I went on to speak about Mothers-to-be preparing for confinements.

Let me mention here that anyone able to visit Montpelier, Vermont in March 2016 will be welcome to attend the same talk, “Who could be more prepared than she was? True Tales of Life, Death, and Confinement: Childbirth in Early 19th Century England”, thanks to JASNA-Vermont.

KM at agm_Steve(click pic for Steve’s photos from the Louisville 2016 AGM)

Just visible in the photo above is an image (lower corner) showing Emma and Mr Knightley, during a discussion of “due dates”. (You might just recall Mr. Austen’s comment that he and his wife had “in old age grown such bad reckoners” when Jane Austen failed to appear as predicted, in November.)

I can’t say I ever think of Austen’s characters as other than relatively happy couples and families – much like what I’ve seen played out over the course of fifty years (1790 to 1840) of family letters for Emma and her siblings. So, it was with great interest that I read Deborah Yaffe’s recent blog post HOW DARE YOU?, a refutation of the “long-term chances” of Austen couples like Emma & Mr. Knightly (deemed to have “So-So” chances) and Anne Elliot & Captain Wentworth (whose chances were assessed as “Dodgy”).

Yaffe

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Hope Came in Costume

January 28, 2012 at 10:46 am (books, fashion) (, , , , , )

Well known to me for a few years is the costume specialist, Hope Greenberg. Hope gave an excellent talk to our JASNA Vermont group a couple years ago; and last night enthralled our group of Emma-readers with late-18th and early-19th century dress for men and women.

Hope was in a lovely maroon gown last night; and “dressed” for breakfast today too!

Don’t you wish you were here?

(Where’s “here”? The Governor’s House in Hyde Park!)

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Jane Austen’s Regency World: Write it Right

May 2, 2011 at 5:13 am (books, entertainment, news) (, , , , , , )

Happy May!

And with a new month comes a new issue of the wonderful British magazine: Jane Austen’s Regency World.

In this issue is a very timely article on “managing disability in Jane Austen’s time” — this I look forward to reading, as poor Charlotte Gosling, Mary’s younger sister, had an accident and never walked again! How did a young lady cope with such a disability (Charlotte was in her late teens).

And there’s an interview with Amanda Vickery – talking about her Home with the Georgians book, among other things.

And further along the issue: my article! “Correspondence Culture” discusses what a  pre-postage stamp (“Regency” era) letter looked like, but it also touches upon the ins & outs of the large circle of correspondents someone like Jane Austen would have negotiated; how you paid (and how much) for letters; how young children were taught to begin their writing-life by first sending compliments, then composing their own letters; and also what happened when, as you aged, maybe you couldn’t read handwriting as easily as you once did. The kernel of this article was drawn from my talk “Austen/Adams: Journeys with Jane and Abigail,” hosted last summer by the JASNA-Vermont chapter.

Purchase Jane Austen’s Regency World online: Rates for single issues, back issues, or UK/outside UK subscriptions are available here.

Big C-O-N-G-R-A-T-U-L-A-T-I-O-N-S to JARW:
the March/April 2011 issue was their 50th edition!

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