Getting Local With Jane: Overload Edition


We’re overloaded with upcoming events of interest to Jane Austen fans. Check the list carefully–one could be in your home town! For Janeites in the U.S. and Canada, be sure to check out the JASNA Region nearest you, as many of the regions are planning events to celebrate Jane Austen’s Birthday in December, and some will be delighted to include Janeites who have not yet joined JASNA. Some events require advance registration, so do be sure to contact the regions in advance.

November 15-16, Lyme Regis: The second annual Jane Austen Weekend, featuring a lecture by Jane Austen’s relative Diana Shervington, a dance, a showing of The Jane Austen Book Club film, a tour of places that Jane Austen would have visited in Lyme Regis, and tea and tiffin at the Marine Theatre. Tickets are available by calling the Marine Theatre.

November 17, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia: Laura Carroll will give a free public lecture, “Warming the imagination with scenes of the past: Time-travel romances about Jane Austen,” in the dining hall of Duchesne College, University of Queensland, St. Lucia campus.

How can we really get into Jane Austen’s world? Do we fall through the looking-glass or stumble through the back of the wardrobe, or will a good old-fashioned concussion do the trick? Amongst the flood of new products recently marketed by the ever-resourceful Austen industry is a fascinating group of fictional works – novels and a television show – dealing with time-travelling contact between our world and Austen’s.

In these works, passionate Austen aficionados from the present are magically transported back to Austen’s England where they attempt to ‘pass’ as Regency types, notice what the novels exclude (dirt, bodies, servants, Americans) and encounter both the elusive authoress herself and Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy, who, somehow and surprisingly, appears to be even more explosively sexy in person than he is in fiction. Although the ‘reality’ of Jane Austen’s world is never exactly how they had pictured it, the time-travellers must somehow reconcile their fervent attachments to the scenes of the past with their knowledge of themselves as essentially twenty-first century persons.

Bizarre and occasionally perverse as these works are, they offer a rich vein of insight into the bizarre and often perverse nature of Jane Austen’s immense and durable popularity among readers of all varieties. These time-travel fictions make full use of the imaginative possibilities afforded by fantasy and romance to explore passionate readerly experiences of the kind that ‘disciplined’ literary criticism has difficulty thinking about.

Refreshments will be served afterwards, and “friends of Austenblog enthusiastically welcomed.” Can’t beat an invitation like that!

December 6, 2008, Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania: The Editrix (who when not keeping the Internet safe for tar-hearted spinster purist Janeites, is the author of The Jane Austen Handbook: A Sensible Yet Elegant Guide to Her World) and Friend of AustenBlog Diane Wilkes, author of The Tarot of Jane Austen, will be signing copies of their respective books at the Barnes & Noble on Chemical Road in Plymouth Meeting from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. We are informed that there will be a marching band in the store that day as well, and the Editrix could be persuaded to toss a flag for old times’ sake, so you really don’t want to miss it. 🙂

November 28-December 31, Odessa, Delaware: The Historic Odessa Foundation, as part of its Christmas celebrations in the restored Georgian houses of Odessa, will present “A Jane Austen Christmas: Vignettes of Customs and Traditions,” including “holiday recreations as inspired by the writings of Jane Austen.” On December 10 at 7 p.m., Margaret C. Sullivan (that’s right, your humble servant) will speak about Christmas traditions in Jane Austen’s time and sign copies of her book, The Jane Austen Handbook: A Sensible Yet Elegant Guide to Her World.

December 1-31, York, UK: Fairfax House presents Christmas With Jane Austen.

See how Jane Austen would have celebrated Christmas. This exhibtion uses evidence of family papers, diaries and household accounts.

An annual exhibition which complements our traditional display for the festive season, using the evidence of family papers, diaries, household accounts and the writings of Jane Austen. The rooms are bedecked with evergreens, and period set-piece displays bring the House to life in a very tangible way.

December 3, Brattleboro, Vermont: Bennington College Professor April Bernard will present “Powers of Persuasion” at Brooks Memorial Library at 7:00 p.m., “considering the lasting effect of Jane Austen’s “fairy tale for grown-ups,” Persuasion.”

December 5, 6, 12, and 13, Waltham, Massachusetts: Gore Place is offering a Jane Austen Holiday Tea and Tour at 1, 2:30, and 4 p.m.

Enjoy a traditional English tea served in the Great Hall of the 1806 Governor Gore mansion. The Gore mansion is one of the finest Federal period historic houses in New England. Traditional tea includes scones, savory tea sandwiches and assorted sweets.

After your tea, you’ll join a guide in period costume and hear tales of scandals in the Austen era as you view the beautiful rooms of this wonderful early 19th century home.

Admission for the tea and tour is $40 per person, $38 per for groups of 6 or more, $35 per for Gore Place members.

Now through January 4, 2009, Santa Fe, New Mexico: The New Mexico Museum of Art presents “Fashion in Film: Period Costume for the Screen,” featuring costumes from period films including Pride and Prejudice (1995), Sense and Sensibility (1995), and Emma (1996). We had the opportunity to see this exhibition when it was at Winterthur and if you have an opportunity to see it, do so!