Doggerel Abbey, a poem


As explained below, William Phillips of Chicago, who was part of the Sunday brunch panel, shared a poem he had written summarizing Northanger Abbey. Mr. Phillips said in an e-mail, “In this incarnation, it is dedicated to Team Tilney, Team Catherine, and all lovers of Austen in general and Northanger Abbey in particular.” We begged him to let us reproduce it on the blog, and he graciously agreed.

Doggerel Abbey, by William Phillips

Posthumously published—though the first written.
By this clever spoof, we’re bound to be smitten.
In early 20s, Jane started this journey—
Hell of a tribute to Radcliffe and Burney.

* * *
No heiress, no beauty, no genius, please meet
Catherine Morland, who at first, seems just – sweet!
Her mind might seem blank except for a head full
Of Gothic romance, which verges on dreadful.

As comp’ny to Bath by the Allens she’s sought,
And there in the web of the Thorpes is she caught.
Cath’s brother’s the goal of sly Isabella.
Miss M’s chased by John, a right unctuous fella.

She meets Henry Tilney – falls head over heels.
His father thinks Cathy is money on wheels.
Though unknown to Henry, her fortune’s no size.
Her letch for him simply puts stars in his eyes.

He’s smart and ‘in charge’, and though never grovels,
Shows sensitive side—knows muslin—reads novels.
Sis’ Eleanor—classiest gal in the book
Builds friendship with Cath’rine that really does cook.

Henry’s pizzazz makes John Thorpe just look shabby,
So C. splits and visits Northanger Abbey.
It’s all misadventure – strange chest and locked room.
C. thinks the Gen’ral’s a purveyor of doom!

Thorpe tells the Gen’ral, C’s fortune is lacking,
So in a great snit, he sends Cathy packing.
Henry learns of this, most vexed, does not tarry,
Follows to Wiltshire and asks her to marry.

Cath’rine’s parents say, “Wait! Permission’s a must!”
It looks like their hopes may be dashed in the dust.
Then E. marries Viscount—pleased Gen’ral lets go.
The kids live quite well on the dead mother’s dough.

* * *
The jury’s been mixed—some onions—some roses.
Quite a few critics have turned up their noses.
“Rather confused,” say some lit’rary sages,
But Cath’rine and we—learn lots in these pages!

© 2010 by William Phillips

Tilney Rules and Darcy Drools: Team Tilney Explains It All


If I may be so bold as to speak for the other members of Team Tilney, we really had a fun time “explaining it all”–that is, why we think Mr. Tilney is Austen’s best hero, as well as exploding some of the myths and scandalous falsehoods that have been circulated about him–to the audience at the JASNA AGM.

I conceived the idea a little over a year ago and browbeat, er, persuaded several fellow Tilney fans to join in with me, and submitted the idea as a breakout presentation for the AGM. Imagine my surprise and delight when the organizers contacted me and asked if we would be willing to have our presentation be a special event in the main ballroom before the official opening of the AGM. That sounded like fun, and as Heather pointed out, also had the advantage of getting it over with early and then we could relax and enjoy the rest of the AGM, and wouldn’t have to miss anything. We were also really pleased that the organizers seemed to catch the idea that we wanted to have some fun with it and be entertaining. Continue reading

2010 JASNA AGM Report: Mystery, Mayhem and Muslin in Portland


We received a lot of surprised comments about “Aren’t you liveblogging this?” during the AGM. If we hadn’t had a presentation to prepare for, and lots of friends and correspondents to hang out with, there might have been time and energy for such things! This AGM passed more in a rush than usual, and it really was a constant stream of pleasure and enjoyment. Many thanks to the hard-working Portland AGM organizers and volunteers, who were all lovely and welcoming and truly dedicated to showing everyone their beautiful hometown as well as a good time–and that’s what it’s all about. Continue reading

Preparing for Portland


We’re off to the airport in a few hours to travel to Portland, OR for the JASNA Annual General Meeting. This year’s theme is “Jane Austen and the Abbey: Mystery, Mayhem and Muslin in Portland,” so you know the Editrix is looking forward to it, like Lydia Bennet sighing over a whole weekend of Henry Tilney! We hope to see some AustenBlog readers–do say hi if you see us! And do stop by the Team Tilney Explains It All presentation on Friday at 10 a.m.–the Editrix and West Coast Bureau Correspondent Heather L., along with Tilneyfan Kelley B. and Lynn Marie Macy, the playwright of a delightful adaptation of Northanger Abbey, will be exploding the myths about Henry Tilney and explaining why he rules, and that cranky dude drools.

The Oregonian had a good-natured, mildly snarky article about the Janeites descending on an unwary Portland. We are pretty well-behaved for the most part, so there should be no regrets about this event. 😉