JASNA Virtual AGM Registration Open


As we were very much looking forward to going to Cleveland in October for the JASNA Annual General Meeting, we were sad when it was canceled*, though we agree with the decision and feel it was the responsible thing to do. However, we (by which I mean all JASNA members, not using the royal we in this case) will still be able to enjoy an AGM this year, virtually!

The theme remains the same: Jane Austen’s Juvenilia: Reason, Romanticism, and Revolution. There will be plenary sessions, breakout sessions, special events, special interest sessions, even a virtual promenade.

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Lizzy is Delightful


Here are two videos promoting the upcoming Jane Austen Day in Philadelphia next April. More details to come…right now you are just to be teazed by Miss Elizabeth Bennet. After all, “We can all plague and punish one another.”

Look for more videos featuring the Delightful Creature to come!

Claudia Johnson to Speak at JASNA Meeting in Philadelphia


Claudia Johnson, author of Jane Austen: Women, Politics, and the Novel and well-known Austen scholar, will be speaking at a JASNA regional meeting on Sunday, June 5, at the Sheraton Society Hill Hotel in Philadelphia (the site of the 2009 JASNA AGM). This event is open to the public–you do not need to be a member of JASNA to attend. See the region website for more information and to register. (Registration is due by May 31, so make haste!)

We do not normally post individual JASNA regional meetings, because the JASNA website is already an excellent resource to find such meetings, and most of the regions do a pretty good job promoting their gatherings to their members; however, this particular event is a pretty good one, and it’s open to the public, so if you’re in the area and would like to attend, we would love to see you.

If you’re not in the Philadelphia area, check out other JASNA events that might be coming up in your area!

Friday Bookblogging: Some Things Never Change Edition


For all of our Gentle Readers who have perhaps gorged themselves of late on sweet Jane-esque trifles and are starting to crave more substantial fare, we have a couple of links for your reading pleasure this weekend.

The Times Literary Supplement reprints E.M. Forster’s 1932 review of R.W. Chapman’s edition of Jane Austen’s letters, and even when we don’t really agree with Forster, it’s still a real treat to read.

Miss Austen had no idea of what awaited Jane Austen. Within certain limits she could perhaps forecast her contemporary’s future; she must have known that the novels would remain before the public for some years, and she would not have been surprised by the tributes of the Austen Leighs and of Lord Brabourne, for they were relatives, and might be expected to do what they could for an aunt. But that the affair should go farther, that it should reach the twentieth century and reach it in such proportions — of that she could have had no premonition.

The same thing could be written now (and has been, though not nearly so elegantly).

The tact and good temper of the editing are as admirable as its learning. Naturally when one invests in a concern one comes to value it, and Mr. Chapman is not exempt from this sensible rule. He has contended with the subject manfully, like St. Paul at Ephesus; and would he have done so if it was not worth while? He puts his plea endearingly, he does not thrust his struggle down our throats, and he leads us with just the right combination of honesty and circumspection past a very dubious spot in the rectory garden. What’s wrong in the garden? The drainage? No. The novels are good—of that there is no doubt, and they are so good that everything connected with the novelist and everything she wrote ought certainly to be published and annotated. Of that, too, there is no doubt, and this elaborate edition is thoroughly justified. But—and here comes the dubious spot —are the letters themselves good? Very reluctantly, and in spite of Mr. Chapman’s quiet instigations to the contrary, one must answer ” No.”

We do not agree, of course, but cannot help but admire, as one admires something beautiful and dangerous. Just go read it before we copy and paste the whole bally thing. (This is the infamous “whinneying of harpies” review, incidentally.)

JASNA has posted the text of Persuasions No. 9, dated 1987 and long out of print. The issue contains papers on Lady Susan and the juvenilia from the New York AGM. Do be sure to check out Mary Hardenbrook’s piece, “Gunfight at the Combe Magna Corral“:

All manner of thoughts run through his mind, as he faces Cool-Hand Brandon, the fastest gun in West Sussex. He thinks of high-tailing it back to the Allenham Corral, but Mrs. Calamity Smith is waiting for him there too, and he would face anything rather than her wrath. He thinks of his treasured Sophia, and a song runs through his head, again and again and again: “Do not forsake me …”

Hee. We look forward to reading all the essays! That’s it for this week’s Friday Bookblogging, Gentle Readers, and always remember: Books Are Nice!

Take the Austen-Byron Quiz


Author and JASNA member Joan Ellen Delman (who has been known to comment here at AustenBlog upon occasion) has written a quiz with quotations from Lord Byron and Jane Austen–see if you can tell which are which! The answers will be posted on the JASNA site later this summer.

Persuading Emma


The Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) has posted a preview of the next edition of its annual journal, Persuasions, which will be sent to JASNA members in May or June. As usual, the journal features essays from the latest Annual General Meeting, which this past year had the theme “Discovering Emma in Vancouver,” and as usual was a great long weekend packed with information and fun. We find that between the pre-AGM preparation of re-reading the novel, the weekend of presentations and discussions, and then reading the essays a few months later, we truly gain new insights into these novels that we’ve enjoyed so many times before.

It’s not too late to get your copy of Persuasions; if you join JASNA by May 1, you’ll receive Persuasions No. 29, the spring issue of JASNA News, and get an early opportunity to register for this year’s AGM, to be held in Chicago.

While you’re waiting for your copy of Persuasions to arrive, check out the latest issue of Persuasions On-Line, which also has several essays from the AGM and a great selection of “Miscellany” articles as well! You can also check out back issues of POL as well as the full text of several out of print editions of Persuasions. We can’t encourage our readers strongly enough to check them out.

The Austenpalooza is nearly upon us


Some might say the Austengeddon, but they are clearly glass-half-empty types. 😉 Though we are less than thrilled with many of the adaptations being broadcast, no matter how you look at it, Masterpiece Theatre Classics’ presentation of “The Complete Jane Austen” will bring a lot of attention to our favorite author, which is never a completely bad thing. We think. We hope. 🙂

Entertainment Today has a preview with a schedule and information about each film in the series. Also there’s a new photo from Miss Austen Regrets.

So what has brought about the Renaissance for the 42-year-old English novelist who died in 1817? Maybe because she was very smart, very strong, and knew how to tell a good story. Some folks say what she wrote was like Sex and the City in the 18th century.

None of those folks would be associated with this blog, we believe.

Miss Austen Regrets (airs Feb. 3) is a film biography starring Olivia Williams. It dramatizes Jane Austen’s lost loves and reveals that the authoress wrote from personal experience. It explores how she played the courtship game, and how the “happily ever after” eluded her.

Oh please, Jane, no. Please no. *sticks fingers in ears, sings “la la la la la, we can’t hearrrrrrrrrr youuuuuuu!”*

Denial is not just a river in Egypt, you know.

PBS is positioning the series with educators, and has produced a Teacher’s Guide that might also be available to the non-teachers among us, and also has featured the series on its PBS Teachers website. (Thanks to Alert Janeite Diane for the link.) For the many students, both high school and university, who read AustenBlog, we would like to take this opportunity to remind you of JASNA’s 2008 essay contest, which incorporates the four new adaptations in the series, and has some pretty nice prizes, including free registration and two nights’ lodging for the 2008 JASNA AGM in Chicago.