- Oxford English Dictionary
- Pamphlet of #1 Royal Crescent Bath Museum
- What Matters in Jane Austen by John Mullan
- England’s Thousand Best Houses by Simon Jenkins
- Austen Country by Tom Howard
- The Touring Book of Britain
- A Frivolous Distinction by Penelope Byrde
- A Dance with Jane Austen by Susannah Fullerton
- All Things Austen Vol. 1 by Kirstin Olsen
- Jane Austen by Brian Wilks
- Jane Austen’s Town and Country Style by Susan Watkins
- Jane Austen’s Letters edited by Deirdre Le Faye
Here are the sources for the Bath presentation by Margaret Harshbarger for our January 10, 2016, reading group meeting and discussion:
Our first meeting of the year will be held at Alexandra Guerra's house on Sunday January 10, 2016. The topic will be the Pleasures and Dangers of Bath, presented by Margaret Harshbarger. Hope to see you there!
~ Margaret Christmann, Regional Coordinator
The theme for the upcoming reading discussion group, which will take place on November 8, is "Jane Austen's Comments to Women." Pauline Beard and Deb Rossi will be our discussion leaders, and below is information that Pauline would like us to read before our meeting on November 8.
~ A woman especially if she has the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can. ~
The tiny book Jane Austen Speaks to Women (Edith Lank, 2000) that inspired this month’s readings contains many quotations from the novels and letters of Jane Austen, sometimes advice as above, so Deb and I wondered what other “advice” books were in vogue during Austen’s time.
What was Austen reading when she writes the above? What inspired the spirited reply of Elizabeth to Mr. Collins’ proposal: “Do not consider me now as an elegant female intending to plague you, but as a rational creature speaking the truth from her heart” (Chapter 19). Various commentators have pointed out the echo from Mary Wollstonecraft’s: A Vindication of the Rights of Women Chapter 5: “ Speak to them the language of truth and soberness, and away with the lullaby strains of condescending endearment! Let them be taught to respect themselves as rational creatures, and not led to have a passion for their own insipid persons” (emphasis added). Thus Deb and I thought it would be interesting to look at the Vindication (only pieces from Chapter Five and Ten you’ll be glad to hear) to find other resonances with Austen’s lines about women…. Then after reading Susan Ford’s insightful essay on Fordyce’s Sermons (see Lydia’s reaction to Mr. Collins choosing that edifying treatise… end of Chapter 24…), we asked ourselves:
**“What do these works and Austen speaking to women mean for men and women in the 21st century?” **
Attached are Chapters 5 and 10 from Wollstonecraft [scroll down to view or download in PDF format], and here is the link to Susan Allen’s essay: http://www.jasna.org/persuasions/on-line/vol34no1/ford.html, and then some prompts to aid in our discussion that we hope to arrange first in small groups then coming back to the large group… a system that has worked very well in the past.
Some points to ponder (as much or as little depending on time of course).
1) Answer the question above. **
2) Within the small discussion group (we will divide up the large group as smoothly as possible), you will be asked for two quotations from Austen’s works or the letters to aid in the discussion focusing on categories such as Marriage. Money. Old Age. Courtship. Mothers… these categories might help focus the discussion. You won’t know the category assigned to your group until the very moment… just to keep things exciting!
Finally, read the 1950s so-called advice sheet (a fake?) and see how far men and women have come… or not! http://www.snopes.com/history/document/goodwife.asp. For fun, check back to Wollstonecraft’s last paragraph in Chapter 5 in response to Dr. Fordyce…
Deb and I look forward to the discussion! Sunday November 8.
Our November meeting will be held on Sunday, November 8, at 1:00 pm at the Hillsboro Main Library. Please R.S.V.P. to host Marva and let her know if you can bring a treat. Contact us if you need to get in touch with the host.
The reading group theme for November 8 will be "Jane Austen’s Comments to Women," and we will also be selecting themes for the 2016 reading group meetings.
At our September meeting, Pat Fulbright shared news that Mary Cammann, a longtime member of our regional chapter, donated back issues of Persuasions, JASNA's annual peer-reviewed journal, for members to enjoy. Some of the older issues look more like newsletters!
So that all members can enjoy the archives, members are encouraged to share and borrow issues at regional meetings and events. So be on the lookout at the next meeting to borrow (or bring back?) a past copy of Persuasions -- and enjoy a trip down Jane Austen memory lane!
Deborah Eley referenced several sources during her presentation about "women's work" during Jane Austen's time, at last weekend's reading group discussion event. Below are the titles and links to the sources she used.
Hello JASNA members,
A reminder that our next Reading group meeting is coming up on Sunday, September 13th, at 1:00 PM. As I said in a previous email, our meeting venue has been changed, as Stephanie Vardavos is not able to host. Instead, Arnie Perlstein has graciously agreed to step in and host.
Please call or email your RSVP and let Arnie know if you will be bringing something for the table. We will be meeting in his garden if the weather is fine. We will hold elections for our next Regional Coordinator first (the only nominee so far is Margaret Christmann) and then discuss "Living in Jane Austen's World" led by Debbie Eley and Margaret Christmann.
See my email for specific contact info and directions.
Regional Coordinator of the Jane Austen Society of North America,
Oregon/ SW Washington Region
The Set Up:
As a romance writer, I thought it would be fun to write a letter to Emma Woodhouse asking her for advice with my novel since she is a matchmaker with a very fanciful imagination. My novel is a paranormal contemporary time travel romance back into Regency England. One of the challenges was making it understood by Emma so that she could assist me. Here is the letter I crafted.
My Dear Emma,
I have long admired your expertise in matchmaking. As your dear friend at Donwell Abbey, you confided to me your matchmaking schemes before your marriage to Mr. Knightly. I am astonished at your cleverness. You boasted to me of your matchmaking skills and that they are a matter of joy to you. I realize that you are naturally gifted in conjuring love matches. A true imaginist as the novelist, Jane Austen, would say. You have orchestrated so many of them beginning with the marriage of your former governess, Miss Taylor to Mr. Weston.
I know that your matchmaking is more than fortune telling or a lucky guess. Perhaps you can divulge your talent. When we sat together after the picnic at Box Hill, I was overcome by your excellent matchmaking plans. Now I am burning with impatience to know the secrets to your success. You see, I have fancied myself writing a novel. Remember how fun it was discussing the adventures of Evelina by the author, Miss Burney? How our hearts pounded in terror at The Mysteries of Udolpho by Mrs. Radcliffe!
With high spirits, I have begun my own matchmaking novel with Gothic overtones, but alas, I am vexed at my efforts and require your assistance. You have excellent tastes! And a most romantic imagination! My heroine, Serena, has such a sweet countenance but she is also an ambitious bluestocking. What virtues shall I give her? My hero, Myles, is a bewitching bachelor. A handsome man but a bit of rake. What manners shall I give him?
During the high point of my tale, my characters attend a masquerade ball with haunting music where gossip is the game and calling cards the prize. During a lull in the dancing, Serena escapes to the library and becomes lost in the great castle. Myles finds her whereupon they are chased through the dark passages by villainous apparitions.
Although my hero and heroine have sensible feelings towards each other, I need them to develop a tenderness for each other and reach a finer understanding so that they may have their own happy ending and be united in wedlock. You are skilled with observing every look and word which betrays the heart. What contrivances shall I use for them to cherish a most tender affection for each other?
Help me to imagine their courtship. Where should the marriage proposal take place? Should it be prefaced by a letter or a poem? Or, foreshadowed by a charade or some other word play? What clues shall I provide for my characters to discover a delicacy of feeling?
Should the engagement be long or short? What about the wedding? Should it be a fashionable one during the morning in a church? Or, a very private one at night, perhaps in a drawing room by means of a special license? Or, a country wedding? Or perhaps something scandalous, like an elopement to Gretna Green?
I beg of you, please, be sincere with me. Persuade me of the right way to fasten an arrangement of the heart. I await your quick discernment.
Miss Vonnie Alto
The next reading group discussion and meeting is scheduled for September 13. Please note that the host and location for the September meeting has been changed. Arnie Perlstein will be hosting the meeting at his home in NE Portland, and look for detailed directions to the next meeting in an email to members early next month.
Also note that we will be holding an election for a new Regional Coordinator at the September meeting, as well as conducting a business meeting afterwards with the board and RC-elect.
In the meantime, our discussion leaders for the September meeting, Debbie Eley & Margaret Christmann, have sent along some suggestions for the upcoming reading group discussion:
The September presentation and discussion will relate to the AGM theme: "Living in Jane Austen's World". Topics for discussion will cover "women's work" and looking for "hidden" clues about current events of the time that can be found in her novels.
We suggest reading a Jane Austen novel of your choice or an article in Persuasions or Regency World. There also books that inform you about every day life during the Georgian Times. The discussion will include questions and your examples that you found in your reading choice.
Margaret and Debbie
This is the next in the series of posting letters that members wrote and shared during the most recent reading group. The reading group theme was to write letters to or by the Jane Austen character of their choice.
Enjoy, and please check out the rest of the letters!
Welcome to the web site of the Oregon & SW Washington Region of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA). We are a friendly and active group dedicated to the appreciation of Jane Austen's life and works.