You can read more about the AGM in Montreal here at http://www.jasna.org/agms/montreal/index.html.
More photos! Please enjoy the slideshow photo gallery below from the JASNA AGM in Montreal. Over a dozen members from the ORSWWA region were able to attend the JASNA AGM in Montreal, and they had a great time!
You can read more about the AGM in Montreal here at http://www.jasna.org/agms/montreal/index.html.
If you would like to contribute more photos, please contact Jennifer Snoek-Brown, the region's web manager, directly.
The 200th anniversary audiobook edition of Pride and Prejudice, narrated by Alison Larkin, has become an international bestseller and is also nominated for an Audie award.
Visit this link at http://alisonlarkin.com/pride-and-prejudice/ for an audio sample, reviews, and more.
You can also sign up for news and updates about the upcoming audiobook version of Emma, also narrated by Alison Larkin.
Our own Pauline Beard has reviewed Longbourn by Jo Baker, which was the topic of discussion at our reading group meeting in January 2014. The following review was also recently published in the latest edition of JASNA News, the national society's newsletter.
Longbourn. A Novel
By Jo Baker.
Alfred A Knopf, 2013. 332 pages.
Jo Baker’s Longbourn. A Novel retelling Pride and Prejudice from the servants’ perspective is more than an Austen spinoff. The Longbourn maidservant Sarah’s consciousness shifts how most Austen lovers have enjoyed Pride and Prejudice. The characters loved, loathed and sometimes scorned take on different perspectives. Sarah scrubbing Elizabeth’s boots “all stuck and clabbered with mud. Elizabeth’s were always the worst” (183), gives a new insight. Like Darcy, readers admire how Elizabeth walks though muddy fields, but never think (nor do the Bennets) who cleans the petticoats and boots. Mr. Collins, still unctuous, sees and is kind to the servants. To other characters in the novel, Sarah feels invisible, “a ghost –girl who can make things move, but cannot herself be seen” (198). Mrs. Hill’s perspective shows the young Mrs. Bennet whose five births (and one miscarriage in the fascinating back story) make her vulnerable.
Empathy is the main difference between Baker’s novel and Austen’s. Mrs. Hill worries what will happen to the two serving maids when Elizabeth and Jane marry and leave Longbourn. The servants’ narrative is now more important than the ruling family. The latter provides merely a background (a meta-fiction, like John Gardner’s Grendel), with Mr. Bennet drinking Madeira in his study while his daughters whirl noisily about, leaving their petticoats and chamber pots to be taken care of. As if to answer the Austen’s critics for not referencing the Napoleonic Wars, Baker focuses more on the militia. Wickham is a swaggering soldier; Denny and Carter are just as foolish, and surprisingly the very minor character Chamberlayne plays not only a significant part but pushes the theme of empathy.
Chamberlayne’s role demonstrates one of Jo Baker’s strategies, which according to Baker’s agent, Clare Alexander, is “analogous to that of the plays Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and Hamlet—the servants are a jumping-off point for the tale, and then become characters in their own right “. Austen mentions the Bennet footman once: “Mrs. Bennet was prevented from replying by the entrance of the footman with a note for Miss Bennet” (30 emphasis mine). The heading of Baker’s novel --each chapter bears a quotation from Austen’s novel, except the war chapters-- when James’ role begins—states “… the entrance of the footman” (Baker 21). Hence the creative leap of James (the footman) observing Chamberlayne tricked out in a lady’s gown”(199-200). Lydia then asks James: “Did you see? …Did you see Chamberlayne?”(200). Austen gives Lydia’s breathless recounting of all the fun during their sisters’ absence: “We dressed up Chamberlayne in woman’s clothes…Lord! How I laughed! “ (Vol. 11.Chapter Sixteen 221). Baker’s Chamberlayne demonstrates the Bennet girls’ foolishness and the irresponsibility of the militia whom James (a seasoned soldier) sees merely playing at war.
The empathy theme features once more with Chamberlayn. Ending Chapter X11 Vol 1. Austen includes a minute detail: “several of the officers had dined lately with their uncle, a private had been flogged” (emphasis mine). No one reacts to the news, but in Longbourn, Sarah witnesses the private’s flogging, and one of the soldiers watching the 20 lashes and looking queasy is Chamberlayne (78) who does nothing. Sarah however, horrified, says, “she should go back, put herself between [the private] and the pain; they would have to stop” (79). Later, fifty lashes figure into the narrative, recalling Chamberlayne and the clever overlapping of James’ life with the Bennets.
Reading reflexively, Baker’s readers forge connections. Chamberlayne, or images like James’ seashells (64,149, 253), or words like “practical” (292, 299, 301) combine James’ experiences in the Peninsular War with his life at Longbourn. Reflexive reading and metafiction make Baker’s book remarkable. The book that Elizabeth loans Sarah pre-Pemberley days, Richardson’s Pamela is significant. Fielding’s novel Tom Jones has certain echoes in one of the back-stories, and the name Bennet is thought to come from Tom Lefroy’s favorite novel, Tom Jones. Jane Eyre also comes to mind, first when Sarah looks longingly out side Pemberley to the expanse of sky (313) reminiscent of Jane Eyre ‘s looking beyond Thornfield’s confines, and then trudging through the moors. Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ pursuit of exhausting jobs is another echo. Elizabeth Darcy has no concept of what it must be like to lead these girls’ lives. When Sarah tells her mistress she is leaving, Elizabeth’s questions are telling: ”Where will you go Sarah? What can a woman do, all on her own… and unsupported…?” Sarah replies ”Work…. I can always work” (312).
The hard labor and empathy theme develop from Baker’s own background, whose family a few generations back was in service. She would never have attended the ball but be “stuck at home with the sewing”. Educated at Oxford and Queen’s Belfast, Baker captures both upstairs and downstairs. The fun of words like “gallinies” and “lubber fiend” is unmatched in any Austen spin-off, and Longbourn has been translated into eight languages, with six figure film rights. Hearing this, Baker,“went off and planted a hedge just to keep herself grounded”. To misquote Mr.Knightley “Nicely done Jo, Nicely done”.
Pauline Beard, Professor Emerita of English at Pacific University Oregon, is currently working on a book of her experiences teaching Jane Austen.
A very fun article and photo about how the recent Jane Austen Festival in Bath has broken the world record for the largest gathering of people dressed in Regency costume.
Follow the link to read how many people it took to break the world record -- and who had held the previous world record! :)
A member of our region has given us permission to share her poem. Thank you, Elizabeth!
Ode to Jane Austen
Teacups with fine handles, round saucers, mix matched
stacked by the Earl Grey and square cubes of white crystal sugar,
tinkling as they touch.
At ivory tablecloth covered tables, ladies in dresses delicately
wipe biscuit crumbs from lips, napkins on laps, set gently.
Copies of Persuasion and Sense & Sensibility
our companions, pages worn at the edges.
Travelers, we are by your words written
on quiet mornings, fog hugging dew adorned fields
of grass and possibility, the fire crackling behind
you as you gaze towards day, towards the sun
slowly grazing the tops of the sleeping trees.
Listen to the whispers in your mind,
write, write, write,
give heroines their voices, your quill poised
in your hand, inked letters drying into permanence.
~ Elizabeth Moscoso, 25 May 2014
Pauline Beard will be hosting our Reading Group meeting on Sunday, September 14, at 1:00 pm. Debbie Eley and Margaret Christmann will lead us in a discussion of Mansfield Park: Secrets and Lies. Please RSVP to Pauline as soon as possible, and let her know if you will be bringing something for the table (see our Contacts page).
Also, we will be selecting discussion topics this month instead of in November. Please bring your ideas!
Don't forget that carpool rides are available, as detailed on our Carpooling page. Just let us know if you need a ride to the Reading Group.
~ Kim Higgins
Regional Coordinator of the Jane Austen Society of North America, Oregon/ SW Washington Region
You might have already heard the news, but just in case, here's a quick update to let you know that we're now on Facebook! Click the image below or go straight to our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/JASNAOregonandSWWashington. We also have a new Facebook icon on the top of this home page's righthand column, which will also take you straight to our region's Facebook page.
So how can you keep up with the updates on our region's Facebook page? If you have a Facebook account of your own, then just click the "Like" button at the top of the JASNA Oregon and SW Washington Facebook page (you can see it in the image above). You can also click the drop-down arrow beside the "Like" button and choose the "Get Notifications" option. This way, you will automatically get our region's updates in your personal Facebook news feed.
Also, all the updates on the home page of the region's website will automatically be posted to our Facebook page, so you can save time getting all your Jane Austen news and updates! :)
Our Regional Coordinator, Kim Higgins, is asking for our vote! One more day to vote (ending on July 31) on whether to have one or two events next year. Only members are able to vote, via email to
A new title of close readings of Jane Austen's novels was published last month, The Hidden Jane Austen by John Wiltshire. It promises to be an interesting read, if any of our members are interested in delving into deeper psychological explorations of Austen's characters.
Through a series of compelling close readings of key passages in each novel, Wiltshire underscores Austen's unique ability to penetrate the hidden inner motives and impulses of her characters, and reveals some of the secrets of her narrative art.
There are also some special reader features on the Cambridge University Press website, including a book trailer and a free preview of the introduction and first chapter!
Dear Janeites, I just received this announcement and thought that most of you would be interested. We will be receiving copies of the novel to raffle off at an upcoming Reading Group meeting!
~ Kim Higgins, Regional Coordinator of the JASNA Oregon/ SW Washington Region
DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY -- Sundays, October 26-November 2, 2014, 9:00 pm ET on MASTERPIECE/PBS
Matthew Rhys (The Americans, Brothers and Sisters), and Anna Maxwell Martin (Bleak House, The Bletchley Circle), star in an adaptation of P.D. James’ witty and inventive continuation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. As preparations are being made for a ball at Elizabeth and Darcy's Pemberley home, the discovery of a corpse brings an abrupt and shocking halt to the proceedings — and a threat to all that the Darcys hold dear.
Today's exclusive to Entertainment Weekly includes a trailer: http://insidetv.ew.com/2014/07/03/matthew-rhys-death-comes-to-pemberley-first-look/?hootPostID=68e5c5688e344552709b66690ef04d42