Jane Austen’s Regency World Magazine ~ Time to Subscribe!

The latest issue of Jane Austen’s Regency World [vol. 41] will be in the post this week ~ now is your chance to subscribe and begin adding this great journal to your Austen collection!  Some highlights from the latest issue:


  • The first OFFICIAL pictures of the BBC’s new Emma
  • Right Royal satire: Lord Baker’s collection of Georgian caricatures
  • Pride and pilgrimage: visiting Austen sites
  • Would Jane blog? How Jane’s journals differ from today’s blogs
  • The stigma of illegitimacy in Regency times
  • Genius, wit and taste in Austen’s writing

You can subscribe to Jane Austen’s Regency World, “the full-colour, must-read, glossy magazine for fans of the world’s favourite author – delivered to your doorstep every two months direct from Bath, England,” by visiting the website at Jane Austen Magazine.co.uk and clicking on “Subscriptions”.  Cost is £29.70 + shipping – you can pay securely online using a credit card or PayPal.  Back issues are also available for purchase. Treat yourself ~ it is well-worth it!

[Posted by Deb]

Persuasions No. 1 ~ Now Online!

JASNA.org has added online** the full text of the Number 1 Persuasions journal that has long been out-of-print:

persuasions no 1 cover

Persuasion*  No. 1.  December 16, 1979 

Board of Directors
President’s Report 
Brief highlights of the meeting 
St. Nicholas Appeal      -George H. Tucker
Our First Dinner   – Lorraine Hanaway
Pemberley Revisited     -Donald Greene
The Picturesque in Pride and Prejudice   – A. Walton Litz
A Member’s First Pilgrimage to Winchester   – Hilma D. Barrett
Some notes on the “parish business” in Emma    -Cathy Fried
Telegram from the Jane Austen Society 
Letter from James T. Farrell 
Quiz Angela Addison
Meeting aboard the Elizabeth Bennet

* The first issue was titled “Persuasion” – it was decided to change the name to Persuasions for subsequent issues

**[Many thanks go to Montreal member Renée Charron (Treasurer, Canada), who scanned and corrected the full text of Persuasion No. 1, as she also did for the other eleven out-of-print issues of Persuasions.]

Drawing from the cover of Persuasion No. 1
by Pamela Susan Koppel, age 15, of Tucson, Arizona

[Posted by Deb]

For Better, For Worse


A compendium of Austen characters, relatives, friends and neighbors highlight Hazel Jones’ look into the subject of Jane Austen & Marriage. As the book proceeds through the steps of acquaintance, engagement, marriage, and even separation, Jones fleshes out the interaction between man and woman in nineteenth-century Britain. Illustrative excerpts from the novels and primary research sources provide a well-rounded, informative basis for her walk up the garden path and down the aisle.

Examining, chapter by chapter, components of relationships, the book begins with “Choice.” We learn that both sexes could, in fact, choose to opt out of the game. Concerns over continual childbearing and the risk of death, some women made the choice to remain single. Due in part to the shortage of men on the homefront (thanks to the Napoleonic Wars), others found the choice made for them. Men in a position to marry, on the other hand, sometimes thought about their incomes and the demands a growing family would make upon it before contemplating marriage. Therefore, the idea of choice concerns much more than the selection of a life-partner.

Jones’ next chapter brings up the point of how “the question” might actually be popped: in person, via letter, via an intermediary. Sadly, she finds little — in conduct literature or letters — to indicate the “traditional” down on bended knee type of proposal. Few readers will have delved into letters and diaries from this period; the timid suitors who chose the letter/intermediary route might therefore come as a pleasant surprise.

Discussions of conduct books point up the idea that such items existed because no one conducted themselves as they “ought” to have done. By looking at the paramount examples valued by these conduct books and juxtaposing them with the reality of relationships recorded in letters, diaries, and biographies, readers realize just how much Austen’s novels were signs of their times.

Two minor points that the writer and/or editor should have attended to are the spellings of Longbourne and Lizzie in place of the standard Longbourn and Lizzy. The fault may lie with Jones’  use of the Penguin edition of Austen novels.

Jane Austen & Marriage may supply few totally new revelations, but as a compendium of love, courtship, and marriage in Austen’s era (as well as family), Jones has provided a particularly useful book. Readers will welcome the author’s friendly style of writing as well as her insight into women like Lydia Bennet, Anne Elliot, and Marianne Dashwood. Highly recommended.

Four full inkwells.

 (for more on this book, see Two Teens in the Time of Austen, my research blog)

Interview with Lane Ashfeldt ~ Author of ‘Snowmelt’ from the Dancing with Mr. Darcy Short Story Anthology

Lane Ashfeldt
Lane Ashfeldt


Please join me in welcoming author Lane Ashfeldt to our JASNA-Vermont blog today!   Ms. Ashfeldt is the author of one of the selected stories in the 2009 Chawton House Library Jane Austen Short Story competition, set to appear in the forthcoming collection Dancing with Mr. Darcy, to be published in October by Honno Press.  [See below for link to my previous post on this].  Her story is titled “Snowmelt” and she tells us about it here:

 Lane, what was the inspiration for your own story? 

My story, ‘Snowmelt’, has an obvious parallel with Austen’s life in that it’s about woman who moves to Chawton to write. My main inspiration came from a visit to Chawton House Library one bright snowy day in February 2009, after an unusually heavy snowfall across England. We don’t often see much snow in south east England, and the snow worked its way into my story — even providing a title.

Chawton House Library

Chawton House Library

 Sounds interesting. Can you tell me a little more? 

The central character in ‘Snowmelt’, Miss Campbell, works in a suburban library which is undergoing radical modernisation. Potentially, this is the end of the library as she knows it. Miss Campbell’s own life is reaching its autumn years, and she also suffers a more general “end of the world” malaise triggered by reports of extreme weather and by fears of a viral plague. (Coincidentally, I wrote the story in early 2009, a month or two before the international swine flu epidemic.) 

Oh! I can imagine that must have felt a bit strange! 

Well, I might have felt awkward if the swine flu epidemic had happened while I was still writing, but in fact my story had been completed before then.  My interest as a writer was in how we manage — or don’t manage — fears like the fear of dying in a pandemic, or fear of terrorism, fear of change. This is what I wanted to explore in ‘Snowmelt’. 

In the story, Miss Campbell visits Chawton House Library and reads a novel written nearly two centuries earlier in which a plague causes the end of the world. This sets her own fears in context and makes them seem faintly ridiculous. People often fear the end of the world; this does not mean it is imminently about to happen. And even if it is, panicking is unlikely to help. At any event, Miss Campbell makes an uncharacteristically upbeat and impulsive decision to quit her job and move to Chawton, where she will work as a library volunteer at Chawton House Library and write in her free time. We leave her as she’s on the train, on the way to her new life. 

How much, if any, of your story was autobiographical?

 I have to admit, my own visit to Chawton while writing ‘Snowmelt’ was so enjoyable that for a while I toyed with the notion of moving there, but without actually taking a moment to peer in estate agent windows — I didn’t have time. On a later visit, the day of the award presentation, I learned from author Lindsay Ashford that one of the reasons Jane Austen chose to live at Chawton was that her house there was a short walk from the shops. This struck a chord with me, as I’d been thinking the exact same thing myself! But sadly there’s no danger of a family member bequeathing me a stately home in the area, as happened to Jane Austen’s brother, thus affording her a place to live in Chawton. 

It’s an interesting question, though. Curiously, when I attended the award ceremony at Chawton, two of the judges who had read my story thoughtfully advised me that there was an imminent vacancy for a librarian at Chawton House Library. We had a chuckle as I confessed that, unlike the character in my story, I am not a trained librarian. I was flattered though, since it suggested they found ‘Snowmelt’ believable — it’s always nice to be told when you’ve written a convincing piece of fiction. 

This short story award is a new prize for stories inspired by Jane Austen and themes in her writing, or by the Chawton House Library.  Do you have any advice for other writers thinking of entering in future years? 

There’s talk that the competition may run again in 2011. If anyone is thinking of entering a story for the next Jane Austen Short Story award, and if you are not too far away, then a visit to Chawton is very much recommended. Chawton House Library’s ongoing programme of public events are listed on its website (as are events at the nearby Jane Austen House Museum which is managed as a separate concern). 

lane ahsfeldt chawton


Partly because judge Sarah Waters is known for her historical fiction, my guess was, the winning stories would have historical settings. But it doesn’t sound as though ‘Snowmelt’ does… 

I do like historical fiction — in fact I previously won the Fish Short Histories Prize — but this particular story has a contemporary setting. That said, a consciousness of history runs through it, perhaps because Chawton is one of those areas that seems to catapult the visitor back in time.  In ‘Snowmelt’, as Miss Campbell develops a stronger sense of history and of how she is connected to it, this becomes a crucial trigger of change for her.

What about the other winning stories, I wonder? 

I don’t yet know what proportion of the stories submitted were historical as I’ve not read them, but Sarah Waters said as she presented the prizes that over half the stories she selected for the anthology are contemporary. 

Well, I very much look forward to getting a copy of the book to read “Snowmelt” and all the other stories!  Lane, thank you so much for joining us today and sharing a bit about your story and your visit to Chawton. 

Thank you, Deb; it was very nice of you to invite me!


Lane has graciously offered to answer any of your questions – so please leave a comment on this post and I will see that she responds to them here. 

For further information: 

book cover dancing mr darcy

Posted by Deb

Holy Austen, Batman! Pride & Prejudice #5

Get thee hence to your local comic book store tomorrow [August 12, 2009], as the fifth and final issue of the Marvel Comics Pride & Prejudice is released:

marvel P&P 5

COVER BY: Sonny Liew
WRITER: Nancy Butler
PENCILS: Hugo Petrus
INKS: Hugo Petrus
COLORED BY: Aubrey Sitterson
LETTERED BY: Dave Sharpe 

THE STORY:  All good things come to an end. Join us for our final issue, as we find who weds whom, who is left alone, and if Mrs. Bennet can manage to stop screaming for more than three minutes… Rated T …$3.99

IN STORES: August 12, 2009


Also note that there will be a hardcover edition containing all five issues – to be published in October and available now for pre-order.  You can view information at the Marvel Comics website, but check your local comic book store for ordering details. [I have to add here that my local comic book store, Earth Prime Comics, has been the most helpful and accommodating retail store of any I have patronized in a long time! – I might even return to my early years as an avid Superman / Batman comics reader just to continue to visit them – or maybe even find a graphic novel or two!]

[Posted by Deb]

JASNA-Vermont & JASNA-Massachusetts 2009-2010 Schedule

JASNA ~ Vermont

Upcoming events ~ 2009 – 2010 

Banner 30 x 48

Sunday, September 27, 2009  2-5pm 

“Jane Austen for Smarties”

Professor Joan Klingel Ray, past President of JASNA
Author of Jane Austen for Dummies

Talk and Book- signing to be followed by
A Mini-Concert with Impropriety and The Burlington Country Dancers
Place:  Hauke Center, Champlain College 

Sunday, December 6, 2009 2-5pm 

Annual Jane Austen Birthday Tea w/
UVM Professor Philip Baruth [topic TBA]
Place: Champlain College
$15./ person 

Sunday, March 21, 2010, 2-4pm 

“Learning to Love a Hyacinth: Emotional Growth in Northanger Abbey”
 Ingrid Graff, Independent Scholar
Place: Champlain College 

Sunday, June 6, 2010, 2-4pm 

Box Hill Picnic
“Austen / Adams ~ Journeys with Jane & Abigail”
JASNA-Vermont’s Kelly McDonald!
in Deb Barnum’s Garden
[ Bring-Your-Own-Picnic to celebrate Emma ]

Please join us for any and all events!

[please contact us directly through the blog if you would like more information]


I am also posting here the 2009-2010 schedule of the JASNA-Massachusetts Chapter, as many of us like to attend their events; for more information, please contact Nancy Yee at jasna [dot] yee at gmail [dot]com

JASNA Massachusetts    2009-2010 Program 

Sunday, September 13, 2009 ~ 
                                     Henderson House: Mini-Conference:
                                    “The Power of Place in Austen’s Life and Work.” 

                                                            Plenary Sessions:
                                                                        Alistair Duckworth
                                                                        Elaine Bander
                                                            Breakout Sessions:
                                                                        Marcia Folsom
                                                                        Ann Morrissey
                                                                        Isa Schaff 

                                                    Sunday, September 13, 2009
                                                    12 noon – 5 p.m.
                                                    Henderson House Conference Center
                                                    Weston, Massachusetts 

Sunday, November 15, 2009  ~  Speaker: Judith Wilt
                                                   Sunday, Nov. 15th, 2 p.m.
                                                   Wheelock College, Brookline Campus
                                                    43 Hawes Street, Brookline, MA

 Sunday, December 13, 2009  ~  Birthday Celebration
                                                     Sunday, Dec. 13th, 2 p.m.
                                                     Wheelock College, Brookline Campus
                                                      43 Hawes Street, Brookline, MA 

Sunday, March 14, 2010  ~  Speaker: John Gould
                                                    Sunday, Mar. 14th, 2 p.m.
                                                    Wheelock College, Brookline Campus
                                                     43 Hawes Street, Brookline, MA 

Sunday, May 2, 2010  ~  Speaker: Susan Allen Ford
                                                  Sunday, May 2nd, 2 p.m.
                                                  Wheelock College, Brookline Campus
                                                  43 Hawes Street, Brookline, MA


[Posted by Deb]

A Jane Austen Weekend in Vermont!

The Governor’s House in Hyde Park will be hosting another Jane Austen event next weekend on August 14-16 ~ topic is Pride & Prejudice.

governors inn

Jane Austen Weekend: Pride and Prejudice*

The Governor’s House in Hyde Park

Friday to Sunday, Aug. 14 – 16

[also the weekends of  Sept. 11 – 13, 2009 and Jan. 8 – 10, 2010]



802-888-6888, tollfree 866-800-6888 or info@OneHundredMain.com


Reservations are required!


A leisurely weekend of literary-inspired diversions has something for every Jane Austen devoteé. Slip quietly back into Regency England in a beautiful old mansion. Take afternoon tea. Listen to Mozart. Bring your needlework. Share your thoughts at a discussion of Pride and Prejudice and how the movies stand up to the book. Attend the talk entitled The World of Jane Austen. Test your knowledge of Pride and Prejudice and the Regency period and possibly take home a prize. Take a carriage ride or sleigh ride. For the gentleman there are riding and fly fishing as well as lots of more modern diversions if a whole weekend of Jane is not his cup of tea. Join every activity or simply indulge yourself quietly all weekend watching the movies. Dress in whichever century suits you. It’s not Bath, but it is Hyde Park and you’ll love Vermont circa 1800. 

Note that our very own Kelly McDonald will be speaking on 
“Georgiana Darcy and the ‘Naïve Art’ of Young Ladies”   ~ Looking into the lives of ladies like Georgiana Darcy (Pride & Prejudice), as expressed through their artwork.

mrs-hurst-review-at-dynas-hall [from “Mrs. Hurst Dancing”, illus. by Diana Sperling]

[see Kelly’s blog at Two Teens in the Time of Austen for more information on her talk…]


*Or come for just an afternoon or evening and choose from these activities:

  • Informal Talk with Coffee and Dessert, Friday, 8:00 p.m., $14.00
  • Afternoon Tea, Saturday, 3:00 p.m., $20.00
  •  Book Discussion and Dinner, Saturday, 7:00 p.m., $35.00
  •  Jane Austen Quiz and Sunday Brunch, Sunday, 11:30 a.m., $15.00
  • All four activities: $75.00

The Governor’s House in Hyde Park

100 Main St

Hyde Park, VT 05655



802-888-6888, tollfree 866-800-6888 or info@OneHundredMain.com


[Posted by Deb]

Some Thoughts on Georgette Heyer’s Heroines

The following is a guest post from one of our JASNA-Vermont members, Janeite Lynne.  After she commented on my post on Georgette Heyer’s ‘Frederica’ , Lynne and I were in touch and discovered that we both seem to be having a parallel summer of reading Heyer! – she sent along the following thoughts on Heyer’s heroines  ~ we welcome comments on YOUR favorite Heyer female lead and why ~ and thank you Lynne for sharing your thoughts!

I recently submitted a comment to Deb’s blog about Georgette Heyer’s novel Frederica.  I noted in my comment that Heyer’s plots were formulaic.    I hope that this isn’t a spoiler, but the lead male and female characters do end the novels by expressing, admitting, or realizing their love for their opposites.  The more Heyer you read, the more you see stock characters: the arrogant but honorable duke; the rake with a good heart; the headstrong heiress; the penniless relation in a noble family, etc.  Yet within these stock shells, Heyer brings out three dimensional characters.  

book cover bath tangle

I especially admire Heyer’s strong female leads.  But strong is not always the same.  Serena Spenborough in Bath Tangle is a powerful woman in the traditional sense.  She is rich, beautiful, and she travels in the highest circles of society.  The plot device of Bath Tangle involves her fortune being tied up after her father’s death until she marries.  Even when she is more financially constricted, you are never in doubt that she will always be rich, so this is one form of power.  She also refuses to follow the accepted social conventions that coddle and restrict women of her class.  She is a vigorous walker and refuses chairs in Bath.  She rides on horseback all day in pursuit of a runaway without thought to comfort or propriety.  And she cried off  from a marriage earlier in her life because she believed they would not suit without thinking about how it would affect her social standing.  Serena’s character is a good match for the male lead, the Marquis of Rotherham.  He is the man she rejected years before the novel opens, and the dialogue between them is like swordplay. 

book cover sprig muslin

Still, powerful women in Heyer come in many different packages.  Another of my favorites is Lady Hester Theale in Sprig Muslin.  She is a spinster daughter whose father describes her as insipid and without fortune or “any extraordinary degree of beauty.”  When he tells Hester that she will soon receive a proposal from the extremely eligible Sir Gareth Ludlow, he says: “ I don’t mind owning to you, Hester, that when he broke it to me that it was my permission to address you that he was after, I thought he was either foxed, or I was!” Every member of her family attempts to browbeat her into accepting his proposal, but she refuses.  She reminds me of Melville’s Bartleby in his short story Bartleby the Scrivener.   She simply chooses not to.  Hester is the anti-Serena.  She is not rich or beautiful, and she has no one to support her, yet in her own ethereal way she asserts her independence.  She will not accept a marriage of convenience, even if it would seem to offer her a better life.  She knows what it is to love, and she will not compromise.

 So while there is formula in Heyer, there is also wonderful character development and dialogue.  Best of all, she was such a prolific writer that there are many novels to escape to during this rainy summer!

[by Janeite Lynne, posted by Deb]

Jane Austen at the Pierpont Morgan Library

The Pierpont Morgan Library announces its upcoming Austen exhibit:


morgan exhibit letterA Woman’s Wit: Jane Austen’s Life and Legacy
November 6, 2009,
through March 14, 2010

[Jane Austen, Lady Susan, autograph manuscript, written ca. 1794–95 and transcribed in fair copy soon after 1805. The Morgan Library & Museum, Purchased in 1947; MA 1226.]






“This exhibition explores the life, work, and legacy of Jane Austen (1775–1817), regarded as one of the greatest English novelists. Over the past two decades, numerous successful motion picture and television adaptations of Austen’s novels have led to a resurgence of interest in her life and work. Providing a close-up portrait of Austen, this exhibition achieves tangible intimacy with the author through the presentation of her manuscripts and personal letters, which the Morgan has not exhibited in a generation.

 The Morgan’s collection of Austen’s manuscripts and letters is the largest of any institution in the world and includes the darkly satiric Lady Susan, the only surviving complete manuscript of any of Austen’s novels. The exhibition also includes first and early illustrated editions of Austen’s novels as well as contemporary drawings and prints depicting people, places, and events of biographical significance. In addition to the literary influences that inspired and informed Austen’s works will be responses by later writers as diverse as Auden, Kipling, Nabokov, Scott, Yeats, and Woolf. A specially commissioned film of interviews with contemporary authors and actors commenting on Austen’s work and influence will also be shown in the gallery.”

[See the Library website here]


The Morgan Library & Museum
225 Madison Avenue at 36th Street
New York, NY 10016

Tel: (212) 685-0008

Posted by Deb