Austenesque Vermont ~ & Other Austen Sightings…

There are a few Austen-related happenings in Vermont coming up, so mark your calendars:

 1. Take a Class:

Wednesdays, 4:05-7:05pm, January 20, 2010 – May 4, 2010
University of Vermont Continuing Education: Spring 2010

 After nearly two centuries in print, Jane Austen’s works continue to enthrall us, whether in their original form or in the numerous television and film adaptations created since 1938. This course examines the role Austen played during her own time as well as the role she continues to play within our contemporary cultural imagination by analyzing four of Austen’s novels (Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and Emma) and by viewing faithful adaptations, reinterpretations and modernizations of each novel. We begin by placing each novel within its social and historical context, by defining themes that may help explain Austen’s modern appeal, and by creating our own vision of the action and characters. We then turn to the adaptations and investigate the historical moment of production, analyze changes to script and character, and read several essays that raise questions about how prose fiction differs from film in an attempt to understand the screenwriter’s choices and our current love of anything Austen. Course requirements include lively participation, a presentation, reading quizzes, various response assignments, and a final essay.

Register today at or contact UVM Continuing Education at:  800-639-3210 or 802-656-2085
[NOTE: Vermont residents 65+ call and ask how you can enroll in this course for FREE!]

This would be great to take – but alas!  who has the time OR the money! [maybe next year…?] 


2.  Learn to Dance:

 English Country Dance Classes in Richmond, VT
Learn about and enjoy Jane Austen’s favorite social pastime!

What is English Country Dance? It’s a social dance form with roots in 15th century England and France, was extremely popular in Jane Austen’s time, and continues to be widely enjoyed today. Some of the dances are old, from the 17th and 18th centuries, and some are modern compositions, and are danced to a wide variety of beautiful music. The dance movements are easy to learn: if you can walk, you can do English Country Dancing! You get to dance with lots of people, but you don’t need to bring a partner. ECD is a great way to get mild exercise, meet friendly people, enjoy beautiful dance forms, and express your inner joy (and get out on a cold winter evening)!

4 Tuesday Night Classes in 2010:  7:30 – 9:30 p.m.
January 12 & 19 ~ Teaching by Val Medve
January 26 & February 2 ~ Teaching by Judy Chaves

Richmond Free Library, 201 Bridge Street, Richmond, VT
Voluntary donation to defray cost of heat & electricity ($2 per class suggested)

For adults & teens. Come with or without a partner; we’ll change partners throughout the evening. Dress comfortably and bring clean, flat-heeled shoes with smooth soles (avoid sneakers & mules). Recorded music. All dances taught and walked through.
No sign-up or registration required. Just show up and join us for some fun evenings!

Visit the website for contact information: Burlington Country Dancers 

[I’ve done these classes – they are fabulous! – so dust off your dancing shoes and just show up – you will glad you did – a perfect antidote to winter!]


 3.  A Weekend retreat: 


[just use your imagination and add a little snow!]

Jane Austen Weekend: Pride and Prejudice
The Governor’s House in Hyde Park
Friday to Sunday, January 8 – 10, 2010

802-888-6888, tollfree 866-800-6888 or

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, where JASNA-Vermont’s very own Kelly McDonald will be speaking on “The Naive Art of Georgiana Darcy.”  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.    

Jane Austen Tea at Governor’s House in Hyde Park
Saturday, January 9, 2010  – 3:00 p.m  $14.00
802-888-6888 [Advance reservations required]

Part of the Jane Austen weekend at The Governor’s House, the afternoon tea is open to the public. Although this is English afternoon tea made popular in the Victorian Era with scones and clotted cream, finger sandwiches and tea cakes, there will be readings and discussion of the tea that Jane Austen would have enjoyed during the Regency.


4.  Austen sightings: 

A Podcast

This has been making its way about the blogsphere, the news, listservs, etc – but there are only a few days left to hear this Jane Austen podcast on BB4 Radio: – catch it before it is too late…


Jane Austen collected songs all her life but many of them have only just come to light, in manuscripts inherited by one of her descendants. Jazz singer Gwyneth Herbert performs Austen’s favourite songs, with new piano and clarinet accompaniment by David Owen Norris. At Austen’s house in Chawton, Hampshire, scholars and biographers discuss how they cast a new light on one of our best-loved writers. 

[Image and text from BBC Radio website  ]- the scholars are Deirdre LeFaye and Richard Jenkyns.  Visit soon as it is only available for a few more days; or you can download the podcast to your ipod until January 15th…]


A Talking Jane

 Another item clogging the airwaves of late, Janeite Bonnie alerting me to this several weeks ago [and I confess it fell through the holiday cracks… there have been many such fallings by the wayside..] – is a YouTube video of Jane Austen reading aloud her own letter to the Revd. James Stanier Clarke, the Prince Regent’s Librarian, who notoriously wrote to Austen suggesting a topic for her next book [“…to delineate in some future Work the Habits of Life and Character and enthusiasm of a Clergyman – who should pass his time between the metropolis & the Country…” – did he not perhaps like Mr. Collins??] –  her response? – listen [though another confession – I hate these things with movable lips, like the babies in commercials who talk like adults – they give me the creeps – but it is Austen, after all, or at least the bonneted, bug-eyed, full-lipped Victorianized version of Dear Jane, babbling away – so enjoy [I also think she sounds like she is a priggish 85 years old, rather than a mere 40…but I am getting a tad snarky now… so just listen for yourself and I will shut-up.]  The letter, if you want to follow along is in the LeFaye edition, No. 138(D), dated April 1, 1816.  I think this cured him of wanting to be her editor – she never heard from him again… or at least there is nothing extant…


Austen Blogs abuzz

There is a new Austen blog [since October!], Austenonly, penned by the author of the lovely My English Country Garden blog – she adds much to the Austen blogging community with almost daily postings about Austen’s world, filled with luscious illustrations and insightful commentary.  Plan to visit every day – you will be glad you did!

 And speaking of Austen blogs, Laurel Ann at Austenprose has posted a list of her favorite books of 2009 [those she has read of course!] – many titles to add to your TBR pile, along with her wonderful reviews!

Vic at Jane Austen’s World Blog has done what I have so far failed to do [another tumbling into the now pot-hole sized cracks…] – pen her take on the Austen exhibit at the Morgan she was fortunate enough to visit.  She has some wonderful thoughts and pictures, so follow her along as she treks through the letters on display.  I promise to post my thoughts soon – if I can remember them.


The Movies

This in from Janeite Marti:  [she was watching a holiday show on Lifetime and has this to say:]

Around Christmas I was watching a made for TV movie because it had Kristin Chenoweth in it. It was called the ‘12 Men of Christmas’ or something like that and took place in Montana.

 Partway through the movie I started yelling at my husband that it was starting to look like P&P!   Our heroine thought she had met her dream man (Wickham) who blamed the hardware tycoon (Darcy) for his troubles.  Dreamy disappears for a while and later it is found out that he was away with a Rich New Yorker. In the end our heroine ended up with the Darcy character and the truth’s behind the lies are revealed. 

Believe me it was the last place I would have guessed to find a nod to our favorite author!


 [thanks Marti for the alert – anyone else see this? – the reviews seemed to be universally horrific, excepting the hero’s apparently often bare chest…]


 Stay tuned – I have some thoughts to post on the BBC Sense & Sensibility 1981 movie I am currently watching – for those of you who have seen this, I welcome your comments…

[Posted by Deb]

14 thoughts on “Austenesque Vermont ~ & Other Austen Sightings…

  1. The talking Jane vid is creepy Deb, and so are the talking babies on tv. LOL, I am also getting a bit snarky now and will shut up. ;-)

    Thanks for the link and complements on my reviews. *sigh* I only wish I had the time and staminia to read every new Austen book that comes to market. Maybe when I’m 80 in the shade!



  2. Well I’m glad I came across your wonderful BLOG.

    My name is Tony Grant and I’m an avid Jane Austen fan.

    I realise I might seem an unlikely candidate for being a Jane Austen fan. I came to Jane through various influneces including doing a degree, many years ago, in Eng Lit.

    I lwas born in Southampton, Hampshire and now live in Wimbledon,South London. Prime Jane Austen country.

    I am lucky to live within a short drive and walk, in some cases, of most of the places Jane mentions in her surviving letters.

    On my BLOG, London Calling, I have placed posts about Jane Country, Hampshire and Surrey. I have included a few photographs you might be interested in showing sites mentioned in her novels and in her letters.

    Please feel welcome to have a look.

    All the best,
    PS I know this might sound even stranger, but for many years I have been a member of JASA, your Australian countrepart. I have had articles published in their ,”Chronicle.”


  3. Hello Mr. Grant,

    Thank you for your nice email – I tried to find your blog but not having any luck, except this: and this:

    But see no Austen references.

    Would be interested to see what you have on there – I am giving a talk on Sense & Sensibility and will be mentioning how S&S has the most London mentions; and of course her letters.

    I also collect books on London, my favorite city, and where I met my husband [though he is American as well] – my parents were born in England, so I have been a raging anglophile since the age of 2!

    I love the JASA sight – they have a lot of goodies on there!

    Let me know how and where to find you…


  4. Hi Deb,
    It might look as though I spend my time on my computer, but being a teacher, I’m preparing lessons for tomorrow.

    I’m new to blogging. My name is Southerner on the Blog site. maybe that will help.

    My Blog is simply called London Calling. War time reference. ( Silly joke really)

    Hope you can find it.

    I’ve posted photographs of Chawton, Steventon and sites in Southampton mentioned in Jane’s letters. Also a picture of the Cobb and steps at Lyme and some pictures of Box Hill.

    If you are interested I have got a picture of Covent Garden and the 18th century church that Jane would have attended and a picture of her brother Henry’s house in Henrietta Street.

    All the best,


  5. Hi Deb,
    I put a picture of Henrietta Street on my blog.

    I did an article for JASA a year or two back with lots of references to Sense and Sensibility sites in London.I’m afraid I can’t find the file I kept all my resources on.

    Of course, with a copy of Sense and Sensibility in hand you could follow the walks and carriage rides of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, using Google Street View.

    How the world has moved on.

    All the best,


  6. Sorry Deb,
    I haven’t got any pictures of Hans Place. The original house Jane stayed in, number 23, unlike the house in Henrietta Street, doesn’t exist any more. A 1920’s red brick row of houses and flats replaced the original 18th century buidings. I think there is a green plaque comemorating Jane somewhere on the present building. I must admit I haven’t seen it. I often go to South Kensington, to the V&A, one of my favourite museums and that is just down the road from Hans Place. Next time I’m there, I often take my kids to the South Ken museums, I will make a special effort to get some pictures for you.

    Here’s a link to the GOOGLE STREET view of Hans Place. If you scan around the square I think there are some still exisiting 18th century houses. So you can get an idea of what 23 Hans Place would have looked like.,-2.255495&sspn=0.005638,0.008175&ie=UTF8&t=h&layer=c&cbll=51.47983,-0.292375&panoid=aialyPX0AlmltI5IMKqhdw&cbp=12,174.41,,0,5&hq=Kew+Gardens&hnear=Kew+Gardens,+London,+UK&ll=51.479833,-0.292382&spn=0,359.94082&z=15&utm_campaign=en_GB&utm_medium=lp&utm_source=en_GB-lp-emea-gb-gns-svn&utm_term=%7Bkeyword%7D

    (That link doesn’t look good. I hope it works.)
    All the best,

    PS I’ll give you a link to the JASA Chronicle another time. I don’t tink the articles are live though. To tell the truth I can’t remeber which edition It was published in. It was some time ago. It included a map with all the Sense and Sensibilty site on it.

    I’ve got a couple of articles by the way that JASA have not published. Interested???? Ignore me. I’m getting cheeky now.


    • Oh thanks Tony! [I have a link to the JASA site on this blog – fabulous material on there! – but I don’t see your article – not all The Chronicles are online] – I will actually be in London myself next month and will scout out Hans Place – so far the only one of Austen’s haunts that I haven’t wandered by… Thank you again for posting all these pictures on your blog – it is helping me with my itinerary!


  7. Hi Deb,
    I have articles in Dec 2006 “Chawton: a living village,” ( that was my first one) December 2007, “Jane in Southampton,”June 2008, (front page and double page spread inside), “Jane Austen Places – Steventon in July & Inside Chawton Cottage.” It was a photo shoot.

    Other editions have part of a review I wrote about a BBC adaptation of Sense and Sensibilty. I sent a map of London showing all the Sense and Sensibilty sites to help illustrate the review. The map was not published and as I said only part, two paragraphs, of the review. I think that version, with the rather sensual opening fireside scene, thoughts of Lady Chatterleys Lover here, provoked a torrent of reviews and views and I was lucky to squeeze two paragraphs in amongst the rest.
    (I think I”ve got a little confused. That must be what I’ve been thinking about as a London article.)

    Other editions have Jane sitings and items of 18th century interest I found in papers and magazines.

    I’ve had a few other ideas for articles but teaching is such an exacting profession,and I have a largish family, so time is at a premium.

    One idea I hope to accomplish one day is to follow Jane and Henry on a journey to Hans Place. Jane describes the journey in a letter. (The date eludes me at the moment.)

    I know every place, stretch of road and inn she must have stopped at on the way. I was intending to use the letter as a guide and take a series of photographs to illustrate the letter.

    At the moment it is just a thought. It sounds easy but I have to take time off from the family. That is not easy.

    So Deb, you will be in London soon. Have a great time. I’m biased but I’ve been to a lot of capital cities. I still love London the most.”All life…” whatever the quote is. Paris is a close second and New York’s not bad.( I know, not a capital)

    If you need to find out anything or want to know anything, latest weather forecast, which tube line to get where? I’m your man.

    All the best,


  8. Sorry Deb,
    I haven’t thanked you for your praise of the JASA website.

    A lot of hard work has been put into it over the years by Susannah Fullerton the President. Helen Malcher the editor of the Chronicle has developed that too. I talk to Helen mostly via e-mail and she has encouraged me to enter articles. JASA is always very patient with me and supporting of my ideas.

    Living in England and admittedly never having been to Australia my contact is inevitably at a distance.I never get to their meetings. I’d never make it to work the next day or the next week come to think of it.

    I met Susannah and Helen last Summer when they were in England for a fortnight. Susannah, as well as her role as President of JASA is a well respected writer on Jane Austen and lectures on her.She also organises literary tours of Britain for fellow Australians. That is how they came to be here.

    How I became involved in JASA is another story.

    All the best,


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