JASNA-Vermont September Meeting ~ Susan Wolfson on Northanger Abbey

You are Cordially Invited to JASNA-Vermont’s September Meeting

at the Burlington Book Festival 

Northanger Abbey: Jane Austen’s First Novel,
before she was ‘Jane Austen.’”


Susan Wolfson,* Professor of English at Princeton University,
and editor of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey: An Annotated Edition**

book cover-NA-Wolfson

Sunday September 27, 2015, 1:00 – 3:00 pm 

Morgan Room, Aiken Hall,
83 Summit Street
Champlain College, Burlington VT***


Sponsored by JASNA-Vermont and Bygone Books,
funded in part by a grant from the Jane Austen Society of North America.

~ Free & open to the public ~ ~ Light refreshments served ~ 

For more information:   JASNAVTregion [at] gmail [dot] com
Please visit our blog at: http://JaneAustenInVermont.wordpress.com
Burlington Book Festival website: http://burlingtonbookfestival.com/ 


S.Wolfson.2015*Susan Wolfson is Professor of English at Princeton University, where she is a specialist in British Romanticism, a field in which she teaches Jane Austen’s novels. She has recently produced the Harvard Annotated Northanger Abbey, a unique edition of the novel’s text that hews, with less intervention than standard editions, to the text of the 1818 publication, and as with other volumes in the Harvard series, includes page-by-page annotations, illustrations, and other supplementary materials. With her husband Ronald Levao, she has also edited Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein for the same series. And with her colleague Claudia L. Johnson, she edited Pride and Prejudice for Longman Cultural Editions, of which she is the General Editor, and in this capacity has supervised Emma (edited by Frances Ferguson), and Persuasion (edited by William Galperin). Her most recent book is Reading John Keats (Cambridge), about Keats as a reader as well as a writer, and about how this readerly quality shapes and stimulates how he is read (very Austenian in this way!). Susan Wolfson received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and taught at Rutgers University New Brunswick for 13 years, before her present appointment at Princeton. Widely published in the field of Romantic-era studies, she is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the ACLS, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 

**The book will be available for purchase and signing
***Aiken Hall is located at 83 Summit Street [#36 on map]. Park on the street or in any College designated parking during the event: https://www.champlain.edu/Documents/Admissions/Undergraduate%20Admissions/Campus-Map.pdf

book cover-Keats

Hope you can join us!


Dates for your Diary

December 6, 2015:
Annual Birthday Tea & Ball at the Essex Inn –
Celebrating 20 years of the 1995 Pride & Prejudice mini-series!
– details forthcoming
(Colin Firth is welcome if he is available and happens to be in Vermont…)

c2015, Jane Austen in Vermont

Jane Austen in Vermont ~ The Royal Navy and the Prince Regent visit Burlington

Lisa & Marie

Lisa & Marie

With hearty thanks to Lisa Brown for sharing her love of the Royal Navy with us Vermont Janeites, and to Marie Sprayberry for telling us of her shared-with-Jane rabid dislike of the Prince Regent and why, and displaying examples from her Georgian era royal collectibles – a most delightful day, despite the intense heat of Burlington’s heat wave and the Fletcher Free Library’s air conditioning on the fritz… [I have now successfully subjected our members and guests to one freezing December Tea where the computerized heating system refused to cooperate and we listened most intently to the two speakers, quietly shivering in our winter coats; and now the reverse of overheating the same members and guests with no air and loud fans in the skylight heated Pickering Room – as one guest bravely noted – “it was all a cost-free day in a sauna” ] – I find I have some control over these meetings, but alas! minus zero control over the weather and heating / cooling system snafus – I do apologize and thank you for your tolerance and good grace as an audience…

That said, extra kudos go to the models who courageously wore their wool-clad Royal Navy uniforms with elegance and style, as they paraded for us samples from Lisa’s wonderful collection.  Here are a few pictures with descriptions of each, with thanks to our fearless models for being such good sports:

able seaman-MH

 Marilyn as appropriately clad “able seaman”
[photo: c2014 M. Harrington]


Jim in the green Sharpe’s uniform of the “95th Rifles”
[see: http://www.95thrifles.com/history-95th-p1.html ]
[photo: c2014 M. Harrington]


Jess and her redcoat from the Royal Welch Fusiliers


Carole in the blue and red uniform as a “US” Navy Lieutenant during the Revolutionary War


 Jay [a.k.a. Captain Wentworth] in an 1812 Royal Navy Captain’s uniform, deservedly admiring his epaulette
[see: http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/71310.html ]
[top photo c2014 M. Harrington]



And a group shot of us all with Lisa (minus the able seaman, who had left to swab the deck), and with yours truly in the quickly donned uniform of a French Navy Lieutenant.


Marie’s talk on the Prince Regent was cut short near the end by the heat and near fainting attendees, which was too bad as we were all quite taken with her chat on the dastardly Prince and his wicked ways – you can read the rest of her talk here in Persuasions-OnLine 33.1 (2012):

“Sex, Power, and Other People’s Money: The Prince Regent and His Impact on Jane Austen’s Life and Work” http://www.jasna.org/persuasions/on-line/vol33no1/sprayberry.html


 “Long Live Queen Caroline!” ceramic jug (1820)
[from the collection of A. Marie Sprayberry and Edward R. Voytovich;
photo by E. Voytovich] [see the POL article for more images of Marie’s collection]


All in all a great day, with a great audience, and a fun weekend with Marie and Lisa, here cavorting about at the incomparable Shelburne Museum… Marie (left) and Lisa (right) on a Vermont covered bridge:



 Gaoled JASNA Regional Coordinators Marie and Lisa (hoping to be released in time for the Montreal AGM]

[All images c2014 by Deb Barnum, unless otherwise noted; and with special thanks to Margaret Harrington!]

  c2014 Jane Austen in Vermont

Jane Austen in Love by Elsa Solender ~ A Review by Diana Birchall ~ ‘A Light and Lovely Literary Biography’

Dear Readers: 

Coming up this weekend [Sunday September 23, 2012] is JASNA-Vermont’s “An Afternoon with Jane Austen”: wherein we shall hear about ‘Channeling’, ‘Imagining’, and ‘Dressing’ Jane Austen’. Presentations by authors Elsa Solender (Jane Austen in Love: An Entertainment) and Stuart Bennett (The Perfect Visit) will take us back in time to meet our favorite author! These two sessions will be linked with a talk by our very own Hope Greenberg as she takes us through the stages of “Dressing Jane” in the proper Regency clothing of her day.  

I had reviewed Elsa Solender’s book for the JASNA News [it shall be in the next issue] and so cannot post that review here until it is published, so I have asked Diana Birchall, who read and enjoyed the book very much, to share her thoughts on Jane Austen in Love: An Entertainement.


 A Light and Lovely Literary Biography

The Austenalia, Austenesque, Austen-related fiction field is now so rich and wide that there is something for every taste, passion, and level of knowledge. Jane Austen’s works have always left the reader wishing for more, and by now all her novels have been continued, extended, squeezed and sequelized, transmuted into every possible genre, and almost loved to death by writers and fans of every conceivable skill set and range of imagination and learning. The subject of Jane Austen’s own life and loves has not been neglected, but it is not as commonly treated as those of her fictional characters. Perhaps it is easier to picture to oneself the future lives of Darcy and Elizabeth than it is to write authoritatively and persuasively about the veritable Austen herself, the mysterious and hidden woman of two hundred odd years ago, whose life was never on display, whose relatives burned selected letters and presented a sweetened version of her to the world. A lifetime of study and scholarship leaves one only more deeply aware of just how enigmatic she was. For this reason most modern re-imaginings of her life cannot satisfy – too often they clash wincingly with our own vision, or try to pump up the almost incredibly scantily known romantic aspects of her life into a sensational love story. Only a precious few come close to presenting a plausible enough version to permit us to think that yes, maybe, just maybe, life was like that for Jane Austen.

Elsa Solender’s Jane Austen in Love accomplishes this, and is one of the most valid and satisfying attempted imaginings of Austen’s emotions and interior life – and that of her sister Cassandra, who serves as a natural, if somewhat somber, narrator. Solender has the advantage of lifelong study of Austen, for as writer, editor, and former President of JASNA, she has clearly never branched far away from the Austen tree of knowledge, but has kept it twining around her mind and heart, evergreen. She is also a felicitous, unobtrusive, graceful writer, who wears her great scholarship lightly and is never prosy or dry, but modest and elegant, just as Austen would surely approve. She keeps her fertile imagination closely reined in to the probable, and therefore the reader who wants to see a little more of “what Jane Austen was like,” is given the gift of a delicate and wholly believable version of reality.

Solender has a light touch and a sensitive ability to catch and recreate a tone, a mood, and she displays this winningly throughout. The sober sadness of the older Cassandra is piquantly contrasted with the bright, high spirited portrait of the young Jane in the bosom of her family, each of her brothers lively and inimitable, especially the clever but unstable Henry. Solender artfully intersperses nuggets of literary biography with her sketches, giving us the pleasure of seeing Jane Austen’s family at home, in the act of being themselves. The cast of characters comes to life and disports itself with almost Austenian variety and vivacity: Eliza, Mrs Lefroy, uncles and aunts, are all impressively yet endearingly recalled to life. The light-yet-probable touch is equally imparted to all the romances that touched Austen: the disappointing flirtation with Tom Lefroy, the deeper love for the Sidmouth gentleman, the abortive Bigg-Wither experiment. They are all smoothly stitched into the sampler.

Jane Austen in Love is a charmingly, effectively dramatized literary biography, a lovely book to add to the Austen collection. The only pity is that thus far it is only available as an e-book, when it so well deserves to be on the best shelves and in the best hands. It is a book that you cannot call a labor of love, for it is not laborious. An entertaining effusion of affection, home brewed honey wine for the reader who loves drinking drafts that are sweet and pure, wholesome and sparkling.

About Diana:

Diana Birchall is a story analyst who reads novels for Warner Bros Studios. She is the author of the Jane Austen-related novels Mrs. Darcy’s Dilemma and Mrs. Elton in America, and also a scholarly biography of her grandmother, Onoto Watanna, the first Asian American novelist. Her story “Jane Austen’s Cat” appears in the anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It, and her several Austen-related plays have had staged readings around the country and in Canada. She has also given many talks on Jane Austen, at such venues as Yale, Oxford, and the Chawton House Library in England.

Thank you Diana! – wish you could be here on Sunday!


You can read more about Elsa’s book here:


Another review at Austenprose by Aia A. Hussein here:


Elsa Solender

Come prepared on Sunday to hear Elsa “channel Jane Austen” – she would sign books available for purchase but alas! as Diana notes the book is only in ebook format at present – but there will be a door prize, so bring your kindle so you can download it right there and then if you are the lucky winner!

More information on Sunday’s event here:


Up later this week: Stuart Bennett’s The Perfect Visit – Mr. Bennett [no relation to that esteemed gentleman Mr. Bennet] will also be speaking at our Sunday event, on “Imagining Jane Austen”… a full afternoon of Jane Austen indeed!

c2012, Jane Austen in Vermont

The Penny Post Weekly Review ~ All Things Austen

The Penny Post Weekly Review

June 11, 2011

 Some goodies for this week – have you found anything of interest you would like to share? – please do!

 News and Gossip:

*Don’t miss this! – June 11 with Rick Steves: A Proper English Hour: Home, High Tea, and Jane Austen’s England Bill Bryson examines private life during the Victorian age; London guide Britt Lonsdale explains how to enjoy a proper afternoon tea service; and screenwriter Andrew Davies [soon to be the JASNA AGM in Fort Worth!] shares his appreciation for the works of Jane Austen.

Click here to find where it airs in your area [alas! In Vermont, nowhere!] http://www.ricksteves.com/radio/whereitairs.htm

But, thankfully, beginning on June 12, the show will also be available to download any time from their website archives at this page: http://www.ricksteves.com/radio/archive.htm

*Masterpiece Theatre announces its fall lineup: watch for Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Ralph Fiennes and more! http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/schedule/fall_2011.html

*The Jane Austen Regency Week in the UK has several events worth either attending OR lamenting if you are on the wrong side of the pond: http://www.basingstokegazette.co.uk/leisure/general/9071636.Jane_Austen_s_Women_brought_to_life_by_Eastleigh_actress/


*For those of us who are on the western shore of the Atlantic, there is the fabulous JASNA Louisville 4th annual Jane Austen Festival July 9 – 10, 2011: information and registration here: http://www.jasnalouisville.com/

*see  LimogesBoxCollector.com at https://www.limogesboxcollector.com/product_info.php?products_id=2183&osCsid=m86f91l6la8d4g1th82filhu66 for your very own Jane Austen bookshelf [$249.00]:

– the latest issue of Jane Austen’s Regency World mentions a Pride & Prejudice Limoges Box, which was announced by Limoges in March 2011 – only the above box appears on the Limoges website, so perhaps they are sold out? – here are the two boxes in the announcement – let me know if you bought one!:

Blogs, websites, and such:

Elizabeth Montague by Edward Haytley

*Elizabeth Montague and the Bluestocking Circle: http://elizabethmontaguletters.co.uk/home

Their project to put all her letters online: Our goal is to prepare a fully annotated electronic edition of Elizabeth Montagu’s correspondence. The author and bluestocking salonnière (1718-1800) was the leading woman of letters and artistic patron of her day. The 8,000 extant letters, ‘among the most important surviving collections from the eighteenth century’ (Schnorrenberg) is held in the British Library, the Bodleian and the Huntington Library, the latter of which holds 6,000 of them. Less than a quarter of these documents has been previously published and then in partial archaic print selections.

*Oxford Bookworms, where Pride and Prejudice is a bestseller in its Stage 6 series:  http://www.oup-bookworms.com/oxford-bookworms.cfm 

*World Digital Library, http://www.wdl.org/en/about/site.html – a joint venture of the Library of Congress and other world libraries – alas! no Austen, but this growing database is worth searching – in a quick look I find the Gutenberg Bible,  William Blake’s The Book of Urizen http://www.wdl.org/en/item/201/?ql=eng&s=william+blake&view_type=gallery

and an abundance of Robbie Burns!: http://www.wdl.org/en/search/gallery?ql=eng&s=robert+burns

*Angela Thirkell – For lovers of Trollope in need of more Barset stories, you should add Angela Thirkell to your book shelf – there is also yet another Society to join!  http://www.angelathirkell.org/

*Lit Lists: an interesting blog for lovers of lists – here, all literary ones:   http://litlists.blogspot.com/ – an example? – “Five Best New Ways of Portraying Lives” which includes Claire Harman’s Jane’s Fame http://litlists.blogspot.com/2011/06/five-best-new-ways-of-portraying-lives.html

* The recently established Fresno Area Regency England Fellowship http://fresnoarearegency.com/ has a nice website, where you can sign up for their monthly newsletter and facebook page.

Books – Reviews – Recommendations:

*A book review: Laura Miller at Salon.com on A Jane Austen Education:


*Miranda Seymour at the NYTimes on A Jane Austen Education and Rachel Brownstein’s Why Jane Austen?: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/12/books/review/book-review-a-jane-austen-education-and-why-jane-austen.html

*Reading lists:  I have found two perfect reading lists for what to read when you have read all of Jane Austen:

Other recommendations to add to your Austen Library:


Museums / Exhibitions:

The Musee McCord in Montreal – considered the leading collection of Canadian dress and the second most important collection of costume in Canada, this collection has grown since 1957 to contain some 18,845 items of dress and accessories – the Museum has the following 19th century fashion-related games online: [with thanks to JASNA-New Jersey http://cnjjasna.blogspot.com/ for this link]

Also in Musee des Beaux-Arts de Montreal: an exhibit of the Museum’s collection of Napoleon artifacts:  http://www.mbam.qc.ca/en/expositions/exposition_134.html


To close, I append a quote [and not even from Jane!] I found on a listserv – from Steven Wright [I love Steven Wright!]

“I was reading the dictionary. I thought it was a poem about everything.”
– Steven Wright, comedian (1955- )

He must have been reading Johnson’s Dictionary!

Copyright @2011 by Deb Barnum, of Jane Austen in Vermont

You are Cordially Invited! ~ JASNA-Vermont March 21st

You are Cordially Invited to JASNA-Vermont’s* March Meeting

 Ingrid Graff 


~ Learning to Love a Hyacinth:
Emotional Growth in Northanger Abbey ~  

Sunday, March 21, 2010  2 – 4 pm 
College, Hauke Conference Center
375 Maple St
Burlington VT  

Free & Open to the Public! 


Ingrid Graff is a great friend of mine and will offer us all a most entertaining talk on Northanger Abbey – so if this is not one of your favorite Austen novels [and how can it not be with Henry Tilney as the hero?!], please join us – it will become so after listening to Ingrid!


Upcoming Events: 
June 6, 2010:  Box Hill Picnic* Kelly McDonald on “Austen – Adams ~ Journeys with Jane &  Abigail” [Deb Barnum’s garden]
September 26:  JASNA President Marsha Huff on “Viewing Austen through Vermeer’s Camera Obscura” [Champlain College]
December 5: Annual Birthday Tea with Professor Peter Sabor of McGill University on the Juvenilia [Champlain College]
March 28:  “Jane Austen’s London in Fact & Fiction” with Suzanne Boden & Deb Barnum [Champlain College]

*Please contact us to be put on our mailing list for all future events