Yesterday, a FedEx box left on my stoop prior to lunch yielded up a BIG surprise: my contributor’s copies of JASNA’s annual journal PERSUASIONS, vol. 30 (2008). A brief email to Susan Allen Ford, the journal editor, to congratulate her on an ‘awesome’ volume, was answered by an email which said she hadn’t received her copies yet! Vermont’s good fortune (and mine) to be located next door to New Hampshire — from where the packages seem to have originated…
The first article I read was Edith Lank‘s telling of her annotated Brabourne edition of Austen letters. One curious thing: how could the books languish EIGHT years on her shelves, unopened?! A used book never passes my threshold without a thorough perusal! There is more on Miss Lank’s edition in Persuasions-Online.
Joan Klingel Ray offers up an interesting look at Victorian era perceptions of Austen, though I must comment that to Edward — a nephew who was in his late teens when his aunt died — Jane would surely have remained, over the 50 ensuing years, his “dear Aunt Jane”. Joan and I take differently, I think, to James-Edward Austen-Leigh’s Memoir of Jane Austen. Joan knows the descendents; but I’ve come to know Edward and Emma through their own words! So: a discussion to look forward to when Joan Klingel Ray visits Vermont in September (see our EVENTS page).
I would be telling a lie if I didn’t confess that the very first article I checked out was my own… Oh, the pictures look lovely! (They come via the collection of The British Museum.) I had been so worried after seeing the proofs. Susan Allen Ford has been very positive in her reaction (the anonymous reader, too) to this article, in which I examine an Emma Austen 1833 trip to Derbyshire in the steps of Elizabeth Bennet. The article was only improved by their wishes for a lengthier piece and some illustrations.
The Chicago AGM’s theme of Austen’s legacy brings up many fascinating ideas: Jocelyn Harris invokes Dr. Johnson; Deb will surely be interested in turning straightaway to Janine Barchas‘ article on Gaskell’s North & South (Deb highly recommends the new TV series, which she’s been watching) — but what will she think of the author’s assumption that it is a veiled recreation of P&P??? Sarah Parry‘s article on “The Pemberley Effect: Austen’s Legacy to the Historic House Industry” is surely next on my list.
A special ‘legacy’: the writing desk that once belonged to Austen, has been in the family, and now has been donated to The British Library. Freydis Welland‘s personal take on this piece of history opens the always pleasurable MISCELLANY section of Persuasions. Although I’ve not seen Lost in Austen, Laurie Kaplan‘s article which closes the journal has the oh-so-tempting title “‘Completely without Sense’: Lost in Austen“.
More comments than this — teasing tantalizers or tantalizing teasers, since the journal (according to the JASNA website) is schedule to mail out on May 1st — will have to wait. The one thing that keeps me from delving deep into my copy is an article I’m working on, and I must get back to work.