May JASNA Meeting

For May's meeting, in celebration of Mother's Day, we will meet to discuss one of the most exemplary mothers in English literature: Lady Susan Vernon.  I hope you have time to re-read Jane's epistolary novella Lady Susan for a fun discussion of this work!

When: Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 2:00 pm

Where: Zen Tea, historic downtown Chamblee, 5356 Peachtree Rd, Atlanta, GA 30341

Next Meeting! Regency Fashion

In keeping with 2015's theme of Living in Jane Austen's World, we will have a guest speaker, Stephanie Cote, teach us about Regency costuming and fashion.  We will also play a game of Who Wore it Best comparing the recycled dresses from the film adaptations.  Finally, we will spend a few minutes discussing Love and Freindship, which is really fun and adorable.  We did not have an opportunity to discuss this work at the February meeting, so let's discuss it in March.  Click here to access the online text:

The March meeting will be on Saturday March 28, 2015 at 2:00pm at the Toco Hills Library in DeKalb County.

Click here for information and directions to the Toco Hills Library.

The characters in Northanger Abbey display a great love of fashion and discussions of clothes are perhaps more prevalent in this work than in the other novels:

About Mrs. Allen:  Dress was her passion. She had a most harmless delight in being fine; and our heroine's entree into life could not take place till after three or four days had been spent in learning what was mostly worn, and her chaperone was provided with a dress of the newest fashion. 

About Catherine Morland:  What gown and what head-dress she should wear on the occasion became her chief concern. She cannot be justified in it. Dress is at all times a frivolous distinction, and excessive solicitude about it often destroys its own aim. Catherine knew all this very well; her great aunt had read her a lecture on the subject only the Christmas before; and yet she lay awake ten minutes on Wednesday night debating between her spotted and her tamboured muslin, and nothing but the shortness of the time prevented her buying a new one for the evening.

And here is another description of Catherine Morland, which seems to parallel Jane Austen's own pretensions to fashion:

Catherine too made some purchases herself, and when all these matters were arranged, the important evening came which was to usher her into the Upper Rooms. Her hair was cut and dressed by the best hand, her clothes put on with care, and both Mrs. Allen and her maid declared she looked quite as she should do. With such encouragement, Catherine hoped at least to pass uncensured through the crowd. As for admiration, it was always very welcome when it came, but she did not depend on it.

And, Jane, in a letter to Cassandra in November 1800:
Did you think of our ball on Thursday evening, and did you suppose me at it? You might very safely, for there I was. On Wednesday morning it was settled that Mrs. Harwood, Mary, and I should go together, and shortly afterwards a very civil note of invitation for me came from Mrs. Bramston, who wrote I believe as soon as she knew of the ball. I might likewise have gone with Mrs. Lefroy, and therefore, with three methods of going, I must have been more at the ball than anyone else. I dined and slept at Deane; Charlotte and I did my hair, which I fancy looked very indifferent; nobody abused it, however, and I retired delighted with my success.

Finally, a discussion of Jane Austen and fashion would not be complete without her famous quote:
Besides, I cannot help thinking that it is more natural to have flowers grow out of the head than fruit.--What do you think on that subject? (Letter to Cassandra, June 1799)
A satirical print from 1799 held by the British Museum. Years later, Jane told Cassandra, "the stays now are not made to force the bosom up at all; that was a very unbecoming, unnatural fashion."

February 2015 Recap: The Marriage Game

In February, JASNA held a joint meeting of all of the Georgia reading groups at Violet Bank, a beautiful historic home in Griffin.  We are very grateful to our hosts for opening up their home for our meeting!

Violet Bank

We began the meeting with some coffee and refreshments, and then our monthly member spotlight:

Randy enjoying the coffee courtesy of our hosts and Safehouse Coffee

February Member Spotlight: Phyllis recalls when she earned a place in Honors English for reading Jane Austen at the poolside *cough* which was hiding a copy of Peyton Place inside of it! 

Then Dr. Laura Thomason, Associate Professor of English at Middle Georgia State College, presented “The Marriage Game: Love, Money, Friendship, and Companionacy in Jane Austen’s England.”  

Dr. Laura Thomason
Dr. Thomason explained that marriage in Jane Austen’s time was in a state of transition. Rather than base their marriage choices on romance or money, the women that Dr. Thomason researched found an alternate qualification for their future husbands: friendship and companionship.  Through an interactive, “Marriage Game” activity, Dr. Thomason demonstrated the hurdles that a couple would face in making a marriage match. 

Kristen's marriage prospects were diminished by drawing the bad reputation card!

The Marriage Game
A great time was had by all!

Photos courtesy of Laura at Peach Photos (

Next Meeting - Saturday, February 21, 2015

 The Marriage Game:
Love, Money, Friendship, and Companionacy in Jane Austen's England
This Valentine's Day season program will take place at an historic home in Griffin.  Marriage in Jane Austen's time was in a state of transition.  Eighteenth-Century marriage was moving from a money- and land-based transaction to a companionate, choice-based relationship.  However, that transition was not smooth or simple for the woman who experienced it.  Neither marital choice based simply on emotional attachment nor conventional marriages compelled by filial duty could correct the gender-based imbalance of power that traditionally existed in marriage.  Women sought a new kind of spousal relationship in which Eighteenth-Century women used rhetoric to redefine marriage. 

Our speaker will be Dr. Laura E. Thomason, Associate Professor of English at Middle Georgia State College in Macon and author of --
"The Marriage Settlement" by William Hogarth ca 1743 

Location:   Historic Violet Bank House in Griffin, Georgia

Date:  Saturday, February 21, 2015

Time:    2:00 - 4:00 pm

Travel Arrangements:   Carpooling will be available - contact Erin at if you need a ride

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About the speaker -- Professor Thomason

Laura Thomason was born in Columbia, Missouri. She received her B.A. in English Education from the College of Santa Fe (now Santa Fe University of Art and Design) in 1995, her M.A. in English from the University of North Texas in 2001, and her Ph.D. in English from the University of North Texas in 2005.

She is the author of The Matrimonial Trap: Eighteenth-Century Women Writers Redefine Marriage (Bucknell University Press, November 2013) and of several articles on gender issues in eighteenth-century literature. Her latest work examines the depiction of feminine friendship in Jane Austen’s Emma, a project developed at the NEH Summer Seminar “Jane Austen and her Contemporaries” at the University of Missouri.

Thomason is an Associate Professor of English at Middle Georgia State College (formerly Macon State College) in Macon, Georgia. Her teaching interests include book history and professional writing as well as gender and sexuality, eighteenth-century literature, and scholarly writing.

Outside of the classroom, Thomason is a ballroom dancer who competes at the silver/gold level in American Smooth and American Rhythm styles with her husband Daniel Boudreault.

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Last JASNA-Atlanta Meeting

Saturday, January 17, 2015
2:00 - 4:00 pm
Toco Hills Library

Lecture:  Jane Austen and Her Times
                         followed by
Group Discussion:  Members were invited to bring a favorite
                               Austen-related book and provide a 5
                               minute profile of it.  The book could
                               fiction or non-fiction.

Our new Regional Coordinator for Georgia, Kristen Miller-Zohn welcomed us and gave a preview of our 2015 plans.  Our new Atlanta Reading Group leader, Erin Elwood, then treated us to a review of Jane Austen and her life and times.  For the second half of our meeting we took turns introducing our favorite or most recent Austen-related books by giving five minute mini-reviews and readings.  Several of us picked books in keeping with this year's theme, "Jane Austen and Her Times."  Among the books discussed were

Dinner with Mr Darcy           Pen Vogler 
Jane Austen's Country Life  Deirdre Le Faye
Jane Austen Cookbook        Maggie Black & Deirdre Le Faye
Jane Austen Fashion           Penelope Byrde
Jane Austen and Crime        Susannah Fullerton
These Three Remain            Pamela Aidan
Jane Austen's England         Roy and Leslie Adkins

Jane Austen 2014 Birthday Celebration

Saturday, December 13
Toco Hills Library

We celebrated Jane's Birthday with our traditional tea party in her honor.  Several of us read or offered remarks in praise of her genius and contributions to English Literature.  We also recognized our incoming officers for 2015 and previewed our tentative schedule for next year.  

Books we're reading

Tea party

Linda's presentation

Tea party

Tea party

Mary at the tea table

Nancy's toast

Rita's elgant ensemble

The tea things


Welcome to the Atlanta Region of JASNA!

Our members meet regularly throughout the year to enjoy lectures, attend events, and discuss the works, life, and times of Jane Austen (1775-1817). We meet on the weekends so that people living farther out from the city will be able to attend more easily. We hope you will join us!