October 18 Meeting - Highlights from the Montreal AGM

Where:  Toco Hills Library
                       1282 McConnell Drive, Decatur
When:      Saturday, October 18,  2:00-4:00 PM
             

Thanks to Renata who brought us pictures, notes, and first hand account of the recent JASNA AGM in Montreal.  Also thanks to Harvey and Leatrice for their observations as well. 

Montreal AGM -  The fall colors were beautiful!


From the Montreal AGM webpage:
 Our theme - Contexts, Conventions and Controversies - invites the widest range of commentary about Mansfield Park, arguably Austen's most complex novel.  Fanny lovers and Fanny haters alike will have ample opportunity to air their views in plenary and break out sessions that will explore the social and historical contexts, the literary conventions, and the many controversies of Mansfield Park, the first of Jane Austen's mature Chawton novels.


 

 

At Home with Jane Austen

Some of us attended the lecture and book signing by author Kim Wilson (JASNA-Wisconsin member) on Oct 2 at the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center in Buckhead.  The event was sponsored by the Royal Oak Foundation. 
There are many books that cover the most prominent of Austen's homes, but this one is more comprehensive than most.  It even includes photos and commentary on the seaside resorts that the Austen family was known to have visited for weeks at a time during the summers. For example, Wilson notes that Mrs. Austen and her daughters along with Edward Austen's family and family friend Martha Lloyd spent part of September 1805 in Worthing. After describing this resort, Wilson comments:

"It seems very probable that Worthing provided Jane with considerable inspiration for her own fictional seaside resort, Sanditon.  The parallels between Worthing and Sanditon  are striking, with many of the locations and amenities of Worthing having an equivalent in Sanditon, including a promoter, Edward Ogle, who strongly brings Jane's character Mr. Parker to mind.  The Austens stayed at Stanford's Cottage, which had beautiful views of the sea from its bow windows.  Set back from the south side of Warwick Street, the house still stands and is now occupied by a restaurant." The accompanying photos and paintings show scenes from Worthing including Wick's Baths which Cassandra Austen patronized. 

We'll have a copy of this book on display at our October 18 meeting.  Copies may be purchased from Barnes&Noble:  At Home with Jane Austen


August 16 Meeting - Continuing Our Study of Mansfield Park



Speaker:   Kristen Miller-Zohn
                Director of Collections and Exhibitions
                The Columbus Museum
Topic:       Fanny Price and the Family Profiles:
                The Reading of Character

In Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, Fanny Price's East room is decorated with various keepsakes, including portraits of family members in profile, a type of portraiture that was very fashionable at the time.  Profiles were linked to the study of physiognomy, a popular pseudo-science that contended a person's character could be ascertained through the study of their facial features.  Not only did the theory impact the visual arts, but physiognomic descriptions were included in novels, and Austen knew both visual and literary examples. Fanny's possession of the family profiles might reflect the fact that she is able to read the characters of those around her.

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We had a great meeting with much intellectual fare as well as some of the comestible type!  
Thanks to all who helped make it a success.  
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Two events in May

- - - - -  May 17  Visit to Kennesaw State University   - - - - -  

We visited the Bentley Rare Books Gallery in the Sturgis Library to examine several 18th and 19th Century books.  Curator Adam Doskey had arranged a display of many books that Jane Austen is known to have read, including a 1754 edition copy of Sir Charles Grandison by Samuel Richardson.                                      
The library setting was perfect for us fans of the Regency.  From Wikipedia:  The gallery is designed to resemble a "domestic library in a middle-class household during the reign of King George III (1760-1820)." Other cited sources for the design were Agatha Christie's description of her ideal home in her autobiography, the Edwardian imagery of E. M. Forster, and Edith Wharton's "The Decoration of Houses."

After our meeting we had Kitty and Lydia's luncheon of cold meats.*  The weather was rainy, so we dined indoors instead of picnicing. (Mr. Knightley would have been pleased.)

*see P&P, chapter 39


- - - - -  Earlier in May  - - - - -  


Several of us saw the movie Belle at local theatres.  The movie was inspired by the real life Dido Elizabeth Belle, the bi-racial niece of Lord Mansfield.  The Mansfields lived next door to Jane Austen's brother Edward Knight in Chawton.  Jane Austen mentions visits to their family in her letters, so she was well aware of the story of Belle.  The writer/director adds dialog and back-story to the basic historical facts to make a lavish, entertaining, and thought-provoking movie.


Belle stars newcomer, British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw, as well as veterans Emily Watson, Tom Wilkinson and Miranda Richardson.
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April 26 Meeting: Jane Austen and the Story of Dido

Dido Elizabeth Belle and Lady Elizabeth Murray
(painted 1779)
 
We had a great meeting on this.  Many thanks to Renata for all the research and the great presentation.
 
Saturday, April 26, 2014
1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Dunwoody Library
 

Was Dido Elizabeth Belle, biracial niece of William Murray, the Earl of Mansfield and Chief Justice of the King's bench, the inspiration for the character of Fanny Price in Mansfield Park?  Jane Austen's letters mention visits to the Murray's, so she knew the family history.

What are the similarities between the real-life Dido and Fanny?  Did Dido have a role in Lord Mansfield's decision that led to the abolishment of slavery in England?  One of our members will present her findings on this fascinating but little-known story at our April 26 meeting.  You won't want to miss this one!   

This meeting continues our focus on Mansfield Park in 2014, the 200th anniversary of its publication.                          

 
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The Novelists Who Influenced Jane Austen

Frances Burney (1752 - 1840)
One of Jane Austen's favorite authors.

 
Dunwoody Library
Saturday, March 22, 1-3 pm
 
One of our members, Helena, entertained us with some insights from her reading of several 18th and early 19th Century authors that Jane Austen admired including Fanny Burney and Maria Edgeworth.

We also watched an excellent 30 minute video of a lecture on some of the innovations that Austen introduced to the art of novel-writing. This is a continuation of our recent look into the history of the novel form.  
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More 2014 Jane Austen Events
 
April 26    Dido - the inspiration for Fanny Price? And Jane Austen's suprising connection
                to Chief Justice Mansfield, whose ruling ended slavery in England.
                Dunwoody Library  1-3 pm
 
May 2      Attend the opening of the movie Belle, the story of Dido.
                We don't know where it will be playing yet. 

May 17    A trip to Kennesaw State University's Bentley Rare Book Collection.  The
               curator will speak about some of their 18th and early 19th Century holdings.
               Afterwards we'll visit the Zuckerman Museum of Art at KSU.  This is the first
               museum to open on a Georgia college campus in 30 years.


Jun-Aug   Summer hiatus.  Sme of us will make the trip to Louisville for the annual     
                  Jane Austen Festival beginning on July 18

Sept       Meetings resume. Details TBA

Oct 10    Some of us will travel to Montreal, site of 2014's Annual General Meeting.
              The theme novel is Mansfield Park on the 200th anniversary of its publication.

Nov 15   Our members who attended the AGM will share their experiences with the
               rest of us.  Some of the presentations will be discussed in detail.

Dec 13   Annual Jane Austen Birthday celebration.  The Toast to Jane Austen Tea Party
              is a JASNA tradition. 

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! info@JasnaAtlanta.org.