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.
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 MarthaLloyd 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
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!
- - - - - 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
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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.
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.
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.