to the Denver/Boulder area regional chapter of the Jane Austen
Society of North America (JASNA). We are a group of devoted fans
who meet every other month to discuss Jane Austen’s books,
the Regency era, current events and our admiration and fascination
with this acclaimed author. Our programs
vary throughout the year to create a fun and interesting balance.
If you’re interested in the life, work and times of Jane
Austen, we invite you to explore our web site and join us at one
of our upcoming
At our recent Annual Birthday Tea, held virtually on December 13, 2020, member Michael Clark gave a wonderful toast, reproduced below:
Good afternoon, everyone! It’s so nice to see and be with you all as we celebrate the two hundred and forty-fifth birthday of our favorite author.
As we know, the year 2020 has offered very few reasons for celebration. The combination of a global pandemic, social unrest, horrendous wildfires, and a heated presidential election resulted in unprecedented feelings of isolation, confusion, and fear.
So why toast Jane Austen as we gather here today? What motivates us to shine a spotlight on Austen and her literary legacy, and what keeps us coming back to these JASNA gatherings, even as it becomes more challenging to celebrate—let alone experience—the universe outside her books’ covers? Is it because her novels offer fully imagined worlds that volunteer both escape from and guidelines for our modern dilemmas? Do we honor her witty, quotable dialogue; the inspired (and endlessly inspiring) plot structures; the richly developed characters whose yearnings, experiences, struggles, and triumphs become our own? Or do we look toward celebrating the author herself, for all that she accomplished and achieved before her early death?
I say a resounding yes to all of the above, but even more so to the lasting sense of community that comes with the proud badge of being an “Austenite.” Whereas people around the world have been confined to their homes with limited outlets for external stimulation and human interaction, we lucky few continue to find fellowship in meetings of the Jane Austen Society of North America. Whether we’re reviewing the latest media adaptations of Austen’s works, learning more about the social environment in which Austen lived through enlightening presentations, laughing over pandemic-related memes that poke fun at the author and her novels, or simply showing up to see and hear from likeminded readers, JASNA keeps us connected and lets us know that we are never alone as long as we keep Jane Austen in our hearts and on our bookshelves.
So, in closing, please join me in toasting this wonderful organization, the author who inspired it, and the members who celebrate both with joy and commitment. Cheers!