Sense & Sensibility 2011 — Bibliographies & Resources

Jane Austen's Brothers and Sisters in Fact & Fiction 2009 — Bibliographies & Resources

Jane Austen's Legacy: Life, Love & Laughter 2008 — Bibliographies & Resources

Emma 2007 — Bibliographies & Resources

Mansfield Park 2006 — Bibliographies & Resources

Joan Ray’s Talk — 6/11/06
On June 11, 2006, Joan Klingel Ray, President of the Jane Austen Society of North America, came to our regional meeting to speak on “Not Just a Pretty Face: Why We Love Jane Austen.” Earlier in the day, eight of us hosted Joan at a brunch at the Hotel Westin, where we all enjoyed the opportunity to get to know her better and to chat informally about things Austen.

In her talk, Joan described the different types of Jane Austen that readers see. There is the gentle Jane Austen of the famous frontispiece image from her nephew James Edward Austen’s memoir, a round-faced Austen connoting tea and country walks. Then there is the friendly Jane Austen—the wonderfully witty and wise narrator who lures readers into her world and comforts us with her logical plots. Joan pointed out that the original portrait of Austen by her sister Cassandra portrays a woman with more acute angles to her face and a clear eye; in short it is a portrait of an incisive observer, the third type of Jane Austen, the wittily satirical one who knows life is not always gentle but who chooses not to dwell on unpleasant things but instead to include them for those readers clever enough to realize they are there amidst the humor and wit along with characters of compelling psychological depth and emotional complexity.

Austen’s popularity is unquestioned at this point, but, as Joan said, her writing is sturdy enough to survive any type of explanation or interpretation. It may be that the compact size of her oeuvre has helped to enhance her reputation: one doesn’t need to read thirty books to “get” Jane Austen. One only needs to read and reread the several extant. It is no mystery why three of Jane Austen’s novels were included in the top 100 favorite books of all time in a recent BBC2 readers’ poll.

Jill Heydt-Stevenson’s Talk — 2/12/06
On February 12, 2006, Jill Heydt-Stevenson, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature/Humanities at the University of Colorado spoke to the Denver/Boulder Region on Jane Austen’s Juvenilia.

Jill stated that the “joyful lawlessness” of these works and the excessive behavior of their heroines represented both an internalization — over-consumption of food and alcohol — of the repressive social codes of the day and an externalization — thievery, murder, armed warfare — and rejection of these codes. She used examples from “Jack and Alice,” “Love and Freindship,” “Henry and Eliza,” and “The Beautiful Cassandra” to show how the heroines of the Juvenilia place a high self-value on themselves in the face of society’s attempts to treat them as “things” of little worth. Their acts of hedonism, their lawlessness and sheer exuberance are not only acts of rebellion but attempts to gain back for themselves what is really due them and has been taken from them. As Sophia says to Laura in “Love and Freindship”: Run mad as often as you chuse; but do not faint.”

Winning Essay from the 2005 JASNA Essay Contest
Liminal Letters: Writing Between the Spaces in Emma
Maggie Fromm, Third Place Winner, Undergraduate College Division