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Posts Tagged ‘Regency Fashion’

Comment below for the chance to win a surprise Jane Austen-related giveaway!

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The Ten Best Reasons to Go to a JASNA AGM, Or, Why I would celebrate Jane Austen’s Birthday
by Spiriting Her Around Such an Event

Well, I had the best of intentions to do a full write-up of all the major events at the latest JASNA AGM in Brooklyn – a special location for me personally as I am a New Yorker born and bred – but as I have mentioned elsewhere life gets in the way of our best-laid plans and as the AGM now seems light-years away, I propose to just offer a grand summary in the context of why one should go to this annual Jane Austen conference; and why do so many plan on being there year after year? Friends and family just shake their heads with the typical “she only wrote 6 books, whatever can you talk about for 4 days??” and I nod knowingly that a lifetime of conferences would not satisfy… It takes me a long while to re-enter the 21st century – how delightful it is to enjoy the late 18th and early 19th without all the attendant inconveniences!  I shall make a best effort to give the salient points of this year’s conference, memory perhaps failing me, with a dependence upon sketchy notes, not enough pictures taken (and those that were, not very good…)

(more…)

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You are Cordially Invited to JASNA-Vermont’s September Meeting 

~ An Afternoon with Jane Austen! ~ 

~ Former JASNA President Elsa Solender ~
“Channeling Jane Austen”
in Jane Austen in Love: An Entertainment
 

~ Rare bookseller Stuart Bennett ~
“Imagining Jane Austen”
in The Perfect Visit 
 

~ JASNA-VT’s Hope Greenberg ~
 “Dressing Jane Austen”
i
n the proper Regency fashion of her day 

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Sunday, 23 September 2012, 1 – 5 p.m. 

 Champlain College, Hauke Conference Center, 375 Maple St Burlington VT  

~Free & Open to the Public~  

Details? Visit our blog at: http://JaneAustenInVermont.wordpress.com
Email:  JASNAVermont [at] gmail ]dot] com

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We are pleased to welcome our two Distinguished Authors and one Regency Fashionista for a
full Afternoon with Jane Austen!
The event is co-sponsored by JASNA-Vermont and Bygone Books as part of the Burlington Book Festival.

There will be Door Prizes!
Books will be available for purchase and signing!
Light Refreshments will be served!
Regency dress encouraged!

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Join us for an afternoon of ‘Channeling’, ‘Imagining’, and ‘Dressing Jane Austen’. Presentations by authors Elsa Solender (Jane Austen in Love: An Entertainment) and Stuart Bennett* (The Perfect Visit) will take us back in time to meet our favorite author! These two sessions will be linked with a talk by our very own Hope Greenberg as she takes us through the stages of “Dressing Jane” in the proper Regency clothing of her day.

[*no relation to the esteemed Mr. Bennet...]

We will meet at the Hauke Conference Center of Champlain College on Sunday 23 September, 2012, from 1-5 pm; the visiting authors’ books will be available for purchase and signing; other books relating to Jane Austen and her times will also be offered for sale; and light refreshments will be served. Regency dress is encouraged!                    

1-2 pm:  Elsa Solender:  “Channeling Jane Austen”

Who was Jane Austen – really? Was she the chaste, unworldly spinster, mild and religious, who miraculously created six of the world’s most beloved love stories? Or a sharp-eyed ironist whose engaging plot and characters disguise the splinter of ice in her heart that transformed what she saw and heard into subversive criticism of her world that resonates to this day? In her novel, Jane Austen in Love: An Entertainment, Elsa Solender retells the novelist’s own life story, blending missing aspects of her “romantic career” with the sparse known facts. She will describe her search for a voice and style not unlike Austen’s to explore Jane’s inner life as the heroine of her own bright tale.

About the author:

Elsa A. Solender, a New Yorker, was president of the Jane Austen Society of North America from 1996-2000.  Educated at Barnard College and the University of Chicago, she has worked as a journalist, editor, and college teacher in Chicago, Baltimore and New York. She represented an international non-governmental women’s organization at the United Nations during a six-year residency in Geneva. She wrote and delivered to the United Nations Social Council the first-ever joint statement by the Women’s International Non-Governmental Organizations (WINGO) on the right of women and girls to participate in the development of their country. She has published articles and reviews in a variety of American magazines and newspapers and has won three awards for journalism. Her short story, “Second Thoughts,” was named one of three prizewinners in the 2009 Chawton House Library Short Story Competition, chosen from over 300 writers who submitted stories inspired by Jane Austen or the village of Chawton. The story was published in Dancing with Mr. Darcy, an anthology of the twenty top-rated stories of the contest, and is part of her new work Jane Austen in Love.

Ms. Solender’s story “A Special Calling” was a finalist in the Glimmer Train Short Short Story Competition, and of more than 1,000 stories submitted, was ranked among the top fifty and was granted Honorable Mention. She has served on the boards of a non-profit theater, a private library and various literary and alumnae associations.  Ms. Solender is married, has two married sons and seven grandchildren, and lives in Manhattan. 

More information:

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 2:30 – 3:30 pm: Stuart Bennett: “Imagining Jane Austen”

Stuart Bennett’s foray into historical fantasy/fiction, The Perfect Visit, follows his long career in the world of antiquarian bookselling and scholarly publications on bookbinders and publishers in Jacobean, Augustan, and Regency England.  He will ask the audience to consider how much scholarship properly belongs in an historical novel, and what is the right balance between fact and fiction?  “Imagining Jane Austen” will focus on these topics, illustrated by short passages from The Perfect Visit.  Audience participation is invited.

About the Author:

Stuart Bennett was an auctioneer at Christie’s in London before starting his own rare book business. He is the author of the Christie’s Collectors Guide How to Buy Photographs (1987), Trade Binding in the British Isles (2004) which the London Times Literary Supplement called “a bold and welcome step forward” in the history of bookbinding, and many publications on early photography, auctions and auctioneers, and rare books. He currently lives and works near Boston, Massachusetts.

The Perfect Visit, Longbourn Press, 2011 

For more information:

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4:00- 5:00: Hope Greenberg: “Dressing Jane Austen”

Can one dance comfortably in a corset? Is it true that some ladies dampen their gowns to make them cling revealingly? Must one wear white all the time? Jane Austen’s novels and letters contain many fashion tidbits. Modern films offer their own take on the fashions of the period, but do they get it right? Through a collection of over 400 fashion images we will explore the revolutionary changes in fashion during Austen’s lifetime. Shifts, trains, petticoats, apron gowns, pelisses, spencers, narrow backs, high waists–we’ll see them all. Then together, we will try to solve a fashion mystery.

About the Speaker:

Hope Greenberg holds an MA in History from the University of Vermont where she is currently an Information Technology Specialist in the Center for Teaching and Learning, promoting and supporting the use of technology to further research and education. She is also an avid English Country Dancer. Her fascination with the creation and wearing of historic clothing as a way of gaining insight into the past predates all of these. Her absolute joy at the willingness of historic clothiers to share their insights is matched only by her gratitude to the museums and collectors that increasingly publish examples of extant clothing and fashion plates online so that we may continue to develop our understanding of clothing of all periods.

Hope you can join us for this Afternoon of All Things Austen!

c2012 Jane Austen in Vermont

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Hello Dear Readers:  a guest post today from Melody, a young woman on her first adventure at the Jane Austen Festival in Louisville, Kentucky last weekend – she has shared her thoughts and several pictures of the her time there, so enjoy – and perhaps plan to go next year – she highly recommends it!

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The Louisville, Kentucky fifth annual Jane Austen Festival was held at Locust Grove. I wasn’t aware of the history behind this historical house. The home belonged to Maj. William and Lucy Clark Croghan. When George Rogers Clark was injured, Lucy invited her brother to stay at Locust Grove. So who is George? He was the older brother of William Clark, (who was part of the Lewis and Clark expedition), he founded Louisville, and quite a few other notable things important to the nation.

This is the North facing side of Locust Grove. It has a nice size porch.
The south side, which I would think
visitors would enter wasn’t as grand imo.

One of the notable items in the house that stands out is the fact the descendants painted over a regency era portrait. Apparently they felt the red dress was gaudy and a black dress was painted on. This was found out in the restoration and they put back to the original regal red regency dress.

The portrait that was painted over

  Another fascinating fact was the entertaining parlor was on the second floor, where today, upstairs is reserved for family and entertaining is done on the main floor or possibly even the basement for those who have one.

 The entertaining parlor on the second floor 

Now for the Jane Austenites that want to hear about the festival. There were a great many visitors dressed in period reproductions that were all amazing! There was even a Regency style fashion show. The clothes were delicious and went in order according to the years they were popular. The speaker gave information on the clothes and where to find the patterns. Who knew men carried fans? The women carried cute reticules, wore pretty hats or had dainty parasols, and of course wore gloves, either long or short. The men were dashing in their finery as well.

 This lovely lady is a member of JASNA
with loads of information.
She was also in the fashion show.

 

Tailored/fitted clothing for a man 

(something that was mentioned during the fashion show was women
didn’t seem to be as concerned with gaping or perfect fits as we are today)

A man’s banyan

 I loved the detail in this purple dress. (same lady as above]

Now don’t think for a moment that this is an event purely for women. NO! There was a Gentleman’s duel. I do not know what caused the men to find it necessary to shoot at each other, but the first man to fire was the man to die. It was over within a minute. The gentleman remaining had been injured in the shoulder and was quite irked with the doctor for spending so much time with the dead man saying, “stop spending so much time with the dead man and tend to my wound!” (the duel the next day lasted longer than a minute).

Gentleman’s duel

There was also a bare knuckle boxing match that women obviously would not have attended. Or at least not women of any gentility. The ring leader gave the history of the gambling of the sport and the numerous exchange of money as the odds would change throughout. When he removed a pad of paper from his pants he wrote names and odds of the betting men. The winner of the boxing match had won a substantial amount of money.

There were fencing lessons and a demonstration on riding side saddle. It was very important what horse a gentleman rode. It reminded me of the status of the type of car one drives. There were special pay classes for how to paint a fan, and two discussions. On Saturday evening there was a ball, but since my companion is just 9 we forego that event.

Side saddle demonstration 

If you made reservations ahead of time there was afternoon tea. I recommend the lavender cake for dessert. It was deliciously moist and not overly powerful in taste.

Dr. Cheryl Kinney discussed Jane Austen’s illness and Jane’s opinion of illness and her characters’ woes. Who knew that green dresses were toxic?! It wasn’t just the clothing, but wall paper and paint as well. Green was very fashionable at that time too. Dr. Kinney asked how many people were wearing green at the event; there were quite a few! (of course they didn’t need to worry about the copper arsenic).

The final event on Sunday was “Dressing Mr. Darcy.” However, it was in reverse and he ended in a state that could make a grown woman blush. There was quite a bit of fanning happening in the audience.

Dressing Mr. Darcy

Finally, what made the event so special were the people. Everyone was so nice and the vendors were helpful. One young lady took the time to show my son a Spanish pistol’s workings with the full knowledge we were not going to buy. She even showed him how to salute with a rifle British style and American style.

One of the vendors made marbled papers that were amazing. After each one people would ooh and ahh. Of course everyone is unique. I was able to speak to the vendor on the last day and he showed me an antique book someone had given him with the marbling technique on the outside, inside, and on the edges of the pages. But the coloring was more indicative to the Victorian era, (darker, not as pretty as the Regency era).

The children gathered together and had their own fun in the meadow playing sword fights and just plain running around. I asked my son what his favorite parts were and after thinking about it he replied, “playing with the kids and the vendors.”  I was surprised. What kid enjoys shopping?

If you ever get the chance to attend a Jane Austen festival, I highly recommend it.


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About the Author ~ Melody writes:

Jane Austen came into my life, because I love history; the manners, fashion, and lifestyle. I also happen to be a book enthusiast and I like that Jane Austen tells things to the reader that makes the reader think. You must read between the lines, she doesn’t just come out and molly coddle the reader. Truth be told, I’d never been to a Jane Austen festival. I didn’t even know they took place. My son and I decided to give it a go, only because they offered so many fun “guy” events. I would not have gone otherwise. We are both happy for the adventure. We may make a tradition of it. Perhaps in period reproductions next time.

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Thank you Melody for sharing with us your observations of the Festival – maybe I will see you there next year myself!

Further Reading: from the Locust Grove website

  • You can see a performance of the bare-knuckled boxing here.
  • Bite from the Past blog on the Festival here.
 c2012 Jane Austen in Vermont

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Well, another year and yet again I am not attending The Annual Jane Austen Festival in Louisville, Kentucky that begins tomorrow; so I thought I would share the schedule so you all can be as depressed as I over what we shall be missing… you can watch this video to get into the spirit of things:

 

 The 5th  ANNUAL JANE AUSTEN FESTIVAL

JULY 21 & 22, 2012-10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. each day

Historic Locust Grove-561 Blankenbaker Lane, Louisville, KY 40207

Sponsored by: Jane Austen Society of North America, Greater Louisville

$10 admission each day

For more detailed information, please visit http://www.jasnalouisville.com/

or www.locustgrove.org

Locust Grove, a circa 1790 Georgian home and farm is just
six miles from downtown Louisville, KY.

Each day of the festival you can:

  •  Enjoy a Four-Course Afternoon Tea (several sittings each day),
  • Shop in the Regency Emporium inside and in the Shoppes of Meryton outside
    (fabric, patterns, bonnets, pre-made dresses, chemisettes, men’s waistcoats, trousers &
    tail coats, tea sets, tea, jewelry, antiquarian books, shawls, silhouette cuttings,
    miniatures painted & lots more!)
  • See a Regency Style Show,
  • Watch a bobbin lace making demonstration inside the historic home and
  • See Regency fashions on mannequins in each room of the second floor of the house.
  • The last tea of the day on Sunday is reserved as a special Children’s Tea with a menu to appeal to children.
    Perks include goodies such as a cup and saucer to take home.

Outside, under the tent hear interesting talks such as

* A Dangerous Indulgence:
Jane
Austen’s Illness and Her Doctors – this reviews possible causes of Jane Austen’s death,
her letters, the doctors that cared for her, and how updates in genetic mapping may
help us determine what caused her death. Also

*Austen-itis:
Sickness and Health in the Novels of Jane Austen -
reviews characters in the novels that suffer from illness (real and imagined).

*A one-woman theatrical performance about Fanny Kemble called,
Shame the Devil : An Audience with Fanny Kemble
will be performed under the Big Top Tent. Fanny Kemble
was a member of the famous English Kemble-Siddons acting dynasty
who married an American and moved to the American South.
She became active in the early anti-slavery movement.

*New this year, will be the Earl of Sandwich Tea Shop located near the Shoppes of
Meryton and the Big Top Tent with simple libations such as -
sandwiches, scones, cookies and drinks.

Meanwhile out on the Village Green you can expect to see:

*Side-Saddle Demonstration

*A Duel Between Gentlemen

*Tutorial on Fencing

*A Bare Knuckle Boxing Demonstration

Roving musician Jack Salt will entertain as will
Commonstock Entertainment with
shadow stories and their Potato Wagon of Wonders!

Workshops will involve learning about Tea
(Tea, Anyway you Steep it! and Play with your Leaves),
offered by Bingley’s Teas,

and How to Paint a Fan taught by Jenni Miller.

The Grand Ball will take place on Saturday evening at Spalding University in downtown
Louisville. The ball room is reminiscent of a Georgian Assembly Room. A practice
session will be held in the afternoon.

Admission is $10 each day which admits you to the Emporium, Shoppes, most
everything under the Big Top Tent and tours of the 1790 Georgian home (usually $8).

The Afternoon Tea is $20 per person, the workshops are $25 each, the theatrical
performance is $10 and the Grand Ball is $20 per person.

Advance reservations are highly recommended and begin on-line June 1st at

http://www.jasnalouisville.com

For those traveling from out-of-town, please contact Regional Coordinator Bonny Wise
 for a list of recommended B&Bs and hotels.

Answers to frequently asked questions: You do not have to be a member of the Jane
Austen Society of North America to attend the festival. Regency attire is not required,

but is admired!

2012 Festival T-shirts are available – shirt_order_form.pdf

Thank you for your interest and we look forward to seeing you!

[image from Princeton Tiger Magazine,
wherein you will find an essay on "Modern Applications of Dueling"]]

[Text from Bonnie Wise, JASNA-Louisville Regional Coordinator]

c2012

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The annual Across the Lake 2012 event put on by the Burlington English Country Dancers is already sold out this weekend for Dancers – but you are welcome and encouraged to join in the festivities as a Spectator, certainly more fun for those with two left feet or perhaps too shy to display an ankle to the masses! So here are the details:

Spectators are welcome to the dance sessions at the Across the Lake English Country Dance Weekend, held at the Elley-Long Music Center, 223 Ethan Allen Avenue, Colchester, VT.

Friday Night, June 8 – Welcome Dance — casual dress, 8pm to 11pm

Saturday Afternoon, June 9 – Challenging Dance Workshop in the Big Hall 1:30pm to 4:30pm

Saturday Night, June 9 – Gala Dance 8pm to 11pm — dancers are requested to wear period (typically Regency) or formal/dressy attire

The Spectator price is $10 per session — and includes the refreshments served during that session. The live music is by Bare Necessities and promises to be incredible.

Details about the Across the Lake Weekend (filled/sold out for dancers): www.burlingtoncountrydancers.org

Info about the band, Bare Necessities: http://homepages.sover.net/~marylea/bnhome.htm

Join in the fun, even if you must only stand on the sidelines – who knows, you might find yourself in a state not unlike Harriet Smith, and a Mr. Knightley might offer you his hand for a dance or two!


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Also mark your calendars for the BCD instruction series scheduled this summer at the Richmond Library: take part, learn a few steps, and next year you can advance from Spectator to Dancer, happily abandoning those left feet and ankle shyness to the sidelines…

English Country Dance

Move to joyful music in a relaxed, beginner-friendly atmosphere

Richmond Free Library
201 Bridge Street, Richmond, VT
6 Tuesday Nights in 2012: July 10, 17, 24, 31 &  August 7, 14
7:00 pm to 9:30pm

More information here: ECD class in richmond summer 2012

[from Val and Tom Medve, for the Burlington Country Dancers]

@2012 Jane Austen in Vermont

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Oh! where to begin?! As always, after a complete immersion into the long 18th-century, one is a bit befuddled for a few days, and notes, photographs, memories, and remembered conversations seem to exist in some parallel universe.  Since I am also on the road, and currently sitting in an airstream camper in the throes of a raging wind and rain storm pummeling the Oregon coast, I really AM not sure which universe I am in right now… so bear with me, as I try to do justice to the phenomenal JASNA Portland AGM! – four full days all about Northanger Abbey!

This is the first AGM I have attended without my best buddy Sara. We have been doing these annual gatherings since 1996 whenever our ridiculous schedules have allowed, but alas! this year, she was unable to be a part of it, so I ventured into potentially disastrous waters and suggested to Laurel Ann of Austenprose that we, though known to each other only through our respective Jane Austen blogs these past two+ years, we do not really know each other – I promised her a clean and neat, overly chatty, mildly snoring companion, and we decided to give it a go.  I have only been given a brief glimpse of Laurel Ann on her blog where she posted a picture of herself along side stack of Austen books in her employer Barnes & Noble store, but as I was walking down the street I spotted her a mile away and a new real time friendship was begun.  We of course got off to a beginning totally fitting for the promised weekend of “Mystery, Mayhem, and Muslin” by promptly getting stuck in the elevator – just the two of us – it stopped mid floor somewhere, lights went out, and then nothing, I mean nothing, for what of course seemed like ten minutes but was perhaps at most only thirty seconds – and then it started again – we thought this might be part of the ambience – but certainly never used THAT elevator again for the rest of the weekend [we did report it and saw no ill effects upon any other AGMers] – we did look around for a dead body, but then remembered there was only mystery, mayhem and muslin for the weekend, Murder not mentioned…

So for me, off to a meeting with the Persuasions editor, Susan Allen Ford, where we ended up conversing with one of the AGM volunteers on the joys of Georgette Heyer, had to shake ourselves to return to Jane – and then off to the Milsom Street Emporium – this year with lots of room, wonderful exhibitors – JASNA Regions tables [you should support them], Chawton House Library [you should join], Jane Austen’s Regency World Magazine [you should subscribe], antique shops, fashion displays, accessories for sale, and of course, my hangout, the BOOKS – Jane Austen Books and Traveler’s Tales [no website].  After loading up too many bags that caused worry to my back – off we went to the Portland Public Library for the exhibit “Lit Chicks: Verbal and Visual Satire in the Age of Jane Austen”  - first editons of Northanger Abbey, Emma, Persuasion, and Mansfield Park, several items of Frances Burney and other Regency works, and a number of Gillray’s cartoons – all this presented by Paula Stepankowsky, Marian La Beck and James Petts in the “Collins Gallery” – no relation to our Mr.Collins as far as we could tell – but the beauty of the architecture would more than have impressed even Lady Catherine.  Here are a few pictures of some of the books, a Francis Burney letter and a sampling of Gillray at his best –a wonderful collection and would like to have spent more time here without the crowd … I am hoping that a catalogue of the exhibition will be made available.

Repository of Arts, Literature and Fashion

Frances Burney Diary and Letters

Burney letter

Gillray's take on the Prince Regent

A quick dinner with Laurel Ann at Pastini’s – perfect Italian meal, Chianti and all … and rush back to see the evening presentation by Angela Barlow, actress, in “Jane Austen and Character: An Actor’s View.” – Barlow gave us all a pure display of her talents, from invoking Mrs. Bennet and Mrs. Elton, to conveying to us the joys of being an actor and bringing a character of Austen’s to life, of reading the “temperature” of a character [how different the temperatures of a Fanny Price and a Catherine Morland!] – how her first advice to an actor is to “READ THE BOOK!” [oh! thank goodness!] – and after a delightful journey through a variety of Austen’s characters and musings on Austen as narrator, Barlow closed with an appreciation of Austen’s courage in her choice of heroines.  I was too far away to get a good shot, but if you ever have a chance to see Ms. Barlow, in anything, get thee hence to the theater! – I for one, would clammer for her as Mrs. Bennet – just perfect!

Angela Barlow

First day nearly done! Exhausted and happy – and then long chats with Laurel Ann to end the day!

Some pictures of the Milsom Street Emporium:

reticules galore!

 Cottleston-Pye English Antiques, where I bought a blue and white coffee cup to add to my blue and white collection

And some photos of a fashion display, all hand-made costumes by a JASNA member  – I don’t think I have ever seen such loveliness outside of a museum:





More AGM musings tomorrow!

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Here are a few interesting posts about men’s clothing, two Regency related from the fairly new [since May 2010] multi-author blog, Historical Belles and Beaus, and the other on Victorian men’s fashions from the Victorian Magazine Blog.

Regency author Linda Banche has written two posts on “Gorgeous Men in Tight Breeches and Ruffled Shirts” – where she addresses the often frustrating-to-the-reader mistakes in the cover depictions  [those open shirts were really not the thing!] and the descriptions of the man’s dress [trousers, not pants]

           Gorgeous Men, Post #1   and   Gorgeous Men, Post #2

The Victorian Magazine blog, Victoriana, offers a collection of men’s various fashion options for their various activities in “Guys ‘Just Want to Have Fun’”: 

 

The Jane Austen Centre Online Magazine offers a number of articles and images on Regency men’s fashions:

 

And a number of men’s fashion plates at The Regency Fashion Page

 

and ALL those images of Men Dressing at the Costumer’s Manifesto and Jessamyn’s Regency Costume Companion

 

I could go on, and on.. if you search google for “Regency Men’s Fashions”, a mere 402,00 are retrieved – certainly a daunting task…  this just gives a small taste of what is out there – and see also the post at Historical Hussies, on “Pants Breeches and Pantaloons, Oh My!”

[Posted by Deb]

 

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Please see Kelly’s post below this for Part I – we have both been swamped these past two weeks and FINALLY getting to our respective posts on Hope Greenberg’s fabulous talk on fashion at our June 7th  JASNA-Vermont gathering …  with the beautiful backdrop of the Chapel at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and a capacity crowd …

First I append a guest post from our own Janeite Marcia: 

Fashionable Sunday in Montpelier

 Hope Greenberg’s presentation on Sunday June 7, 2009 provided much, much more than I imagined.  Who knew fashion was so complex? 

 For me, the most fascinating part was learning about how Austen used references to clothing and fashion to develop her characters.  While reading Sense and Sensibility, it was clear that Lucy Steele’s manners were lacking, her behavior even tacky.  Hope used the scene where Lucy inquires of Marianne regarding her clothing, and even her clothing allowance, to illustrate how Lucy is revealed as crass and ill-mannered. 

As Hope Greenberg described, in addition to Lucy’s inquires of Marianne, from Wickham’s (Pride and Prejudice) only needing regimentals, to Mrs. Allen (Northanger Abbey) talking of little but clothing, we are treated to exquisite development of many of the Austen characters by these brief, but powerful, references to wardrobe, clothing, and fashion.  We all accept that Lucy is uncultured, Wickham is without depth of character, and Mrs. Allen is a mere silly airhead.  These are the perfect, subtle, understated Jane Austen descriptions which leave the reader with no doubt of the author’s meaning, while wondering where the impression came from.  

While there are few enough references in the Austen novels regarding fashion and clothing, each of those mentioned by Hope Greenberg is amazingly revealing and powerful.  Thanks to Hope, those of us who attended on Sunday will be more aware of such references and techniques as we reread Austen and will certainly be able to better appreciate the genius of Jane Austen. 

It was a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  Thank you to JASNA-Vermont!

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fashion plate walking dress

Thank you Marcia for your thoughts!   We were most fortunate to have Hope spend a few hours with us - as a Humanities Computing Specialist at the University of Vermont, Hope has combined her love of history and 19th-century material and literary culture with her love of historic clothing and English Country Dance – she offered us a visual feast [with a new Macintosh program that presented all the fashion illustrations in the mode of flipping the pages of a book!] taking us through the process of dressing a lady of fashion from her linen shifts, corsets, petticoats, dresses, pelisses /spencers, to her shawls, hats and muffs, reticules, and other accessories; and dressing the man of fashion with his shirts, breaches / trousers, weskits, cravats, jackets and the glorious greatcoat – all this shown in the various fabrics and textiles of the time, with Hope’s actual dresses, fashion illustrations, and photographs from the trove of 18th and 19th century clothing in the UVM Fleming Museum.  Hope ended her talk with a quick run through the various changes in fashion over the short period from the late 1780s to the 1820s – the French influence; the military influence; the return to the classical Egyptian and Grecian styles; the waist going up; the waist going down; the petticoat as an undergarment to the petticoat as part of the main dress; Beau Brummel’s affect on male fashion; the central role of the fashion magazines – all this in a short 2-hour whirlwind of muslin, linen and silk!  [alas!  we did go over a bit!]

And as Marcia mentions above – I too learned much from Hope’s references to Austen’s use of clothing details [or lack thereof] to delineate character – Willoughby’s shooting jacket; Nancy Steele’s obsession with her appearance; the lack of description of Bingley and Darcy, yet the emphasis on Wickham’s “regimentals”; Mrs. Bennet’s ridiculous concerns with wedding clothes and carriages; Lydia’s silliness about her bonnet; Mrs. Elton in Emma [no more need be said!]; Mrs. Allen in Northanger Abbey - and only Henry Tilney [dear Henry!] being “forgiven” for his extensive clothing musings!

So we heartily thank Hope for sharing her expertise with us – we are all alot wiser about Regency fashion and more attuned to Austen’s brilliant commentary.

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Ditto Kelly’s thanks for a gracious afternoon in Montreal, a la Donwell Abbey and strawberry picking; hearing a fascinating preview of Jan Fergus’s upcoming AGM talk on “Tensions between Brothers and Sisters in Austen’s Novels”; and sharing a delicious tea with other JASNA-Montreal members [my daughter joined me for this trek to Montreal - and she loved all the Austen chatter - it is my daughter after all who got me re-reading Austen when she was studying Emma in college nearly 20 years ago - she called me up to say she seemed to be the only one in the class who thought Emma was FUNNY - I knew then and there we had raised her right!]  Anyway, I digress – a huge thank you to Elaine Bander for a wonderful afternoon!

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And a little counterpoint to my blogging partner and cohort in JASNA-Vermont – who ever said that Knightley was a “namby-pamby”??  – I always viewed him as a very strong character – so we need to have a lively discussion about this!  And of course lots to discuss about Mr. Collins – I agree that the 1995 makes him out to be SUCH a dolt [and the Lost in Austen character is just too CREEPY!] – the Elizabeth Garvie P&P rendition is much truer to the book [the music alone captures his essence] – but think we need to go back to the novel to see what Austen really says about him – and she makes no bones about making him out to be quite ridiculous.  Kelly, we should have a session JUST on Mr. Collins – I think we could get a rousing discussion going! [there is also a book just on him by the way, titled "Mr. Collins Considered" - a great place to start, as well as the Irene Collins [no relation!] book on Austen and the clergy…]

mr collins brock illus

[illustration from Pemberley.com]

Posted by Deb

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HopeGreenberg_orange-regencyJoin us in Montpelier this coming Sunday, 7 June 2009, 2 p.m., for what promises to be a fascinating discussion of Austen, fashion, and the Regency era (see our events page).

Our guest speaker, Hope Greenberg (pictured at left, in costume!), entices with the following description:

“We will have two halves, with a break in between. The first half discusses Austen’s use of clothing in the novels (who talks about clothing; how it reflects or delineates the character, etc.), and also Austen’s own comments, as mentioned in her letters. This is followed by an overview of clothing and Regency ‘style.’

A break for refreshments [kindly contributed by our Vermont Chapter members!] will give the audience time to look at the costumes on display. [We also hope some audience members will be coming IN COSTUME... But that we shall see!]

The second half covers ‘seeing’ historic clothing: How do paintings, fashion plates, or extant garments help (or hinder) us from figuring out what the clothing actually was like, how it changed, how to recognize different time periods.”

Plenty of time for questions and audience interaction. So MARK YOUR CALENDARS (if you haven’t already). See you at Vermont College of Fine Arts on the 7th!

P.S. – check out the fabulous AUSTEN-related books on our merchandise page: we’ll be having a “boutique” at the talk! All proceeds benefit JASNA-Vermont and our effort to bring free and open to the public events centering on All Things Austen.

fashion plate dancing

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Please also make note that the Burlington Country Dancers are hosting their annual Across the Lake Event this weekend as well:  see their website for more information, reservations and admission costs at www.peter.burrage.net/dance

Location: the Elley-Long Music Center,223 Ethan Allen Ave., Colchester, VT

Friday June 5, 2009
8pm to 11pm – Casual Dress -    Welcome Dance for All
    with Gene Murrow & Bare Necessities

Saturday June 6, 2009
1:30pm to 4:30pm – Casual Dress (Choose big or small hall when you arrive)
    BIG HALL ~  Gene’s Dance Workshop for Experienced Dancers
    with Gene Murrow & Bare Necessities
        
    SMALL HALL ~  Review Session for All
    with Orly Krasner & Impropriety’s Laura Markowitz

Sunday, June 7, 2009 [Location: at the Jericho Community Center]
    Brunch 9:30am to 11:30am ~ Informal dancing 11:30am to 12:30pm
    with Wendy Gilchrist & Fine Companions (Lee & Julian Shepherd, Charlene  Thomson, Cheryl Spiese)

country dance pic

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Hope you can join us for any and all events!

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A few thoughts for this week….

  • Again, I encourage you to visit Austenprose for the delightful and on-going discussion of Mansfield Park.  Laurel Ann has created an inspiring 17-day journey through the book, movies, audios, etc.  Please particpate by posting your thoughts on Fanny and perhaps win one of her giveaways along the way…
  •  The JASNA site has added a most helpful section:  a map for each book to guide the reader around the England of Austen’s fiction.  This section reproduces maps of the novels from Where’s Where in Jane Austen . . . and What Happens There, by Patrick Wilson, published by the Jane Austen Society of Australia (JASA). The maps include both real and fictional places, and the book provides information about more than 400 locations in Austen’s fiction. The book is available for purchase on JASA’s web site
  • The JASA site is a minefield of Austen information… there is a great selection of book reviews; and click here for their reviews comparing ten biographies of Austen….
  • And back at the JASNA site, you can read the winning essays for 2008 from High School and College students.  The topic was on the new Masterpiece Theatre adaptations (essays are available in full-text) 

I have discovered the Dressing Jane website…read the newsletters about fashion in Jane Austen’s time as well as the Dressing History site for all possible types of fashion reproductions for purchase.

This has little to do with Jane, other than the fashion obsession, but see this great article  “Dressing by the Decades” in the Calgary Herald on what to wear this season….you can pick your favorite fashion style and rest easy (but alas! no regency gowns in sight!)

 

  • Oxford University has several online courses of interest:  on Jane Austen; the Brontes; Reading Victorian Fiction (Dickens, Trollope, Eliot, and Hardy); Fiction of Victorian Women (Eliot, Gaskell, Oliphant, and others) [but alas! the courses are quite expensive for a non-EU participant]
  •  For you Walter Scott fans (and indeed, Scott loved Austen, so he should be reverenced…), the Edinburgh University Press has just published two of Scott’s “undecipherable and unfit for publication” stories.  See the full article at the Guardian.uk
  • For those costume-drama lovers out there, link to this Mail Online (U.K.)  article about the latest P&P (Lost in Austen) and Hardy’s Tess, both starring the latest Bond girl….
  • A new book titled “Who the Hell is Pansy O’Hara?” tells the back stories of 50 of the greatest books… and Austen’s Pride & Prejudice is one of the books discussed…
  • Becoming Jane Fansite has been posting an Austen quote each week…. click here for this week’s choice, one of my favorites from Persuasion…
  • Jane Austen’s World has another lovely post on The Etiquette of Calling Cards
  • Pamela Aiden, the author of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman Series,  has a new work she is publishing online called Young Mr. Darcy…. click here for the first 2 chapters (this news as per the Central New Jersey JASNA Chapter)
  • The New Jersey Chapter is also again requesting comments on Jane Austen…10 words that best describe Austen and her work.  Click here to participate and see other comments.

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