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Dear Gentle Readers: Today I welcome Margaret Harrington, a member of JASNA and happily for us, the Vermont Region. Margaret recently returned from her immersion in Sense and Sensibility at the Jane Austen Summer Program at UNC Chapel Hill, June 12-15, 2014. She shares with us her thoughts with pictures – looks to have been a delightful adventure!

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The Jane Austen Summer Program at UNC ~
Sense & Sensibility Revisited”

by Margaret Harrington, JASNA Vermont member

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Jane Austen’s juvenilia play “Jack and Alice” given a lively performance

[Note: JASP has graciously made this production available online - you can view it here:
http://janeaustensummer.org/2014/06/30/2015-jasp-video-of-theatricals-jack-and-alice/ ]

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I experienced blissful immersion in Jane Austen’s novel Sense and Sensibility during this four day conference at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. From the gracious reception at the UNC Friday Center throughout the days and evenings of serious enjoyment, I conclude that this was a wonderful personal adventure. There were lectures, teas, regency dancing, a play, movies, intense conversations about Jane Austen, and some thunder storms. The conference offered study of the book itself, provided insight into the culture in which it was written, and even gave a pleasant glimpse of one or two aspects of contemporary culture in the American south.

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A warm welcome from Emma, Emily and Rachel at the UNC Friday Center

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‘Elevenses’ of clotted cream and scones dished up by Gisele Rankin of JASNA North Carolina

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 Lunch on the lawn with kite flying and shuttlecock

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The ‘Sense and Sensibility’ Ball at Gerrard Hall, UNC

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 Drama at the Sense and Sensibility Ball

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Dr. James Thompson of UNC-Chapel Hill co-hosted the event and set the tone for the conference as both formally educational and informally warm and welcoming.

 

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Inger Brodey

The initial lecture by his co-host Dr. Inger Brodey, also of UNC-Chapel Hill, entitled “Making Sense of Sensibility” placed us in the Regency world of the philosophers and other writers who influenced Jane Austen’s concepts. I gleaned from this opening lecture that to interpret the novel as a dichotomy between sense and sensibility or as a tension between the two mind sets of Marianne and Elinor is to limit perception.  Professor Brodey opened up a whole world of ideas which were accessible to Austen and evidenced in her writing and showed me that Sense and Sensibility has a richness of texture I had not been aware of prior to the lecture.

In fact the days were planned to deepen understanding of the novel with 15 minute context corners on the subjects of Law and Inheritance, Childhood and Education, Medicine and Illness, and the Clergy and the Church. These were followed with 45 minute Context Response sessions during which we, the participants, exchanged ideas. Then of course there were ‘Elevenses’ with scones and clotted cream. There were boxed lunches on the lawn with kites, battledore and shuttlecock as period entertainment. There were dance workshops to prepare us for the Regency ball. There was an amusing and informative lecture by Colgate University Professor Deborah Knuth Klenck on: “Jane Austen’s School of Rhetoric: Style, Substance and ‘Delicacy of Mind.’”

 

 

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Jade Bettin, UNC-Chapel Hill, demonstrates (on a willing participant) the way to corset up properly during her lecture “‘But he talked of flannel waistcoats’: How Clothing Makes the Men and Women of S&S.”

 

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 Ruth Verbunt of the North Carolina Regency Assembly after her insightful talk “Mourning in the Time of Jane Austen”

[see also their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/regencyassembly.ofnorthcarolina ]

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Dr. Robert Clark, University of East Anglia, Norwich, England, author of The Literary Encyclopedia, was an amazing speaker in the two lectures he gave to expand and deepen our understanding of Sense and Sensibility. In the first he concentrated on the economic facts that drove Jane Austen’s world, such as The Inclosure Act of 1773, which diminished the number of people who could own land to under 500 in all of England, entitling an oligarchical society to the prestige and privileges Austen’s characters scramble so hard to hold onto in her novels. In his second lecture entitled “The White Glare of Bath,” Professor Clark made Jane Austen’s playground of intrigue, balls, and shopping come alive up from the ground in the white stones and mortar and rubble that savvy developers offered to the rich for their recreational homes. In his remarkable lecture I could see Jane Austen moving about Bath, shopping and promenading, visiting, plotting her novels.

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 Dr. Robert Clark relaxes a moment after his talk on Bath

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All in all my experience was totally wonderful and I’d recommend it to Janeites everywhere. Next year’s conference is entitled “Emma at 200.”

Imagine that!

I leave you with a picture of Janeite Maureen O’Connor who attended the conference from far away Brooklyn and dressed authentically for every occasion:

Maureen O'Connor

Maureen O’Connor

Text and images by Margaret Harrington, with thanks!

I suggest we all mark our calendars now for next June 18-21, 2015! info is here: http://janeaustensummer.org/

 c2014, Jane Austen in Vermont

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austen silhouette

Our Next Meeting!

June 8, 2014

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

A Peek into Jane Austen’s Regency World 

Lisa Brown

“‘Of Rears and Vices I Saw Enough’~
The Royal Navy in Mansfield Park and Persuasion

and A. Marie Sprayberry

“Sex, Power, and Other People’s Money ~
The Prince Regent and His Impact on Jane Austen’s Life and Work” 

Sunday, 8 June 2014, 1:00 – 3:30 p.m.

Fletcher Free Library, Fletcher Room
235 College St, Burlington VT

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Lisa & Marie

Lisa & Marie

Lisa Brown will present an enlightening talk on how the Royal Navy figures in Mansfield Park and Persuasion. We will learn about the uniforms, the ships, the rating system, prize money, and more; as well as discover how very knowledgeable Jane Austen was about the Royal Navy because of her brothers’ involvement. Various uniforms will be on display – but, alas! without a Captain Wentworth in sight!

A. Marie Sprayberry investigates why Jane Austen wrote of the Princess of Wales in 1813: “Poor Woman, I shall support her as long as I can, because she is a Woman, & because I hate her Husband.” The Prince Regent brazenly personified the three themes of sex, money, and power – as long as the money was someone else’s! But did Jane Austen have particular reasons for disdaining him? And how might her views of the Prince have influenced her work? Photos of contemporary royal commemorative china and medals will illustrate the talk, all from Marie’s collection.

*Lisa and Marie are co-regional coordinators of the Syracuse Region; Lisa also co-chairs the Rochester Region, is an ECD teacher, owns a Regency era costume business, and has given various talks on the Royal Navy and Regency fashion; she works as a proof reader. Marie has spoken to JASNA on the Prince Regent and will be speaking at the Montreal AGM on “Fanny Price as Fordyce’s Ideal Woman?” She works from her Syracuse home for a NYC-based publisher.

Free & open to the public ~ Light refreshments served 

You can see the event flyer here: June 2014 flyer

Hope you can join us!

c2014, Jane Austen in Vermont

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JARW69-cover
The May/June 2014 issue (No. 69) of Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine is published and is being mailed to subscribers this week.

In it you can read about:

•An exclusive interview with Deirdre Le Faye, doyenne of the Austen world, about her career as a Janeite and her new book

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[Note: Le Faye’s new book, Jane Austen's Country Life: Uncovering the Rural Backdrop to her Life, Her Letters and Her Novels, is due out June 1, 2014 from Frances Lincoln]

Belle, the new film about Lord Mansfield’s great-niece, is out soon

[Note: the film is released May 1, 2014; cover image is of Belle, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw; for more information and the trailer see http://www.foxsearchlight.com/Belle/ ]

•Could an eminent harpist have discovered Jane ‘s piano tuning key?

Godmersham 1779 - wikipedia

Godmersham 1779 – wikipedia

•Glorious Godmersham: a visit to the home of Edward Austen Knight

•Adlestrop, the village that influenced both Jane and a poet

•How Georgian England was fascinated by spiritualism and the supernatural

*Plus News, Letters, Book Reviews and information from Jane Austen Societies in the US, UK and Australia

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To subscribe [and you should!] click here – and make sure that you are among the first to read all the news from Jane Austen’s Regency World.

 c2014, Jane Austen in Vermont

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Pardon delay in announcing the winner of the giveaway of The Introduction of  Gentleman by Heather Brothers – I was trying to get in touch with the winner before I announced it on the blog and have now heard back – Fran Politi of our own JASNA-Vermont group wins the honors this time around! – Congratulations Fran! – very happy to have you win. Heather will send off the book to you pronto … I think you will enjoy it very much! And thank you Heather for the interview and offering a copy to us – the best of luck to you in your first publishing venture!

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c2014, Jane Austen in Vermont

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Gentle Readers:  I welcome today one of our very own JASNA-Vermont members, Heather Brothers, to talk to us about her very own, just published, novel! – The Introduction of a Gentleman.  A long-time Jane Austen fan, Heather has been coming to our meetings for the past several years – she loves the Regency period and this is her first go at a Regency historical romance – it is a great read, full of all the things you expect from the genre – good guys, bad guys, a naïve heroine, an estate in jeopardy, a bit of a mystery, and a fine Scottish setting both in the country and in Glasgow. Heather has graciously offered to tell us a little bit about herself and how she came to write this first book, and she will provide a free copy for a giveaway -  see below for the giveaway details. 

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Deb: Welcome Heather!  All of us in Vermont are very excited for you, about this, your first published book! Tell us something about The Introduction of a Gentleman and what set you on the path to writing it… 

Heather: The seed that grew into my love of the Regency Era was planted – as many others may have experienced themselves – when I saw the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. I lived in Australia at the time and was visiting my best friend’s family. Being proper members of the Commonwealth, they were shocked that I had not seen P&P. The first day at their house we sat and watched it from beginning to end – I was so enraptured by it, I didn’t want to leave my seat for anything!

Being your typical enthusiast, I proceeded to throw a Pride and Prejudice New Year’s Eve party the following year – complete with country dance jammed into a most decidedly un-Pemberleyan dance hall (i.e. the living room of a cape house.) I had movie-viewing parties, read through each novel, connected with other Janeites, and after a trip to Scotland in 2008 for a friend’s wedding, I began the story that is The Introduction of a Gentleman.

Inspired by names such as Carrick and Strathclyde (both of which my husband has refused to name any future children), I began thinking and working on who these characters would be. And being fairly recently graduated from that tumultuous match-making time of life myself, I wanted to create that time and those feelings in Laura’s life.

After two years, I had created a rough draft and then fell victim to the precursor to the most glorious blessing one can possibly experience in life. Morning sickness led to hospitalization. Thank heaven for anti-nausea medication. And incidentally, if you throw up in the waiting room, you’ll get a hospital bed really fast. Keep that in mind.

My daughter being born was so amazing and during the nursing phase I was able to read a ton of books – the first being re-reading Emma. I learned so much about writing from that intense reading-filled timeframe.

I found that self-publishing really relies on your network of friends and family members. I got three critical reviews from friends – one who is a published writer, one who is an award-winning writer and Regency Era subject matter expert, and one who has a PhD in the Classics and is qualified to teach writing at the college level. My husband was also an invaluable help since, in self-publishing, you have to do all the formatting yourself (i.e. become a software expert.) I would really recommend Createspace, though. They have a lot of tools and all the channels set up for you.

And this is how I come to be where I am now. I really hope you enjoy The Introduction of a Gentleman.  It doesn’t compare to the works of Jane Austen, but I think it’s a good read if you like that era.

Deb: What sort of reading have you done to prepare you to write a Regency historical novel?

Heather: Reading Jane Austen’s novels are in themselves a tutorial on many levels. I have also read some great books about the era – most recently The Jane Austen Handbook by Margaret Sullivan. I have done online research as well as learned a lot from the JASNA-Vermont meetings.

Deb: How long have you been reading Jane Austen? And what is your favorite book? Your favorite thing about her?

Heather: Interestingly, I ordered Sense and Sensibility from the Scholastic Book Club when I was in 9th grade. I tried to read it butcover-persuasion-oxford couldn’t understand who everyone was, so gave up. Fortunately, through increased brain development and a more keen interest, since that time, I have been able to enjoy each novel.

My favorite book is Persuasion. What I love about Jane Austen is how funny she is and how brilliant she was in weaving everything together in these books. I’ve written an essay on the book Persuasion called “Might I Persuade You?” which I hope to record in an audio format. After listening to the audio version so wonderfully performed by Juliet Stevenson, I was struck by just how hilariously and wonderfully Jane Austen wrote. The other aspect of Persuasion that is so great is the theme of redeemed love and second chances – which is just irresistible.

Deb: Are you working on another novel? And if so will it be set in the same time period as The Introduction of a Gentleman? Will you continue with any of the characters?

Heather: I am working on another novel – but it is a present-day story set in Vermont about a 10-year old girl who wants to figure out a family mystery amidst her quirky aunts, uncles and grandparents:  Your typical Vermont family.

Deb: Sounds like Cold Comfort Farm in Vermont! Can’t wait! What other kinds of books do you enjoy reading?

Heather:  My favorite books right now are Alexander McCall Smith’s Isabel Dalhousie series and the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series.

Deb: You mention a trip to Scotland and the reason why it is the setting for your book, but have you travelled to other places in the UK as well, specifically to Jane Austen country in England?

Chatsworth-wp

Chatsworth House and Bridge [Wikimedia Commons ]

Heather: My travels in Scotland helped me decide the general areas that I wanted things to take place. Sir William Blair’s country home, for instance, is based on a castle that my husband and I visited. Other scenes were inspired by a prior trip to England. One of my aunts used to live in Nottingham. When visiting her, she took me to some amazing sites like Chatsworth, but this was before I became an Austen fan – so I didn’t realize what I missing out on! I actually had no idea what Chatsworth was prior to her taking me there. I was 18 at the time – with so much to learn! So another trip to England is definitely a hope.

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Hope Greenberg

Deb:  You dedicate the book to your sister, and also “To my husband, who came with me to my first Jane Austen Society meeting…on fashion.”  Was that at a JASNA-Vermont meeting, or another meeting somewhere else? 

Heather: Yes – the dedication refers to my first JASNA meeting – the one where Hope Greenberg spoke in Montpelier at the Vermont College of Fine Arts! I loved it and actually mentioned it to Hope at the Christmas tea when she wore her wonderful dress and hat to that meeting. I have been coming to JASNA meetings – when I could (i.e. not when Claire was tiny…) – since that meeting. [Ed. This meeting was on June 7, 2009 – with our very own regency fashionista Hope Greenberg on “Fashion in Jane Austen’s World” and a great intro to JASNA-Vermont for Heather! (and her husband!)] 

Thanks so much for having me here Deb!

 Deb: Thank you Heather! – and wishing you a great deal of luck with your first publishing endeavor.

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Plot synopsis: In 1797 Laura McCay searches for her path and a husband in the Scottish gentry. When the intriguing Mr. Strathclyde arrives at the May Ball, Laura is captivated by both his stature and his status. Her close friend, Carrick, deplores both the change he sees in Laura and Mr. Strathclyde’s growing influence over her. Heedless of the ramifications, Laura follows after Mr. Strathclyde, leaving family responsibilities and friends behind in the country. Laura disregards Carrick’s admonitions and throws herself into the city life of concerts, dresses and fashionable balls, only to find that not everything is as it seems….

The Introduction of a Gentleman at Amazon
ISBN: 978-1492725480
$8.99
[there is one online on Amazon for $999.11 – don’t buy that one… :)] 

About the Author:

Heather and Claire2

Heather Brothers and daughter Claire

What Amazon says: Heather Brothers is an avid Jane Austen fan and has had the pleasure of visiting Scotland several times. She lives in Vermont with her family.

More detail from Heather:  I was born and raised mostly in Vermont, with three years of my childhood spent in Germany. I went to McGill University in Montreal, and spent one year in Australia. I studied Political Science, German and French, and like many with a liberal arts degree, my job doesn’t reflect my studies. I work as a loan analyst at the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, where I have worked for eight and a half years.

I love going to Shelburne Farms in the summer with my daughter and husband. My favorite restaurant is Mirabelle’s downtown – which has the best hot chocolate. I’m beginning to wonder if it’s become an addiction, seeing as I stop there every Sunday before church and am on a first name basis with the staff…

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Book Giveaway 

Please leave a comment or a question for Heather at the end of this post and you will be entered into a random drawing for a copy of The Introduction of a Gentleman.  Deadline is Tuesday January 21, 2014, 11:59 pm.  I will announce the winner on Wednesday January 22nd.  US entries only please. [sorry about that – postage rates are sky-high to everywhere else…]

C2014, Jane Austen in Vermont

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Another book to be added to your wish list, due out early December!

ja-and-arts

Jane Austen and the Arts: Elegance, Propriety, and Harmony
Edited by Natasha Duquette and Elisabeth Lenckos.
Lehigh U P / Rowman & Littlefield, 2013

What makes this book so special to JASNA-Vermont is that one of the chapters is by our founding member Kelly McDonald! – see chapter 2 in the table of contents below, and her blog post on it here. Congratulations Kelly!

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About the book, from the Rowman & Littlefield website:

Contributions by Jessica Brown; Diane N. Capitani; Christine Colón; Alice Davenport; Deborah Kennedy; Kathryn L. Libin; Kelly McDonald; Belisa Monteiro; Jeffrey Nigro; J. Russell Perkin; Erin J. Smith; Vivasvan Soni; Melora G. Vandersluis and Frederick A. Duquette.

The essays collected in Jane Austen and the Arts; Elegance, Propriety, and Harmony examine Austen’s understanding of the arts, her aesthetic philosophy, and her role as artist. Together, they explore Austen’s connections with Edmund Burke, Adam Smith, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Madame de Staël, Joanna Baillie, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Mary Anne Schimmelpenninck, and other writers engaged in debates on the sensuous experience and the intellectual judgment of art. Our contributors look at Austen’s engagement with diverse art forms, painting, ballet, drama, poetry, and music, investigating our topic within historically grounded and theoretically nuanced essays. They represent Austen as a writer-thinker reflecting on the nature and practice of artistic creation and considering the social, moral, psychological, and theological functions of art in her fiction. We suggest that Austen knew, modified, and transformed the dominant aesthetic discourses of her era, at times ironically, to her own artistic ends. As a result, a new, and compelling image of Austen emerges, a “portrait of a lady artist” confidently promoting her own distinctly post-enlightenment aesthetic system.

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Table of Contents:

Preface: Jane Austen’s Critique of Aesthetic Judgment by Vivasvan Soni
Introduction by Natasha Duquette and Elisabeth Lenckos

I.  The Fine Arts in Austen’s World: Music, Dance, and Portraiture

Ch 1. “Daily Practice, Musical Accomplishment, and the Example of Jane Austen”  – Kathryn Libin
Ch 2.”A ‘Reputation for Accomplishment’: Marianne Dashwood and Emma Woodhouse as Artistic Performers” –  Kelly McDonald
Ch 3. “Miss Bingley’s Walk: The Aesthetics of Movement in Pride and Prejudice” – Erin Smith
Ch 4. “The Sister Artist: Cassandra Austen’s Portraits of Jane Austen in Art-Historical Context” – Jeffrey Nigro

II. Austen and Romanticism: Female Genius, Gothicism, and Sublimity

Ch 5 – “Portrait of a Lady (Artist): Jane Austen’s Anne Elliot, Madame de Staël’s Corrine, and the Woman of Genius Novel” – Elisabeth Lenckos
Ch 6 – “Jane Austen’s Comic Heroines and the Controversial Pleasures of Wit” – Belisa Monteiro
Ch 7 – “An Adaptable Aesthetic: Eighteenth-Century Landscapes, Ann Radcliffe, and Jane Austen” – Alice Davenport
Ch 8. “Exploring the Transformative Power of Literature: Joanna Baillie, Jane Austen and the Aesthetics of Moral Reform” – Christine Colón
Ch 9. “Jane Austen’s Influence on Stephenie Meyer” – Deborah Kennedy

III. Austen in Political, Social, and Theological Context

Ch 10. “Aesthetics, Politics, and the Interpretation of Mansfield Park” – Russell Perkin
Ch 11. “Reflections on Mirrors: Austen, Rousseau, and Socio-Politics” – Melora Vandersluis
Ch 12. “‘So much novelty and beauty!’: Spacious Reception through an Aesthetic of Restraint in Persuasion” – Jessica Brown
Ch 13. “Augustinian Aesthetics in Jane Austen’s World: God as Artist” – Diane Capitani
Ch 14. “‘Delicacy of Taste’ Redeemed: The Aesthetic Judgments of Austen’s Clergymen Heroes” – Fred and Natasha Duquette

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Due out in December, you can pre-order the book here – the ebook will be available this month for a penny less!

978-1-61146-137-4 • Hardback -December 2013 • $80.00 • (£49.95)
978-1-61146-138-1 • eBook – November 2013 • $79.99 • (£49.95)

You can also pre-order it here for a little less at Amazon.

[Text and image from the Rowman website]

C2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

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I welcome today JASNA member Janeite Bonnie, as she offers us the tale of her time-travel adventure at Jane Austen Summer Camp, sponsored by the JASNA-Connecticut Region on July 26-28, 2013. Bonnie was, alas! without a working camera, and it is with thanks that I use fellow camper Tess Quinn’s photographs!  [Tess is the author most recently of Pride Revisited.]

Enjoy all – so sorry I was not there – hopefully next year! [I was at the Middletown Inn a few years ago for a wedding, and I can attest to it being the perfect setting for anything to do with Jane Austen!]

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I was a last-minute registrant for the Jane Austen Summer Camp, and registered for only the second half of the weekend, taking a miss on the workshops on Saturday morning because I had either attended similar workshops before or had skills that did not require workshops such as were offered. I drove down from VT to Middletown, CT on Saturday afternoon wondering what to expect in terms of the area in which the event took place, since such things do tend to color my experience. As I turned onto Main Street, I spied a row of 18th century clapboard houses across the street, and I thrilled to the sight. When I pulled up to the gate of the Inn at Middletown, I was immediately favorably impressed. The Inn at Middletown has the look of an early 19th century manor house, with wings, snubby portico, and miniature curved drive. When I walked inside, the Inn continued to enchant me with its central curved staircase, immense chandelier, fireplace, and patterned marble floor. The room I shared with my friend Shari was tasteful, but I barely had time to enjoy it before I had to begin my transformation into a Regency lady.

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 Middletown Inn [Wikipedia]

Our Saturday evening began with gathering in the second floor lobby, where alcoholic beverages were dispensed to those willing with shillings. Some faces were familiar; we have crossed paths at other JASNA, time-travel, and dance events. Most of us, I am gratified to report, were dressed in period outfits, and we exchanged compliments and admiring looks.

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Dinner before the Ball!

When we entered the conference room for dinner, I was pleasantly surprised to see it looking period-appropriate, too, with nicely painted woodwork, wallpaper, double-hung windows dressed up in patterned draperies, wall sconces, a boarded-up fireplace (well, it *is* summer) with a mantel and mirror above, and a sideboard in a recess with a mirror overhanging it.  Of course, I made my way to the center table so that I could have a great seat for the lecture after dinner by Irene Urban, who is known to me through Regency dance. She is a maven of Regency cookery, but more of her soon.

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 Table setting

The table was dressed up with a sweet urn of colorful flowers, and everyone had gifts of a sandalwood fan and chocolates in front of her place setting. Lovely chocolates, by the way: They looked like cameos, with a milk chocolate base and a silhouette Jane Austen silhouetted in white chocolate. We started off dinner with a delicious cold soup of Lord-knows-what, but the ingredient I do remember is champagne.  More alcohol — terrific for loosening the joints and inhibitions for dancing! Everyone enjoyed their main course, too. I had already heard praise of the Inn at Middletown’s cuisine, but tasting was believing.  The presentation was also quite lovely.  Well done!

We did not enjoy a last course of dessert because that was saved for the break during the ball.  However, Irene Urban’s lecture on Regency dining was a delicious treat for the mind, and I would have willingly gone back for seconds and thirds, but it was all too quickly over, with no Q and A session.  Irene dropped tantalizing tidbits such as what was stocked in a Regency larder, including all the dead animals, which she accompanied with an etching of the same.  I would imagine that if cruel Regency parents had wanted to punish their naughty little ones, they could have locked them in a dark pantry for an hour.  Irene is not an all-talk-and-no-action lady; if you have ever attended an event with which she is connected, you are treated to period delights created from recipes that she has adapted from vague original recipes in her collection of period cookbooks.

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Susan de Guardiola and her Soldiers

Next up was the ball, which was called by Susan de Guardiola, a Regency dance expert. The dances were simple to suit those who had never danced period dances before. The room was splendidly lit up, quite full of company, but not insufferably hot, so we were spared the trials of E. and M.  The crowd organized into two longways sets, and off we went, balancing, dos-a-dosing, slipping, turning, gazing, flirting, and attending.  I think we all acquitted ourselves rather well, and as a reward were treated to sumptuous desserts during the break, as well as the raffling off of two splendid gift baskets and several smaller gifts.

ball-everyone-quinn

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Sunday’s activities began with a promenade to a local historical house museum [the General Mansfield House].  Many folks chose to dress up again, and I believe we looked fresh and charming in our day gowns, bonnets, reticules, and parasols. We gathered in the lobby, then strolled out through the front courtyard, crossed the street, and there we were.  The docent of the museum greeted us on the steps, then spent the next twenty minutes lecturing about the history of the house and its occupants while we stood, wilting.  An older woman required a chair, which my friend Shari borrowed and brought to her, and still the lecture continued!  We were finally allowed to tour the house and the grounds, which were not extensive but had a few suitable places for photo ops.

After the museum, we returned to the hotel to check out and have brunch: yummy cheese blintzes and vegetable quiche. After brunch, Dr. Mark Schenker, associate dean of Yale College, presented a lecture titled “The Richness of ‘Ordinary Life’ in Austen’s Novels”. While my author friends on either side of me scribbled away, I just sat in bliss. Dr. Schenker, while having ample notes, frequently put them down and wove witty and insightful incidental observations into his structured lecture. He is the type of speaker who leaves you glowing with happiness after you’ve been privileged to hear him.  I am embarrassed to admit that, although I

Dr. Schenker - "Is that all you can remember?!

Dr. Schenker – “Is that _really_ all you can remember?!

thoroughly enjoyed the lecture (and it made me wish that I had come for the full weekend so that I could have heard his other lecture Friday night), the only thing he said that I can quote was that he referred to Jane and Charles Bingley as the couple downstairs, the Mertzes of Jane Austen’s couples!  What a thing to remember.

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The weekend was capped with an ice cream social, the raffling off of two more marvelous gift baskets and smaller gifts, and the screening of the soon-to-be released film Austenland.  I do believe that this movie is haunting me.  I had already sat through the initial free preview for JASNA-NY members at the Sony screening room in New York and felt I had wasted two hours of my life.  I had even squeezed it into my tight schedule when it was offered because, of course, it was a one-time-only experience. However, two or three more free previews were offered after that to JASNA-NY members.  This past weekend, all the way up in mid-Connecticut I thought I could enjoy a good Austen movie with other Janeites, when, lo and behold, Austenland again popped up and put a pin in my Austen euphoria. N.B. I just received an e-mail from JASNA-NY about yet one more free preview of Austenland, to take place on Tuesday, July 30, in Manhattan!

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 Austenland company

I left very glad that I had made the effort to drive for four and one-quarter hours the 260 miles from my home to the Inn at Middletown. Everyone with whom I spoke was positive about all aspects of the gathering, from the venue to the food, from the workshops to the lectures, from the ball to the gift baskets and the camp store, all were praised.  It is testament to the tremendous concerted efforts of all the organizers of this event, and I hope to see it repeated and expanded in two years.

For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn? –Jane Austen

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[Note:  all pictures c2013 Tess Quinn, with thanks!, unless noted otherwise]

Further reading:

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

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Guest post by JASNA-Vermont member Lynne H.

Our JASNA Vermont reading group recently discussed Georgette Heyer’s Frederica.  A skeptical member asked the question: why should we read Heyer?  Georgette Heyer is a prolific 20th century novelist known for writing Historical Fiction, Regency Romances, and Mysteries.  Frederica is one of the Regency Romances. (Think Harlequin not Hawthorne….)   So, why should a thoughtful group of Austen devotees choose a Heyer Romance?    Below are some of the answers from our group’s discussion.

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Reason # 7: It’s summer.  Let’s face it, we don’t have to read Tolstoy, Dickens, or even Austen all year.  Go to the beach and relax!

Reason #6: Heyer, as mentioned above, is prolific.  If you like one of her Regency Romances, you have 33 more to choose from.

Reason #5: Heyer researched and included wonderful Regency detail.  She described the carriages, dress, and food, for example, in specific detail.   You can read about phaetons and curricles, neck-cloths and laces, and jellies and sauces.  If you have any interest in the Regency period, it is both fun and informative to have such specifics included in the novels.

Reason #4: Ditto for Regency language, cant, lingo, etc.  Heyer used Regency cant in all of her Romances.  What does it mean if someone is a “nodcock”  or a “ninnyhammer”?  What about if someone is trying to “gammon” another person?  Usually the meanings of the expressions are clear from the context; however, members of our group also mentioned further Regency reading to fill in more information about the period.  Two of the books were Jennifer Kloester’s Georgette Heyer’s Regency World, and Carolly Erickson’s Our Tempestuous Day. 

Reason #3: Heyer’s dialogue.  She used dialogue extensively. Her dialogue is witty, but it is also artfully constructed to expose and develop character.

Reason #2: Heyer’s characterization.  While her main characters are usually from the aristocracy (these are Romances after all!), they are not two dimensional ladies and gentlemen.  Within the structure of the Romance, Heyer adeptly fills in the motivations, foibles, and flaws, of her main characters.  Her writing usually depends on the characters to move the books forward.  In the following excerpt, you can see both the characterization and dialogue at work.  This is from an early episode of Frederica in which Frederica and Lord Alverstoke have their first meeting.  Frederica begins by responding to him:

            “I see. You don’t wish to recognize us, do you?  Then there isn’t the least occasion for me to explain our situation to you.  I beg your pardon for having put you to the trouble of visiting me.”

            At these words, the Marquis, who had every intention of bringing the interview to a summary end, irrationally chose to prolong it.  Whether he relented because Miss Merriville amused him, or because the novelty of having one of his rebuffs accepted without demur intrigued him remained undecided, even in his own mind.  But however it may have been he laughed suddenly, and said, quizzing her: “Oh, so high!  No, no, don’t hold up your nose at me: it don’t become you!”

Reason #1: Her books provide both escape and solace.  One of our members mentioned that she read Heyer while she was undergoing chemotherapy.  She said that during this difficult time in her life, Heyer made her laugh and gave her a place to retreat to for comfort and solace.  For Janeites this is very familiar ground!

So…if your interest has been piqued by our reasons to read Heyer, we’d suggest that you start with Frederica.  Just about all of our group members enjoyed it.    And remember, unlike Austen, there are many, many more novels to choose from for those lazy summer days or for times when you just need to escape.  Don’t be a ninnyhammer, try one.

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Frederica
Georgette Heyer
Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2008
ISBN:  1402214766
[originally published 1965]


Further reading:

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book cover-Frederica1st

[Image: 1st edition cover, Bodley Head, 1965 - Wikipedia] – I love this cover!

What is your favorite Georgette Heyer? – i.e, after starting with Frederica, which Heyer would you recommend to our book group to read next?

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

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In my ongoing posts on the variety of summer events featuring Jane Austen, here are two upcoming events this June, both sponsored by JASNA regions in New York State.

Here are the details: please visit the websites for more information on how to register…

JASNA-Rochester's Jane Austen Weekend

JASNA-Rochester’s Jane Austen Weekend

War of 1812 Bicentennial and Jane Austen Weekend

Mumford, New York – June 22 & 23, 2013 – Both war and civility of the early 19th century come alive at Genesee Country Village & Museum June 22 & 23, from 10am to 4pm. Details are here: http://www.gcv.org/EventCalendar/EventDetails.aspx?eid=15

A verity of period activities have been planned to celebrate both the 200 anniversary of the War of 1812 and the publishing of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice:

The 23rd US Regiment of Infantry will read the Declaration of War and recruit men and women to fight for our young nation against the tyranny of King George III.  See target shooting, military uniform displays, and tactical demonstrations to better understand the way war was waged in upstate New York.

The Jane Austen Society of North America: Rochester Chapter  will attempt a marathon reading of Miss Austen’s most famous work, Pride and Prejudice.  There will also be lectures and demonstrations of Social Etiquette, the Secret Language of the Fan, and an 1812 Fashion show.

The Country Dancers of Rochester (CDR) will demonstrate English Country Dancing and encourage visitor to participate in a few easy dances on the village Square.  On Saturday, June 22nd from 6pm to 9pm, CDR will also play host at a Netherfield Ball.  Open to the public, this ball is a chance to be Miss Bennet or Mr. Darcy and dance an evening away as Miss Austen herself would have done.  Enjoy live music, lively dancing, and light refreshments.  Space is limited; purchase tickets by contacting events@gcv.org.

Walk through the village to see life in a small town on the brink of war.  Visit the merchants; maybe buy a bonnet or take a carriage ride.  Drop in on the Militia Camp, or try your hand at quill pen writing.  There is so much to do for all ages.  Find out more at www.gcv.org.

  • The Jane Austen Society of North America is dedicated to the enjoyment and appreciation of Jane Austen and her writing.
  • Country Dancers of Rochester sponsors traditional New England Contra Dances and English country dances.
  • The 23rd US Regiment of Infantry is dedicated to learning about history by recreating it.
  • The Genesee Country Village & Museum was founded with the goal of preserving prime examples of architecture from upstate New York to provide historical context for the telling of the history of New York State and America in the 19th century.
23rd US Regiment of Infantry

23rd US Regiment of Infantry

View flyer for the event here: War of 1812 Weekend Press Release 13-06-22

Contact: Lisa Brown
Co-Coordinator of the Rochester Region
Jane Austen Society of North America
Jasnaroc [at ] mail [dot] com

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JASNA-NY Capital Region’s 2nd Annual Retreat

Next up is the Jane Austen Society of North America-New York Capital Region’s 2nd Annual Retreat, this year on Jane Austen’s Persuasion

When: June 30-July 1, 2013

Where: Wiawaka Holiday House in Lake George, New York

Wiawaka Holiday House on Lake George

Wiawaka Holiday House on Lake George

Join the Jane Austen Society North America-New York Capital Region for the 2nd Annual Jane Austen Retreat at Wiawaka on Lake George. Participants of the weekend will join scholars and enthusiasts in exploring Austen’s world through facilitated discussions of Persuasion, viewing and discussion of filmed adaptations of the novel, display of period dress, and presentations from well-known Austen speaker Lisa Brown and local author Marilyn Rothstein. The retreat will conclude with a picnic tea on the grounds. (Bring a lawn chair!)

In addition to planned events, the retreat will allow time for you to enjoy the splendors of the beautiful Lake George setting by exploring the cottages and grounds, the gardens, the docks and the lakes.

Schedule of Retreat Events  

Sunday, June 30

  • Morning Registration
  • Afternoon Lunch
  • Introductions and opening discussion
  • Presentation: Introduction to the Regency Era (Marilyn Rothstein)
  • Presentation: Period Navy uniforms and regalia (Lisa Brown)
  • Evening Dinner
  • View Persuasion film and discuss

Monday, July 1

  • Morning Breakfast and discussion of novel
  • Presentation: “How Captain Wentworth Made His Fortune” (Lisa Brown)
  • Afternoon Picnic Tea

Registration and Costs  

  • Members of JASNA: $15
  • Non-members: $25* [If you join JASNA before the Retreat, you will pay the member price]

View flyer for the event here: Retreat Flyer New Draft

See The Wiawaka Holiday House website   for information about costs for lodging and meals and to make your reservation.

To learn more about the Retreat or the JASNA-New York Capital Region, contact:

Pat Friesen, Regional Coordinator at:  mcfriesen2 [at] gmail [dot] com

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Hurray, this one is not so very far from me and I am planning on going – who can resist 2 days of learning, viewing, and discussing Persuasion! Anyone want to join me?

Persuasion (1995) - The Cobb

Persuasion (1995) – The Cobb

Other events posted about:

Stay tuned – more to come!

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

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In need of a summer Regency Ball or a quiet Tea or how about a whole weekend listening to various talks about Jane Austen and her Times? – well the summer of 2012 has much on offer!  A previous post outlined the summer program at the University of North Carolina.

JASNA-CT summercamp-logo

Today I write about the Jane Austen Summer Camp offered by the JASNA-Connecticut Region, July 26-28, 2013 (and see below for options to participate in some of the events if you cannot give up a whole weekend to Jane):

The historic Inn at Middletown, in Middletown, CT—built in 1810—is the setting for a weekend of learning about and practicing the activities that made up Jane Austen’s daily routine, and that of her contemporaries. During the weekend of July 26 – 28, 2013, you’ll experience balls, parties, and promenades in Regency style, and write letters with a quill and ink, as Jane would have written her daily letters and her novels. Ladies and gentlemen will learn how to draw silhouettes of family and friends, to dress their hair in true Regency fashion, and to sew pretty and useful accessories. Plus, we’ll visit the Middlesex County Historical Society in its headquarters, the General Mansfield House. Period dress is encouraged and appreciated, but not required.

Inn_at_Middletown-WP

Inn at Middletown [image: Wikipedia]

 Throughout the weekend, Jane Austen scholars and experts on Regency life will speak on various topics, and local dance expert Susan de Guardiola will teach an English contra dance workshop Saturday evening and will call the dances at the ball that night. Join fellow Austen fans for a weekend of fun and “Random Acts of Regency Naughtiness” (the retreat’s theme), whether it’s dancing more than two dances with the same partner, enjoying one of the beverages created in honor of Austen’s 6 heroes, or besting everyone else in Friday night’s “Who Wants to Be a Duchess?” game.
[from the flyer: http://www.jasnact.org/summercamp.pdf]

Dancers0001

Dance image from Vintage Dancers.org

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 A quick outline of the weekend:

1. Lectures on Austen’s cultural impact from Yale Professor Dr. Mark Schenker:

* “Sensibility and Sense: How the 18th Century Meets the 19th in Jane Austen’s Novels” (Friday night)

* “The Richness of ‘Ordinary Life’ in Jane Austen’s Novels” (Sunday)

2.  Hands-on workshops that will let you personally experience Jane Austen’s world

  • Regency Silhouettes
  • Reticules & Wallet making
  • Regency Hairstyles
  • Penmanship

1857reticule

Reticule: capacious hold-all blog

3.  Friday night reception, all meals Saturday including breakfast, lunch, tea, and dinner, and Sunday brunch. 

4.  Saturday night Dance Workshop followed by a Regency Dinner & Ball 

5.  Sunday morning costume promenade and excursion to the Middlesex County Historical Society house and gardens 

6.  Regency Naughtiness! Play our ‘Who Wants to be a Duchess game?” Friday night or stay for our optional Ice Cream Sundays event and an Austen movie

artifacts mansfield house

 Artifacts at the General Mansfield House – from their website

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Can’t devote a whole weekend to Jane? – then beginning June 1, tickets will be available for Saturday’s events (rather than the complete weekend) until spaces are sold out. Ball-only tickets will be $30; tickets for the ball + dinner + afternoon dance lesson will be $70; and the Saturday-only tickets (breakfast not included) will be $165.

DAY PASSES REGISTRATION FEES

  • Saturday pass 9:30 a.m. to midnight (includes valet parking, workshops, lunch, tea, dance workshop, dinner, Regency food lecture, Regency ball): $165.
  • Saturday BALL PLUS pass 5:45 p.m. to midnight (includes valet parking, dance workshop, dinner, Regency food lecture, Regency ball): $70.
  • Saturday BALL ONLY pass 9 p.m. to midnight (includes valet parking, Regency ball, dessert) – Cash bar available. $30.
  • Sunday pass 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (includes visit to Middlesex County historical society, brunch, keynote lecture, Sunday ice cream social and Austen movie): $65.

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dance-JASNA-CTblog[from the JASNA-CT Summer Camp Blog]

For more information on the weekend and how to register: 

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

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