Happy Birthday, Jane Austen

16 December, 1775 –  16 July, 1817
In her brief 41 years and in only six complete novels, some juvenilia, unfinished works, a few poems and letters, Jane Austen provided us with enough material to fascinate generations of readers, admirers, scholars, and assorted experts.  Not to mention film and television series producers and sequel-writers.
Victoria here, just back from a luncheon celebrating the 237th anniversary of Jane Austen’s birth.  Last week, I attended a tea in honor of the same event presented by the Chicago region of JASNA at the Fortnightly.
 Christmas Tree at Chicago’s Fortnightly

Lucia Mauro of Loyola University spoke on “Social Dance in Jane Austen’s Time,” tracing the history and significance of the various types of dance in the regency era.  As always, a full house enjoyed both the talk and the lovely tea.
Lucia Mauro, left, and Elisabeth Lenckos, JASNA-GCR Program Chair
Celebrating Jane Austen’s birthday at festive North Hills Country Club
The Wisconsin region of JASNA held a gala luncheon on December 15 at beautiful North Hills, where we toasted our Jane and ate delicious Beef Wellington.  Yum.  Trifle for dessert.

Our speaker, Emily Auerbach, professor of English at UW-Madison gave a most entertaining presentation drawn from her research for a chapter of the Cambridge University Press’s upcoming Companion to Pride and Prejudice, to be published in the summer of 2013.  Entitled “Pride, Prejudice, and Proliferationn: Sequels, Prequels, Mash-ups, Adaptations, and Permutations,” her talk presented a partial view of 200 years of continuations, etc. of Pride and Prejudice.  She explained that no sooner did she update a draft of the chapter than new versions appear, an extraordinary number of variations that testify to Jane Austen as her own “BRAND.”  It is, she said, a compliment to Austen’s universal characters and the power of her sparkling novel.
from left, Liz Cooper, outgoing regional chair; Emily Auerbach; and Judy Beine, incoming chair
In a few days, 2013 begins, marking 200 years since Miss Austen published Pride and Prejudice, probably her most beloved novel.  It leads the pack in terms of plays, movies, tv versions, sequels and prequels, and adaptations into other time periods and cultures.  I intend to attend many events to mark that anniversary too. I hope you will find an event — whether a talk, a tea or a garden tour to celebrate too.  Check out www.jasna.org to see what is offered.  Next year’s AGM is in Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 27-29, 2013.  The theme is Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice…Timeless.
And if you can’t find an event in your back yard, participate online:
Jane Austen’s House Museum
Chawton House Library
Jane Austen Center, Bath
Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine

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