Jane Austen Society of North America
2008 Annual General Meeting, Chicago, Illinois
October 2-5

"Jane Austen's Legacy: Life, Love, & Laughter"

Welcome Schedule Plenary Speakers Potpourri
Breakout Sessions Poster Sessions Diversions Banquet & Ball
Registration Hotel Local Information and Attractions Tours and Off-Site Events

Breakout Sessions

A: Friday, October 3     3:30 - 4:15 PM


A1: Anatomy of a Janeite
Jeanne Kiefer, Cave Creek, AZ

Who are the readers that constitute the true Austen legacy? Kiefer presents the results of an online survey conducted earlier this year, from which she has created a profile of 21st century Janeites.

A2: Covering Jane Austen
Deirdre Gilbert, Independent Scholar, Colorado Springs, CO
This session discusses the history of the covers of Austen’s novels. Gilbert asks many fascinating questions about “packaging” Austen, among them, why some covers sell more novels than others—or is it the inside story?

A3: An Austen Legacy: The Henry and Alberta Hirshheimer Burke Collection at Goucher College
Laurie Kaplan, Nancy Magnuson, and Carol Pippen,
Goucher College, Timonium, MD

The Hirshheimers spent over 40 years amassing material by and about Jane Austen. The panel focuses on the importance of the collection in the context of Austen’s legacy.

A4: Austen and The Importance of Being Earnest
Laura Mooneyham White, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Oscar Wilde’s most popular play, “The Importance of Being Earnest”, seems to inherit Austen’s comic spirit. White contrasts the specifics of verbal irony in Austen’s novels and Wilde’s plays, the differing treatment of the genre and plot devices, and the implications they have for Austen’s and Wilde’s differing worldviews.

A5: The Pemberley Effect: Austen’s Legacy to the Historic House Industry
Sarah Parry, Chawton House Library, Hampshire, UK
Published in Persuasions 30 (2008). “The Pemberley Effect: Austen’s Legacy to the Historic House Industry.” Persuasions 30 (2008): 113-122.
Is the real star of Pride and Prejudice Pemberley? Parry suggests that using historic houses in Austen adaptations has helped to secure their future, as they serve the film and television industry as unsurpassed backdrops. Thus, Austen’s legacy to the historic house industry is important and growing.

A6: Margaret Oliphant’s Miss Marjoribanks: A Victorian Emma
Amy Robinson, University of Florida, Gainesville
Published in Persuasions 30 (2008). “Margaret Oliphant’s Miss Marjoribanks: A Victorian Emma.” Persuasions 30 (2008): 67-75.
Fifty years after the publication of Emma (1816), Margaret Oliphant published Miss Marjoribanks (1866), whose heroine is a descendant of Emma Woodhouse. This session highlights the ways in which Oliphant’s Victorian novel stands in the tradition of Austen’s comic town novels.

A7: The Catherine Hubback Archive at the Jane Austen House Museum: Preserving the Legacies of Niece and Aunt
Alice Marie Villaseñor, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
Although sequel writing is considered a 20th century phenomenon, it was begun by Austen’s niece Catherine Hubback in 1850 when she completed The Watsons as a novel titled The Younger Sister. White highlights the importance of this sequel and how the museum preserves the legacy of writers in the Austen family. 


B: Friday, October 3     4:30 - 5:15 PM


B1: Love in the Shrubbery: Austen’s Garden Legacy
Kim Wilson, Jones Books, Madison, WI

“The garden is quite a love. . . .I go & refresh myself every now & then and then come back to Solitary Coolness.” This session takes a photographic tour through the Austen garden sites and explores the roles gardens played in the lives and loves of Austen and her characters.

B2: Louisa Sets Lord Brabourne Straight
Edith Lank, Rochester, NY

Published in Persuasions 30 (2008). “Family and Scholarly Annotations in Lord Brabourne’s Letters: Adventures of an Amateur Academic.” Persuasions 30 (2008): 76-87.
Louisa, a granddaughter of James Austen-Leigh, annotated her copy of Lord Brabourne’s (censored) collection of Austen letters with comments and corrections that have proved invaluable to biographers. Lank discusses Louisa’s observations and shares previously unpublished gossip and items from her own collection.

B3: Romanticism, Feminism, and the Role of Nature in Austen
Kadesh Lauridsen Minter, Jacksonville, FL

Minter draws on the work of feminist theorists to discuss Austen’s “Romantic” use of nature and demonstrates ways in which Austen addresses, but ultimately revises, the masculine themes set forth by the Romantic poets,
including Wordsworth.

B4: Jane of Green Gables: L.M. Montgomery’s Reworking of Austen’s Legacy
Miriam Rheingold Fuller, University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg

Montgomery recasts Austen’s plots and scenarios in her most famous book. Anne Shirley embodies characteristics of Austen’s heroines and her romantic experiences resemble those of Elizabeth Bennet and Emma Woodhouse. Fuller suggests that Montgomery inherits Austen’s legacy while creating her own.

B5: Digging Into Austen’s World
Carol Chernega, Pittsburgh, PA

As JASNA’ first International Visitor, Chernega immersed herself in Austen’s world for two months. Her session discusses how she studied gardening in Austen’s day and researched 18th century plants for Chawton House Library.

B6: Second Attachments in the Duchess of Devonshire’s The Sylph and Austen’s Sense and Sensibility
Jonathan Gross, DePaul University, Chicago, IL

Gross explores the influence of Duchess of Devonshire’s The Sylph on Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. Both works emphasize the importance of discernment in choosing a mate, and although Georgiana’s novel is very different from Jane’s, it anticipates her concern with the vicissitudes of romantic love.

B7: Father Fenimore and Aunt Jane: Jane Austen’s Influence on James Fenimore Cooper
Barbara Alice Mann, University of Toledo, OH

Mann examines the original stimulus to Cooper’s writing as well as the profound debt of his female characters to Austen’s memorable women, drawing on examples from his first novel and his famous Leather-Stocking Tales.


C: Saturday, October 4     10:15 - 11:00 AM


C1: The Geese vs. the “Niminy Piminy” Spinster: Virginia Woolf Defends Austen
Emily Auerbach, University of Wisconsin at Madison

Woolf singled Jane Austen out for praise in A Room of One’s Own. The geese in her essay “Jane Austen and the Geese” are Austen’s critics, and the session highlights ways in which 20th century authors like Woolf have attempted to rescue Austen from her geese-like critics and biographers.

C2: Shades of Austen in Ian McEwan’s Atonement
Juliette Wells, Manhattanville College, Purchase, NY

Published in Persuasions 30 (2008). “Shades of Austen in Ian McEwan’s Atonement.” Persuasions 30 (2008): 101-112.
Although McEwan cites Elizabeth Bowen, rather than Austen, as a source of inspiration for Atonement, Wells considers the novel part of the Austen legacy and discusses both the invocation and disavowal of Austen as its model.

C3: Exhibiting the Learning: Austen on Display
Phyllis Roth, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY and Annette LeClair, Union College, Schenectady, NY

Roth and LeClair discuss how their development of multi-media exhibits examining Austen’s legacy encourages students to generate fresh interpretations of the author and to “inhabit her world” in unique ways, enhancing conventional classroom experiences.

C4: The Legacy of Her Voice: Ethics and Wit in Austen’s Novel Pride and Prejudice, and Its Filmed Adaptations
Margaret McBride Horwitz, New College Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

Horwitz explores Austen’s development of a view of gentility based not on social rank, but on ethical attitudes, which Austen often conveys through wit, as illustrated in her novel, and film and television productions of Pride and Prejudice.

C5: Austen’s Womanist World
Kathleen Anderson, Palm Beach Atlantic University, West Palm Beach, FL

Though the world belonged to men in terms of political, economic, and social privilege, they occupy a marginal position in Austen’s novels. Drawing on the theories of Simone de Beauvior, Anderson suggests Austen’s women are the essential Self and her men the inessential Other.

C6: The Completions of Austen’s The Watsons and Sanditon
Kathleen James-Cavan, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon

From 1830 to 2005, writers have attempted to turn the fragments of “The Watsons” and “Sanditon” into complete novels. James-Cavan explores these efforts, which testify to the legacy of Austen who continues to inspire new writing.

C7: Austen’s Legacy of Love and Laughter to Carol Shields
Nora Foster Stovel, University of Alberta, Edmonton

Published in Persuasions 30 (2008). “‘Moral Seriousness with Comic Drama’: Austen’s Legacy of Life, Love, and Laughter to Carol Shields.” Persuasions 30 (2008): 88-100.
Shields calls herself “a devoted reader of Jane Austen” and inherits from Austen a legacy of “consummate artistry.” Stovel focuses on Shields’ biography of Austen and her Persuasions essays, and compares the novels of Austen and Shields. 


D: Saturday, October 4     1:30 - 2:15 PM


D1: Mrs. Gaskell’s North and South: Austen’s Early Legacy
Janine Barchas, University of Texas at Austin

Published in Persuasions 30 (2008). “Mrs. Gaskell’s North and South: Austen’s Early Legacy.” Persuasions 30 (2008): 53-66.
Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel (1854) may be the first rewriting, albeit unacknowledged, of Pride and Prejudice. Barchas examines familiar tropes from Austen in Gaskell’s novels, as well as Austen’s and Gaskell’s regional prejudices, pastoral South versus industrial North.

D2: Austen: End or Beginning?
Emily C. Friedman, University of Missouri at Columbia

Austen holds a curious space in literary history; three literary specialties (18th century novel, Romantics, Victorians) claim her. Friedman answers the question whether Austen is a new sort of Romantic writer, the literary heiress to novelists Richardson and Fielding, or even the mother of a new kind
of novel.

D3: Looking at Landscape with Austen in Her Time and Ours
Margaret Chittick and Vera Quin, London, UK

Chittick and Quin look at landscapes that fed Austen’s images, as well as 18th century paintings of those landscapes, as they consider the theories of the landscape movement, prevalent at the time, which influenced Austen and her novels.

D4: Austen Revisited: Her Influence Writers of the 19th and 20th Centuries
Isa Schaff, Dedham, MA

There is a timeless quality to the writings of Jane Austen and echoes of her voice are found in the works of many fellow artists. Schaff explores the different ways in which 19th and 20th century writers have responded, with particular emphasis on William Dean Howells and Karen Joy Fowler.

D5: The Privilege of My Own Profession: The Living Legacy of Austen in the Classroom
Marcia McClintock Folsom, Wheelock College, Boston, MA

Folsom’s session highlights strategies that bring Austen’s novels to life in the classroom. To suggest the complexity of Austen’s “legacy,” she identifies ways in which Austen’s depiction of consciousness changes in the author’s successive novels.

D6: Austen’s Legacy in Japan: An Analysis of Young Women’s Desires
Hatsuyo Shimazaki, Tokyo, Japan

Shimazaki examines the psychology of young women in contemporary Japan, who identify with Austen’s world not through her novels, but through a subculture, the Japanese “manga” Emma written by Kaoru Mori (comic book and an animated series) and through Bridget Jones’s Diary.

D7: Mr. Collins on Screen: Legacy of the Ridiculous
Mary Chan, University of Alberta, Edmonton

Pride and Prejudice
is the most filmed Austen novel and each adaptation provides the director an opportunity to interpret the work in his own way. This session will examine the various ways that Mr. Collins moves from page to screen in four films from 1940 to 2005. 


E: Saturday, October 4     3:30 - 4:15 PM


E1: How Does Austen Still Make Us Laugh?
Jocelyn Harris, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Published in Persuasions 30 (2008). “Jane Austen, Samuel Johnson, and the Academy.” Persuasions 30 (2008): 27-37.
Harris suggests that it diminishes Austen to call her an ironical writer, laughing us gently into virtue; arguing instead that her savage indignation, though labeled by some “unfeminine,” is as tough and universal as that of her contemporaries and predecessors: Pope, Swift, and others.

E2: Keeping it Cool: The Role of Jane Austen’s House Museum in Delivering Her Legacy to Young People
Louise West, Jane Austen’s House Museum, Chawton, Hampshire, UK

Jane Austen’s House Museum upholds Austen’s legacy, providing an experience of what Jane Austen embodies–simplicity, integrity, and charm. The presentation focuses on the way the museum provides links between Austen’s writing and the life she lived at Chawton to young visitors in particular.

E3: Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict: Paying Homage to the Master
Laurie Viera Rigler, Pasadena, CA

In this session, Rigler provides a glimpse into the creation and subtext of her own homage to Austen, the comic novel Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict.

E4: Emma Woodhouse and Harry Potter: The Influence of Austen on J.K. Rowling
Jane Spector Davis, Chicago, IL

Rowling is quoted as saying ‘’My favorite writer is Jane Austen. . .” Davis argues that although readers may not suspect it, Rowling credits Austen with inspiring Potter’s universe and that Harry’s journey into maturity is shaped by the mystery and comedy familiar to readers of Emma.

E5: Austen’s Heroines at the Margins: How Recent Film Versions Support the Theme of Marginalization
JoAnne M. Podis, Ursuline College, Pepper Pike, OH

Austen’s heroines are often “edged out” of the narrative because of their lack of authority, or they intentionally retreat to that position. Recent cinematography reinforces this important theme, contributing to the survival of Austen’s legacy, which consists of tackling the concern with women’s marginalization.

E6: Mrs. Bennet’s Legacy: Austen’s Mothers in Film and Fiction
June Sturrock, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC

This presentation examines Austen’s mothers and mother figures as portrayed in film, with focus on the various Mrs. Bennets, which illuminate perpetually shifting concepts of maternal feeling, responsibility, and family interaction in the 20th and 21st centuries.

E7: The Challenge of Reading Austen Reading
Elaine Bander, Dawson College, Montreal, QC

Austen’s genius as a writer grew out of her temperament as a reader who enjoyed and burlesqued the conventions of other authors. Bander suggests that films of her novels frequently reinstate the conventions she worked to undermine, which may be why so many adaptations fail to move us the way the novels do.


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