1999 Annual General Meeting, Oct. 8-10, Colorado Springs, CO, USA

Theme: “Emma: Jane Austen at her Peak”

Breakout Sessions

Having received many “very clever” proposals for these popular sessions, we have scheduled 33 breakout presentations, showcasing 54 speakers, going from 8 to 9:45 PM on Friday, and from 10:45 AM to 5:15 PM on Saturday, with 15 minute interludes between sessions so that we all have a little extra time to get around, get a beverage, get a cookie, and get a seat! As the complete breakout list shows, the 1999 AGM has many new names among its presenters, as well as varied models for presentations.

Following Miss Woodhouse’s dictum that “One half the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other,” our breakout program covers diverse topics, ranging from Jane Fairfax’s “wonderful establishment” the post office and the mechanics of Regency letter-writing to a computer analysis of the diction of Emma. Sandy Lerner will explain why “gentlemen never drove gigs,” while Julia Park Rodrigues analyzes the significance of Mr. Knightley’s interest in changing footpaths. We have presentations on Emma as heroine, on class in the novel, on the novel in the classroom, on Jane Fairfax’s skills as a pianist, on Emma’s perception of herself, on other writers’ perceptions of Emma the character and Emma the book, and on illnesses real and imagined among the Highbury set. And of course, we have several presentations on the way the novel translates to the screen, both on television and as commercial films, including a session by Linda Veronika Troost and Sayre Greenfield, whose book Jane Austen in Hollywood (and at the BBC) is forthcoming from the University of Kentucky Press and is reviewed in JASNA News. On Friday evening, Martha Caprarotta will lead a two-hour workshop at which participants will make their own Regency hats. (Details and the fee for enrolling in this workshop are forthcoming in the AGM Registration Mailer.)

Plenary Sessions:
Speakers and a Debate

We have been extremely fortunate in securing the talents of four lively and knowledgeable Austenites for our four plenary sessions, all of whom are “peak” performers. Rachel Brownstein is our distinguished Carol Ann Medine Keynote Speaker. The author of two books and many articles, Brownstein is particularly known for her work on women writers, including several pieces on Austen. Her book that is probably most familiar to Austen readers is Becoming a Heroine, which is as lively and laugh provoking as it is insightful and thought provoking. Susan Morgan, our JASNA North American Lecturer, has appeared as a breakout speaker at previous AGMs. Among her five published books, two deal with Austen, most familiarly In the Meantime. Suzanne Juhasz, our provocative AGM opening speaker, was honored in May 1998 by the American Association of University Women with its Founders Senior Distinguished Scholar Award. Although a specialist in the poetry of Emily Dickinson, Juhasz has written a book on Austen and also treats Austen’s work in Reading from the Heart, a book Juhasz aimed at nonacademic readers. Claire Tomalin, our internationally noted closing speaker, has written a number of prize winning biographies on such diverse figures as the early English feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and actress Dorothea Jordan and has published critical editions of works by Virginia Woolf and most recently Mary Shelley. Her highly respected 1997 biography, Jane Austen: A Life, brought her from London to several major American cities, where she was a charming and lively speaker.

The opening plenary session on Friday afternoon will also feature a debate on whether Emma is, indeed, Austen at her peak, featuring four debaters whose wit and knowledge would have more than answered Frank Churchill’s request for “one thing very clever” at Box Hill: They include Edith Lank (of Listserv fame and former JASNA Board Member, JASNA’s lively 800-number-keeper, and popular breakout speaker at the 1996 AGM), and Professors George Butte (The Colorado College) and Ken Fellow (University of Colorado-Colorado Springs).

A Special Session

Because many persons at the AGM may prefer to remain at the hotel on Friday evening, we have scheduled not only several breakout presentations, but also a talk by Stephanie Barren, who writes the charming and thoroughly researched Jane Austen Mystery series. (As Francine Mathews, her real name, she writes the popular Merry Folger mysteries.) Her dual background, as a historian and as an analyst for the CIA, will also inform her presentation, “Jane Austen’s Very Private Eye: Elements of Mystery Plotting in Emma.”


Fortunately, Mr. Woodhouse was unavailable for consultation on the menu. (He refused to be driven through the snow for the meetings!) So rest assured that you will not only be served delicious, plentiful food (gruel is not even an option), but that—unlike poor Mrs. Goddard and Mrs. Bates when they stayed home with Mr. Woodhouse during the Coles’ dinner party you will also be “allowed to eat it.” The opening plenary session will conclude with a High Tea, served at “round … modern, circular table[s]” such as Emma introduced at Hartfield; Saturday morning’s keynote will be preceded by a lovely breakfast; and Sunday morning’s full service brunch will be abundant. As at the Coles’ dinner, you will find your Saturday evening banquet “table … safely covered with food … every corner dish … placed exactly right.” We have a surprise banquet motif. In addition, snacks will be available throughout Saturday’s program.

The Banquet Entertainment

Because the pianoforte plays a key role in Emma, we felt that a piano recital would be the perfect post-banquet entertainment. We are delighted that we were able to secure the talented pianist Karlyn Bond, who specializes in Regency piano music and the piano world of Jane Austen, to perform a 35-minute recital for us. Some of you were lucky enough to attend a breakout session that she shared with Kathryn Shanks Libin (one of our breakout speakers, too) at the 1997 AGM in San Francisco at which she played a few pieces. When we contemplated a pianist for our AGM, we immediately thought of Karlyn, whose beautiful compact disc, “Piano Classics from the World of Jane Austen,” resonates in many of our homes.

Books, Books, Books

We are delighted to announce that Pat Latkin's Jane Austen Books will be our exclusive bookseller at the AGM. She will be located in a convenient spot for all AGM-ers, and she will stock the works of our speakers for you to buy in time for the “official” book-signing early Friday evening.

AGM Registration and the Hotel

We plan to mail the Registration Mailer packets shortly after April 15, 1999. They will provide comprehensive information about all aspects of the AGM. We are keeping the Early-Bird registration fee at $205 US (payable by Visa or Mastercard), which is consistent with the 1997 and 1998 AGM Early-Bird fees for San Francisco and Quebec. The mailer will clearly list due dates, street and email addresses, and phone/fax numbers.

Those who attended the 1998 AGM in Quebec received brochures about the 1999 AGM, as well as hotel reservation forms. At that time, the Antlers Hotel was part of the Doubletree chain; it is now part of the Adam’s Mark chain and is called the Antlers Adam’s Mark. The continued use of the name “Antlers” for the hotel under different managements is clear when you know that “Antlers” is a name of genuine historical significance in the city of Colorado Springs, which was founded as a health resort in 1871 by General William Jackson Palmer. In 1883 Palmer named the new luxury hotel located in the heart of downtown “The Antlers” because it housed Palmer’s huge collection of deer and elk trophies (now gone). The present building is the third Antlers Hotel to stand on the same site. Guests find the hotel gracious and comfortable, with first-class amenities. We especially like the large lobby, which has many seating areas for conversation groups. The Antlers is very much part of Colorado Springs’ heritage and was our committee’s unanimous first-choice for the AGM, not only because of its overall high quality, but also because of its easy proximity to restaurants, shops, ATM machines, etc. All fees and arrangements negotiated with the Antlers under Doubletree’s management remain in effect with Adam’s Mark. So persons who have already made their room reservations need not be concerned; the transition in ownership went very smoothly.

Our special Jane Austen Society Meeting room rate, effective for the nights of October 6-12, 1999, is $129 US per night, plus 8.1% tax, for a total of $139.45 US per night for single, double, triple, or quadruple occupancy. The Antlers’ direct telephone number is 719-473-5600; the Adam’s Mark 800-number for reservations is 1-800-444-2326 (ADAM). The Antlers Adam’s Mark Hotel is located at 6 South Cascade Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO 80903.


A city of beautiful scenery and tourism since its founding 128 years ago, Colorado Springs and the surrounding Pikes Peak region offer wonderful sightseeing opportunities for AGM guests. We have arranged with Laureate Tours, the city’s premier local touring agency, to provide a number of supplementary tours for AGM attendees. Laureate’s owner, Kay Hanes, is personally directing our tours; she attended the 1998 AGM in Quebec to better acquaint herself with the AGM and JASNA. Your AGM Registration Mailer will carry full details of tours and prices.

A Final Word for Now

Frank Churchill may claim, “How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation.” Yet Frank also approves the mysterious piano-giver for sending music (including “a new set of Irish melodies”), along with the instrument, to Jane Fairfax: “Nothing hastily done; nothing incomplete,” he says, ironically praising himself. Your 1999 AGM Steering Committee is happily preparing for your visit to the Rocky Mountain West, trying to be as thorough as Frank, but always keeping foremost in our minds that JASNA members, like Emma Woodhouse, “always deserve the best treatment because [they] never put up with any other!”



Friday afternoon: Suzanne Juhasz (University of Colorado-Boulder): “Reading Austen Writing Emma.”

Debate, moderated by JASNA News Book Review Editor Inger Brodey, with Edith Lank, Ken Fellow, Suzanne Juhasz and George Butte: “Is Emma Austen at Her Peak?”

Saturday afternoon: Rachel Brownstein (Brooklyn College and CUNY Graduate School and University Center): “England’s Emma.”
Published in Persuasions 21 (1999). “England’s  Emma.” Persuasions 21 (1999): 224-241.

Saturday afternoon: Susan Morgan (Miami University of Ohio): “Adoring the Girl Next Door: Geography in Austen’s Novels.”

Sunday morning: Claire Tomalin will provide a memorable conclusion to our meeting.


Friday at 5 PM: Stephanie Barron: "Jane Austen’s Very Private Eye: Elements of Mystery Plotting in Emma." Stephanie Barron


Karlyn Bond: a 35-minute Regency style piano recital.


These will occur from 8 PM to 10 PM on FRIDAY and from 10:45 AM to 5:15 PM on SATURDAY, with 15 minutes between sessions. These sessions, running from 45 minutes to one hour (with I exception, Caprarotta) vary in format: some have one presenter, others have two presenters on a similar subject, while still others are point-counterpoints or panels. All presentations will be “bright and sparkling” (even though we’re not doing that novel) and “very clever,” with time for questions and comments from our equally “very clever” audience.

Martha Caprarotta (Regency Re-Creations): “Peak of Fashion Hat Workshop,” Friday evening. (Participants for this headpiece workshop will have pre-registered and pre-paid for materials and labor via the enclosure you will receive with your AGM Registration Mailer.)

Barbara Wieskamp: “Letter-Writing in Austen’s England,” illustrated with slides and samples of actual inks, papers, seals, and epistles, explains how a letter went from Frank Churchill’s writing-desk to Jane Fairfax’s hands when she collected it at the post office.

David Graves: “What’s in a Word? Computer Analysis of Word Usage in Emma is a non-technical presentation of how computer analyses of Austen’s novels reveal interesting similarities and differences between Emma and the other five completed novels.
Published in Persuasions 21 (1999). “Computer Analysis of Word Usage in  Emma.” Persuasions 21 (1999): 203-211.

Claire van Breemen Downes: in “Searching for Jane Austen” reads from a collection of her poems about visiting Bath and Chawton on an Austen quest.

William Phillips and Louise Heal: will travel from Japan, where they teach, to discuss “Extensive Grounds and Classic Columns: Emma on Film,” illustrated with video clips.

Juliet McMaster (University of Alberta) and Victoria Kortes-Papp (Co-convener of the 1998 AGM): discuss “Teaching by Editing: From the Juvenilia to Emma.”

Karin Jackson (Regional Coordinator for Maine for six years): “The Dilemma of Emma: Moral, Ethical, and Spiritual Values.”

Sandy Lerner: will illustrate with slides a talk on “Pen and Parsimony: Carriages in the Novel,” thus clarifying why “gentlemen never drove gigs.”

Peter W Graham (Virginia Tech) and J. Clinton McCann (Eden Theological Seminary): in a point-counterpoint will consider “The Moralities of Emma.”

Barbara Sullivan (Laramie Community College) and Janice Harris (University of Wyoming): invite your participation in their point counterpoint, “A Situation of Such Danger … Safely Viewed.”

Deanna Kreisel (Keene State College): “Where Does the Pleasure Come From? The Marriage Plot and Its Discontents in Jane Austen and Seinfeld.” (yadayadayada!)

Kathryn Shanks Libin (Vassar): continues to enlighten us about music in Austen’s work, including explanations of &ldsquo;taste” and “execution,” with “Music, Character and Social Standing in Emma,” illustrated with a piano performance.

Elizabeth Battles (Texas Wesleyan): “A Feminist Reads Jane Austen: Can’t It Be Just a Love Story?”

Annette LeClair (Librarian, Union College): “Owning Her Work: Austen, the Artist, and the Audience in Emma in a shared session.
Published in Persuasions 21 (1999). “Owning Her Work:  Austen, the Artist, and the Audience in Emma.” Persuasions 21 (1999): 115-127.

Marcia Folsom (Wheelock College and 2000 AGM Coordinator) and John Wiltshire (Latrobe University, Australia): discuss and invite audience participation on “Teaching Austen’s Emma: Challenges and Strategies of Presenting the Book to New Readers.”

Laura Mooneyham White (University of Nebraska-Lincoln): Emma and New Comedy: Austen’s Adaptation of Ancient Greek Comedy”—in other words, “A funny thing happened on the way to Highbury.”
Published in Persuasions 21 (1999). “Emma and the New Comedy .” Persuasions 21 (1999): 128-141.

Deborah Kaplan (George Mason University): illustrates “Highbrow or Lowbrow?: Emma’s Cultural Prestige,” with video clips.

Anne Tagge: offers a historical prototype for an event in the novel in “The Conquer’d Hero: ‘I married her because they asked me to do it.”

Rebecca Chan Alien: sets “Emma Woodhouse on Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey.”

Elaine Bander (Dawson College, Montreal): presents another lively breakout session, this time on “The Pique of Perfection.”
Published in Persuasions 21 (1999). “Emma and the Pique of Perfection.” Persuasions 21 (1999): 155-162.

Lisa Hopkins (Sheffield Hallam University, England): examines three Emma-based films for insights on “Emma and the Servants.”

Sarah Morrison (Morehead State): considers how the filmed versions of the novel compensate for the lack of a narrator in “Emma Minus Its Narrator: Decorum and Class Consciousness in Film Versions of Emma.”

Sara Wingard (Shorter College): will escort Emma, Mr. Knightley, and the audience up to the shrubbery in “The Ways They Went: Mobility and Immobility in Emma.”

David MacWilliams (University of North Carolina-Greensboro) : will guide us through a close reading of the garden scene, “Hurrying into the Shrubbery: The Sublime, Transcendence, and the Garden Scene in Emma.”

Kathleen Anderson (Palm Beach Atlantic College): discusses “Parents and Lovers: The Gender Dynamics of Relational Influence in Emma.”

Sarah Emsley (Dalhousie University): applies the Renaissance poetic genre of the epithalamium to the novel in “The Last Pages of Emma: Austen’s Epithalamium.”

Linda Veronika Troost (Washington & Jefferson College) and Sayre Greenfield (University of Pittsburgh-Greensburgh): will talk and encourage discussion about “Filming Highbury: Reducing the Community to the Screen,” illustrated with video clips.

Leonora Walker (founder of the Jane Austen Society of Australia, of which she was President 1989-1996) and Pamela Whalan (University of Technology, Sidney): will meet in a point-counterpoint, “When Imperfection Becomes Perfection,” and will also welcome your contributions.

William Duckworth: analyzes Henry James, Charlotte Brontë, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, three readers inimical to Austen, in “Reading Emma: Three Who Reject a Friend and Guide.”

June Sturrock (Simon Fraser University): considers why two established English authors of the 1860s, Margaret Oliphant and Charlotte Mary Yonge, appropriated characters and situations from Austen in “Sovereigns, Stepmothers, and Clever Women: Emma in the 1860s.”

Julia Park Rodrigues: examines Mr. Knightley as a mover of “Footpaths.”

John F. Rogers: looks at Emma and Mr. Knightiey at Donwell Abbey and Box Hill in “Emma Woodhouse: Betrayed By Place.”
Published in Persuasions 21 (1999). “Emma Woodhouse: Betrayed by Place.” Persuasions 21 (1999): 163-171.

Susan Allen Ford (Delta State University): speculates about Emma’s evocation of Mme. de Genlis when she speaks of Mrs. Weston as the mother of a little girl in “Pedagogy and Power: Miss Austen Re-Writes Madame de Genlis.”
Published in Persuasions 21 (1999). “Romance, Pedagogy and Power: Jane Austen Re-writes Madame de Genlis.” Persuasions 21 (1999): 172-187.

Melissa Mazmanian: considers “Make-Over Madness: Reviving Emma in a Clueless World.”

Kuldip Kuwahara (Alma College): examines “Emma and Empire: A Post Colonial View.”

John Wiltshire (Latrobe University, Australia): looks at what Shakespearean comedy and Austen’s novels have in common in “‘The Hartfield Edition’: Jane Austen and Shakespeare.”
Published in Persuasions 21 (1999). “‘The Hartfield Edition’: Jane Austen and Shakespeare.’ Persuasions 21 (1999): 212-223.

Walter Renaud (William Woods University): analyzes “Emma and the Enlightenment Sense of Self” in terms on 18th-century sources.

Zoe Kaplan (Marymount Manhattan): looks ahead to Eliot’s Dorothea Brooke, Mitchell’s Scarlett O’Hara, and Wasserstein’s Heidi in “Emma and Self-Deception: A Model for Later Heroines.”

Thorell Tsomondo (Howard University): examines Mr. Knightley’s quarrel with Emma about encouraging Harriet to reject Robert Martin as it is depicted in both the novel and the McGrath film in “Temporal, Spatial, and Linguistic Configurations and the Geopolitics of Emma.”
Published in Persuasions 21 (1999). “Temporal, Spatial, and Linguistic Configurations and the Geopolitics of Emma.” Persuasions 21 (1999): 188-202.

Sue Parill (Southeastern Louisiana University): “The Cassandra of Highbury: Emma on TV and in the Movies.”

Sharon-Ruth Alker (University of British Columbia): speaks about “Multiple Masculinities: A Consideration of Narratological Technique in the Construction of Manhood in Emma.”

Margaret Wye (Rockhurst College): offers “Seeing Frank Churchill and Mr. Elton through the Circle Metaphor in Emma.”
Published in Persuasions 21 (1999). “Re-viewing Mr. Elton & Frank Churchill Through the Circle Metaphors in Emma.” Persuasions 21 (1999): 142-154.

Christine Colon, Anjali Williams, and Sally Palmer (University of California-Davis): form a panel on “Social Subversions: Social Climbing in Film Versions of Emma,” illustrated with video clips.

Irene Morra, Teddy Bader, M.D., and Laima Rastenis (St. Xavier University): discuss “Illnesses Real and Imagined in Emma—and yes, there will be a doctor in the house!

by Joan Klingel Ray, Co-Coordinator 1999 AGM

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