2004 Annual General Meeting

Jane Austen Society of North America

October 7-10, 2004
Millenium Biltmore Hotel
Los Angeles, California

Anne Elliot in the City: Interior and Exterior Worlds


Breakout Speakers

So many choices! So little time! To assist you in selecting from among all of these enticing sessions, we’ve identified six strands: The Royal Navy, Persuasion on Film, Interior Worlds, Exterior Worlds, City vs. Country, Love & Courtship, and Readers’ Theatre

1815 work dress

Session A, Friday, October 8, 2004  3:14 pm to 4:15 pm

Elvira Casal, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN, USA
“ ‘More distinguished in its domestic virtues’: Men, Women and the Navy”
Published in Persuasions 26 (2004).  “More Distinguished in His Domestic Virtues: Captain Wentworth Comes Home.” Persuasions 26 (2004): 146-155.

The final line in Persuasion describes the navy as “that profession which is, if possible, more distinguished in its domestic virtues than in its national importance.”  The relationship between the world of the navy and the domestic world of women will be examined, including the question of whether women belong on ships, and the experiences of women who stay “at home, quiet, confined.” The Royal Navy Strand   Breakout #A1

Moved to C4.

Margaret McBride Horwitz,
New College Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA
“The Role of the City of Bath in Anne Elliot’s Journey Home”

The 1995 BBC film adaptation of Persuasion poses two questions:  what is Anne Elliot’s perceived value to those in her circle (interior world), and where is her true home (exterior setting) after her family’s financial decline and relocation to Bath?  Images of light, windows, water and music will be explored.  Persuasion on Film Strand  Breakout # A2

David Monaghan,
Mt. St. Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
“Social Change, Personal Development and the Dynamics of Movement in Persuasion”

This is an exploration of urban and rural space and movement, in which the presenter concentrates on Anne and Wentworth’s innovative spatial machinations to achieve a renewed relationship.  This movement motif, the presenter argues, reveals Austen’s awareness of her society evolving toward modern communities.  Persuasion on Film Strand  Breakout #A3

Jean E. Brassil,
Clinical Psychologist, Derby, CT, USA
“Anne Elliot, Practicing Psychologist”

Anne Elliot, like Elizabeth Bennet, was a student of character.  Austen describes Anne as possessing “a quickness of perception . . . a nicety in the discernment of character, a natural penetration.”  Surely these characteristics make her a good psychologist!   Interior Worlds Strand  Breakout #A4
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Susan Allen Ford, Delta State University, Cleveland, MS, USA
“Learning Romance from Scott and Byron”
Published in Persuasions 26 (2004).  “Learning Romance from Scott and Byron: Jane Austenís Natural Sequel.” Persuasions 26 (2004): 73-88.

As Anne and Benwick sit apart from the group in Lyme, they talk “of poetry, of the richness of the present age,” and—in particular—of two “first-rate poets,” Walter Scott and Lord Byron.  How might their poems illuminate the issues and tactics of Austen’s most romantic (and most Romantic) novel?  Interior Worlds  Breakout #A5  

Mary M. Chan,
University of Alberta, Edmonton, AL, Canada
“The White Glare of Bath:  Seeking and Avoiding the Controlling Gaze in Persuasion”

In Northanger Abbey, Henry Tilney declares that social order is maintained in England partly because of a “neighborhood of voluntary spies.”  An aspect of the exterior world, the Bath gaze, has effects upon the interior psychology of its residents.  What does this mean for Anne Elliot, who attempts to maintain her own interior vision in spite of the Bath gaze?  Interior/Exterior Worlds Strand  Breakout #A6  

June Sturrock,
Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
“Dandies, Beauties, and the Issue of Good Looks in Persuasion
Published in Persuasions 26 (2004).  “Dandies, Beauties, and the Issue of Good Looks in Persuasion.” Persuasions 26 (2004): 41-50.

This presentation, which includes a showing of prints and paintings of the more celebrated beaux and belles of the period, centers on the Regency period’s notorious concern with masculine as well as feminine beauty.  The presenter explores the implications of Austen’s contrasting representations of appearances in Persuasion and considers Anne’s altered appearance as communicating a responsive and living reality central to the autumnal tone of the novel.  Exterior Worlds Strand  Breakout #A7

Kathleen Anderson,
Palm Beach Atlantic University, West Palm Beach, FL, USA
“Anne’s Bath:  Water Women and City Sisters in Persuasion

We love Anne Elliot because she is boundless, like the sea.  Trace the functions of water imagery in the novel as a plot catalyst and note how female characters are differentiated by their associations with water or indoor city spaces.  City/Country Strand  Breakout #A8

Kay Young,
UCSB, Santa Barbara, CA, USA
“ ‘You Pierce My Soul’ ”

Commenting on the mind/body disconnect that Elizabeth Bennet displays in Pride and Prejudice (she “rather knew that she was happy, than felt herself to be so”), this presentation compares her reaction to those of Anne and Wentworth’s in Persuasion.  The latter feel with their bodies as well as their minds;  Anne’s heart beats “in spite of herself” and Wentworth’s more lengthy coming to consciousness—which happens through his body’s movements away from and then toward Anne’s—leads at last to “senseless joy.”  Love and Courtship Strand  Breakout #A9

Session B, Friday, October 8, 2004  4:30 pm to 5:30 pm

Judith Fiedler, Seattle, WA, USA
 “Anne Wentworth Aboard and Abroad”
1810 ball gown
The fictional Anne Wentworth had many real-life counterparts who were permitted to sail with their naval captain husbands.  We will follow Anne--as a prototypical naval wife--to a number of ports visited by the Royal Navy such as Canton, Constantinople, Naples, and Bombay.  What did these ladies see, and how were they affected by a world wider than any anticipated by their respectable upbringings?  The Royal Navy Strand  Breakout #B1

Alden O’Brien, DAR Museum, Washington, D. C., USA
“Bath as Center of Fashion and Leisure”

This costume and textile curator will discuss Anne Elliot’s experience of Bath in light of that city’s unique position as a dictator of fashion and leisure.  Differences between city and country, and the status of Anne’s emotional development, will be highlighted by examining costume choices in the recent film adaptation.  Persuasion on Film Strand  Breakout #B2

Juliet McMaster, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
“The Sounds of Silence:  Anne Elliot Among the Talkers”

This popular presenter explores Anne Elliot’s unvoiced responses and dialogue.  Concentrating also on the strident interactions of those around Anne, she comments on the ways in which the silences and the sounds affect and complement each other.  She argues that Anne’s internal speech makes her the most emotionally accessible of Austen’s heroines.  Interior Worlds Strand  Breakout #B3

Peter W. Graham, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg, VA, USA
“Why Lyme Regis?”

Persuasion is a novel with four principal settings, two rural, one urban and one neither:  Kellynch, Uppercross, Bath, and Lyme Regis.  The question of why the fourth is included—a south coastal town, as opposed to an inland country estate or resort city—is indispensable to a full understanding of the novel.  Exterior Worlds Strand  Breakout #B4

Jane Austen uses furniture and household furnishing to establish character and to comment on such abstract qualities as vanity, independence, dignity, pride, comfort, social importance, and taste.  Throughout the novel, pieces of furniture reflect character in complex ways as well as adding comic and dramatic possibilities.  Exterior World Strand  Breakout #B5

Elaine Bander, Dawson College, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
“From Interior to Exterior Worlds; or, Anne Elliot Goes Hollywood”
Published in Persuasions 26 (2004).  “From Interior to Exterior Worlds: Anne Elliot Goes to Hollywood.” Persuasions 26 (2004): 136-145.

At the opening of Persuasion, Anne Elliot’s tastes are all for country life; she dislikes the superficial pleasures and shallow social intercourse of cities and watering-places.  Nevertheless, Anne’s life is uprooted, sending her first to Lyme and later to Bath where her life becomes public and externalized, even a subject for gossip by others.  City/Country Strand  Breakout #B6

Susan E. Jones, Palm Beach Atlantic University, Palm Beach, FL, USA
 “‘Threadcases, pincushions and cardracks’:  Women’s Work in the City
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On several occasions in Persuasion we encounter women at work.  We find Anne Elliot “at work” at the piano, her usual “occupation”.  Mrs. Smith produces “threadcases, pincushion, and cardracks” to provide herself with resources.  Nurse Rooke is successful in purveying these products while acquiring gossip, another stock in trade.  City /Country Strand  Breakout #B7

Sarah Frantz, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
“ ‘No intercourse but what the commonest civility required’:  Interior and Exterior Conversations and the Course of True Love”

Direct conversation between Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth is so fraught with feeling and meaning that the former lovers seem unable to attempt it for most of the novel.  It takes written communication—the famous letter—for them to finally stop talking at cross-purposes and converse together.  Love and Courtship Strand  Breakout #B8

Russell Clark, DePaul University, Chicago, IL, USA
Louise Heal, Sugiyama Women’s University, Nagoya, Japan
William Phillips, Aichi Prefectural University, Aichi, Japan
 “ ‘A little quiet cheerfulness’:  A Readers’ Theatre Reflection on the Pleasures of City and Country Life”

Employing a readers’ theatre form, this group will present a reflection on a constant theme in Austen’s works, the contrast between town and city life. Drawing mainly from Austen’s novels, especially Persuasion—which compares the rusticity of Uppercross with the urban pleasures of Bath—the collaborators have also adapted material from other contemporaneous writers.  They are also planning a few surprises!  Readers’ Theatre Strand  Breakout #B9

Session C, Saturday, October 9. 2004  8:30 am to 9:30 am

Theresa Kenney, University of Dallas, TX, USA
“ ‘As she was not really Mrs. Croft’:  Playing the Admiral’s Wife in Bath”
Published in Persuasions 26 (2004).  “‘As she was not really Mrs. Croft’: Playing the Admiral’s Wife in Bath.” Persuasions 26 (2004): 51-61.

Walking up Milsom-street, Anne encounters a solitary Admiral Croft and joins him in his walk.  This passage of the novel obviously advances the plot of the novel in allowing Anne to hear the news of Louisa’s engagement to Benwick.  But does it also allow Anne to “try out” Mrs. Croft’s role as wife?  This scene is fraught with interesting suggestions of marital compatibility.  Love and Courtship Strand  Breakout #C1 

Alison Shea, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
“ ‘Allow me to interpret this interesting silence’:  Conveying Anne Elliot’s Interiority Through Silence in Novel and Film Versions of Persuasion.”

Persuasion reveals how active and knowing silences can be and demonstrates Austen’s deep awareness of how meaning accrues through non-verbal language.  Using Michell’s 1995 film adaptation, the presenter will demonstrate how deftly the moral worth of Anne’s interiority is dramatized and will discuss the wealth of film techniques utilized to convey her inner world.  Persuasion on Film Strand  Breakout # C2

Sayre Greenfield, University of Pittsburgh, Greensburg, PA, USA
Linda Troost, Washington and Jefferson College, Washington, PA, USA
 “City and Country Life on the Screen”

Comparative clips of the two telefilms of Persuasion will be shown with commentary and audience participation.  Greenfield and Troost are the editors of Jane Austen in Hollywood.  Persuasion on Film Strand  Breakout #C3

Diana Birchall, Author, Los Angeles, CA, USA
“Writers of the Austen-Leigh Persuasion”
1799 chemise
There have been several other writers in the Austen and Austen-Leigh family, in addition to Jane. Lois Austen-Leigh, a detective novelist of the 1930’s, was the granddaughter of James Edward Austen-Leigh, Jane Austen’s favorite nephew.  She was also aunt to our own Joan Austen-Leigh.  Explore the literary and historic interest sparked by these spirited writers. Interior Worlds Strand    Breakout #C4

Moved to A1

 Jeanie Page Randall, Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN, USA
“Good Manners?  Good Grief!  Anne Elliot and Virtue Ethics”

This presenter addresses the concept of virtue ethics, developed by Alastair McIntyre of Vanderbilt University in the 1970’s, which is based on an analysis of the way people behave and how they treat each other.  A discussion of Anne Elliot’s exceptionally fine character will show her to be a prime example of this concept.  Interior Worlds Strand  Breakout #C5

Laura Mooneyham White, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE, USA
“The ‘Positioning Systems’ of Persuasion

This discussion explores Anne Elliot’s spatial hypersensitivity—she is acutely in touch with her placement in relation to others, literally and metaphorically—a capability that brings to mind a modern technological development, the global positioning system.  Austen uses this theme of spatial and social positioning to control her narrative and guide Anne and Wentworth’s navigation towards each other with the most precise of movements.  Exterior Worlds Strand Breakout #C6
Celia A. Easton, State University of New York, Genesco, NY, USA
“Austen’s Urban Redemption:  Rejecting Richardson’s View of the City”
Published in Persuasions 26 (2004).  “Austenís Urban Redemption: Rejecting Richardsonís View of the City.” Persuasions 26 (2004): 121-135.

Although Jane Austen claimed that Samuel Richardson was one of her favorite authors, nowhere is her break with the eighteenth-century novelist clearer than in her descriptions of young women in the city.  Jane Austen rejects Richardson’s simplistic demonizing of urban settings.  Bath is a thrilling place for Persuasion’s Lady Russell and is ultimately the scene of Anne Elliot’s success in love.  City/Country Strand  Breakout # C7

Rachel Lawrence, Attorney, Davis, CA, , USA
“Good Shepherds and Worthless Young Men:  Jane Austen’s Country and City Lawyers”

This practicing attorney concentrates on Jane Austen’s depiction of the two lawyers in Persuasion, Mr. Shepherd and Mr. Elliot, contrasting their respective rural and city backgrounds.  She explores why--despite the fact that the law was the third profession open to gentlemen of the era--no Austen hero chooses to “go into the law.” City/Country Strand  Breakout #C8

Pamela Regis, McDaniel College, Westminster, MD, USA
“ ‘Her happiness was from within’:  Courtship and the Interior World in Persuasion
Published in Persuasions 26 (2004).  “‘Her happiness was from within’: Courtship and the Interior World in Persuasion.” Persuasions 26 (2004): 62-71.

Drawing from her recent book, A Natural History of the Romance Novel, this presenter focuses on the courtship plot employed in Persuasion.  The second wooing of Anne Elliot is a fascinating interrogation of the process itself and demonstrates that a successful courtship is an interior matter, enacted within the couple’s minds and hearts.  Love and Courtship Strand  Breakout #C9

Session D, Saturday, October 9, 2004  11:00 am to 12:00 pm

Zoyd R. Luce, President, Risorgimento Management, Dublin, CA, USA
“Anne Elliot Goes to Sea”

Mr. Luce offers us a review of the life and times of women who went to sea with their husbands on British warships, as Anne Elliot may have done, after her marriage to Captain Wentworth.  A careful reading of journals, ship logs and naval histories allows him to illustrate the conditions of Anne’s life after the novel’s “happy ending.”  The Royal Navy Strand  Breakout #D1
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Cancelled - Lance Weldy, Texas A&M, Commerce, TX, USA
Lisa Weldy, Bob Jones University Greenville, NC, USA
“The Rhetoric of Feminine, Spatial Displacement:  The Dialectic of Interiors and Exterior in Michell’s Persuasion and Rozema’s Mansfield Park

The presenters utilize Gaston Bachelard’s concepts of “felicitous space” as a key to understanding the female experience in Austen’s novels and film adaptations.  Video clips will be used to demonstrate both Anne Elliot’s and Fanny Price’s respective searches for felicitous spaces of their own.  Persuasion on Film Strand  Breakout #D2

Sally B. Palmer, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Rapid City, SD USA
“Anne Takes the Cure:  Persuasion and the Spa”
Published in Persuasions 26 (2004).  “Anne Takes the Cure: Persuasion and the Spa.” Persuasions 26 (2004): 111-120.

This presenter considers if Austen subconsciously accepted the prevailing cultural faith in the healing powers of the spa.  She demonstrates that the psychological character changes in Persuasion parallel the sequences of spa activities recommended at that time by Royal College physicians--salutary and filled with renewal.  Interior Worlds Strand  Breakout #D3

Leslie NymanPelham, MA, USA 
Sarah Emsley, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
“ ‘Don’t tell me what to read!’   Friendship, Advice, and Persuasion”

This lively point/counterpoint presentation will debate whether Anne’s advice to Benwick about what he should read is friendly guidance or misguided meddling.  The balance between romance and realism will be explored in the context of the complex interplay between independent discovery and deference to authority.  Audience discussion will be encouraged.  Interior Worlds Strand  Breakout #D4

William Phillips, Aichi Prefectural University, Aichi, Japan
Russell Clark, DePaul University, Chicago, IL, US
“ ‘What queer fellows your fine painters must be’:  The Rise of Public Art as an Urban Pleasure in the Time of Jane Austen”  

These two presenters, examining the growing popularity of public versus private art in Austen’s time, will discuss the growing trade in art prints such as those Admiral Croft studies in a shop window in Persuasion.  Slides of some of the works that Jane Austen may have seen at an exhibition by The Royal Academy will be shown, and conclusions are drawn as to Austen’s attitudes toward the making and displaying of art.  Exterior Worlds Strand  Breakout #D5

Juliette Wells, Manhattanville College, Purchase, NY, USA
“ ‘In music she had been always used to feel alone in the world’:  Anne EIliot’s Music-Making in Social, Literary, and Personal Contexts”
Published in Persuasions 26 (2004).  “‘In music she had always used to feel alone in the world’: Jane Austen, Solitude, and the Artistic Woman.” Persuasions 26 (2004): 98-110.
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This discussion-oriented session, led by a lifelong musician, will not only explore Anne Elliot’s music-making in Persuasion but will compare it to that of other Austen heroines--as well as to that of Austen herself.  The importance of the amateur arts in the lives of audience participants will be a topic of further discussion.  Exterior Worlds Strand  Breakout #D6

Gloria Sybil Gross, California State University, Northridge, CA, USA
“ ‘Pictures of perfection as you know make me sick & wicked’:  The Interior World of Persuasion

The world of Persuasion presents a catalog of brutes countered by the heroine who is “always right.”  As such, the novel becomes Austen’s most severe satire of society, and --more particularly—of city life, the venue of its most critical scenes.  Far from the deft handiwork of light ironic comedy, levity and gay burlesque of polite society of previous novels, Persuasion often leans toward pathos and even melodrama.  City/Country Strand  Breakout #D7

Elizabeth MorrisonGetty Museum, Los Angeles, CA, USA
“Finding Exactly the Right Spot to Pop the Question:  Proposing Out of Doors in the Novels of Jane Austen”

This presentation examines the circumstances of the proposals in each of Austen’s novels, concentrating on the original and revised endings of Persuasion.  For Austen heroines, the presenter argues, the out of doors was the ideal setting, and she speculates on what that may have connoted to Austen’s contemporary audience.   Love and Courtship Strand  Breakout #D8

Julie Arnold, Kimberly Brangwin, Mary Perillo, and Jeanne Tackett, Puget Sound WA, USA
“Lady Elliot Entertains: a Conversation at Kellynch Hall”  written by Judith Fiedler

On a stormy afternoon in November, 1816, the daughters of the late Sir Walter Elliot return to Kellynch Hall. The wife of the present Baronet, Lady Elliot (the former Mrs. Clay), has summoned Miss Elliot, Mrs. Musgrove, and Mrs. Wentworth to discuss several problems which have arisen since Sir William's accession to the title and estate. Their conversation, overheard and transcribed by an interested listener, is presented by four members of the Puget Sound Region.    Readers’ Theatre Strand  Breakout #D9

Fashion illustrations are adapted from scans of Regency fashion illustrations to be found on Henry Churchyard's web site.  The originals of these and others may be viewed at: http://www.pemberley.com/janeinfo/ppbrokil.html