California, Southwest Region
“Do Not Physic Them”: Medicine in Jane Austen’s Time
December 3, 2011

When leaving his sons in their Aunt Emma’s care, Mr. John Knightley’s advice, more concise than his wife’s, he acknowledges, “and probably not in the same spirit” was: “do not spoil them, and do not physic them.”  John Knightley’s aversion to the use of the healing arts was no doubt a reaction to his wife’s overly zealous ministrations, but at our winter meeting you will discover why this may have been even better advice than he supposed!

We will have three outstanding speakers on medicine and health along with morning coffee and lunch.

Dr. Cheryl Kinney, “A Dangerous Indulgence: Women’s Health in Jane Austen’s Time”

Prepare to be shocked and enlightened by Dr. Cheryl Kinney’s revelations regarding the medical treatment of women in the 18th & 19th centuries.  Cheryl Kinney, M.D., is a practicing obstetrician and gynecologist in Dallas and a popular presenter at JASNA AGMs.  Dr. Kinney was co-coordinator of the successful Fort Worth AGM this past October.

Arnie Perlstein, “Concealed Pregnancy in Jane Austen Novels”

Be intrigued and possibly outraged by startling theories regarding the possibility of “shadow stories” and concealed pregnancies in Jane Austen’s novels.  Florida attorney Arnie Perlstein is a zealous Austen sleuth, reading and rereading the novels to discover numerous “shadow stories” in which he believes the author exposes male hypocrisy and injustices perpetrated against women.  His theories have fascinated—and infuriated—Janeites at JASNA meetings across the continent!

Walter Nelson, “Quackery, Snake Oil and Flim Flam Medicine”

Following lunch, we will conclude our day with local historian Walter Nelson’s humorous exposé.  Mr. Nelson is a librarian and web designer for the Rand Corporation with far-ranging interests.  He has lectured on historical games, costume and dance and has been interviewed as an expert on primitive firearms on the History Channel’s Modern Marvels and on Victorian etiquette for the Penn & Teller program on Showtime.  He regularly organizes vintage dance programs.

The meeting will be held from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM at the Los Angeles Athletic Club, 431 West Seventh Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014.  (Parking garage address is 646 South Olive Street.)  The cost to JASNA members is $55.  Students and non-members are welcome at other rates  For more information, including the lunch menu, and registration please go to JASNA-SW Winter Meeting webpage.

—Nancy Gallagher


Jane’s Illness, 2005 Pride and Prejudice