Persuasions #11, 1989 Page 3
From the President
As we begin the last decade of this century, we look around us at a changing world, in many ways not unlike that of the last decade of the eighteenth century when Jane Austen was reaching her adult years. Wars threatening our peace of mind if not our actual lives; the accelerated changes in technology altering the pace and quality of life; a decline in ethics and morality hanging over our relations to others – all these she too experienced.
But Jane Austen’s is not a message of gloom. Reading the novels can encourage us to act like her heroines and heroes, learning to value self-knowledge above all. We can behave like Sir Walter Elliot, blind to the realities of life around him, or be like Anne and her farmer, “meaning to have spring again.”
At the beginning of the New Year, Anne Elliot was going to Bath with Lady Russell “with a sinking heart,” but before the year was over she had “smiles reined in and spirits dancing in private rapture.” Also, before the year’s end, Emma was in a “glow of attendant happiness,” Catherine Morland was beginning “perfect happiness,” Elizabeth Bennet was “the happiest creature in the world,” and even Fanny was “as secure as earthly happiness can be.”
May the coming decade bring all your dreams to fulfillment, and may Jane Austen and JASNA continue to give you unlimited enjoyment.