Persuasions #3, 1981                                                                                                                                            Pages 31-32



From Ellen Bernstein, Boston:
This is to tell you about a performance which took place in Boston on the afternoon of May 17lh. It was entitled “Written by a Lady” and consisted of scenes of love and courtship from several of the novels of Jane Austen linked by appropriate narration and music. The three professional actors who performed in the play were all excellent. They dressed in period costume and were lively and believable in a number of different parts. John Adair’s Mr. Collins was a masterpiece and Pat Dougan made a formidable Lady Catherine while Linda Cameron captured Mrs. Elton to perfection. They were equally good in their other parts and the 60 guests from the New England Chapter were very pleased with the event. We had the additional good fortune of being able to hold the performance in the British consulate. The play was followed by tea.

From Cappie McQuarrie, Chicago:
Last Saturday, May 30th, we had another interesting meeting of the Chicago area members – again, at the Chicago Cultural Center. Maggie Cohn and Mary Marshall arranged it.

Mary Marshall, a bibliographer and cataloguer for a rare book dealer, spoke on book collecting in general and specifically on collecting Jane Austen. She brought a number of books from her own collection ranging from a first edition of Northanger Abbey and Persuasion in its original boards to the most recent critical studies. It was a fascinating afternoon for Jane Austen enthusiasts.

From Shirley Bassett, Clayton, Missouri:
Our group now numbers 17, with possibilities of growth. Our June meeting was highlighted by a slide presentation of the costumes of Jane Austen’s period courtesy of Nancy Kaprelian and Cathy Reilly. In September we had a reading of “Lovers’ Vows” which I directed. This time there was a surplus of actors as opposed to the situation that prevailed at Mansfield Park.

From Joan Carr, Davis, California:
This past fall (1980) I would join a couple of my friends (also Janeites) in avid and detailed discussion of Masterpiece Theatre’s enchanting serialization of
Pride and Prejudice. We would all be very eager to read about the views of other members concerning the series.

From Eileen Morris, Toronto:
We had a meeting yesterday (June 21st) at Mary Millard’s home. She intends having a garden party in June every year and promises the same ideal weather that we enjoyed. Discussion centered on 1982 and Toronto as the location of the AGM. This city has many congenial resources from a network of antiquarian booksellers to points of historic interest to a Tourist Board that is very co-operative.

From J. David Grey, New York:
On April 25th, a cold and gloomy Saturday afternoon, over 80 members from Metropolitan New York gathered at the English Speaking Union. As the afternoon progressed, tea and sandwiches were followed by sherry and biscuits and the conversation was non-stop for four hours. The recent appearance of
Sir Charles Grandison, the playlet attributed by some to JA, served as the theme for the occasion. Joe Costa inveigled me into delivering an impromptu lecture on the book and the probability of JA’s authorship of it. Fortunately, I had Harry Burke to assist me. Among the guests was Dr. A. L. Rowse, the Shakespearean scholar. His interest in JA prompted the English society to invite him to speak at its AGM in Chawton a few years ago.

During the last two weeks in November a film made for British television premiered at The Art Theater in Greenwich Village. The improbable title was “Jane Austen in Manhattan” and the plot, coincidentally, involved the dispute between two rival theatrical companies, one operatic the other avant-garde, over the production of Sir Charles Grandison. The producers, at this writing, have promised a special JA afternoon, with refreshments, for the local membership. We shall, therefore, be celebrating her birthday early.

From Lorraine Hanaway, Philadelphia:
Members of the Philadelphia region met on November 22, 1981 for dessert and coffee and to see Charlotte Goodman’s film of the 1975 Jane Austen Bicentenary Festivities in Hampshire. Charlotte graciously answered queries about the celebrations. The next gathering will be the second annual spring luncheon at the Faculty Club of the University of Pennsylvania on April 14, 1982, at 12 noon. For more details, members should contact Lorraine Hanaway, 19 Farm Road, Wayne, PA 19087.

From Joan Austen-Leigh, British Columbia:
Wine and a light supper were served to Vancouver members at the home of Freydis Welland in May. Nine ladies attended, none of whom had ever met each other before. But ‘when nice people’ get together! At the end of ten minutes, one would have thought they were old, old friends. As we are going to press Eileen Sutherland plans a birthday party (December 16, naturally) at her home in North Vancouver.


JA and the Pleasures of Dalliance

Winston Churchill, having heard that Quennell was writing the biography of Ruskin, once mumbled, “Ah Rushkin … Rushkin – a man with a shingularly unfortunate shexlife”; much the same remark, though for different reasons, might be made of Quennell himself, who seems to have regularly loved and lost. For a while he had a liaison with a woman of remarkably literary tastes: “I remember exchanging a complete Jane Austen, published by the Oxford University Press with some admirable plates, for the hour or two of warmth and happiness she might have otherwise refused me.”

Seldom are the pleasures of literature so tangible!

From the Washington Post, Book World, January 18, 1981
sent by: Eloise M. Bell, Arlington, VA

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