Breakout Speakers

Session A: Friday, October 14, 3:15 PM

A1: Joan R. Vredenburgh, Naval Academy Preparatory School, Newport, RI
Go Navy! Beat Army! Jane Austen as a Plebe
In Jane Austen’s novels as well as in the novels of her contemporaries, while the navy was respected, the army and militia officers are often portrayed in a negative light.  This presentation focuses on Colonel Brandon, who at first appears to be an exception to that rule.  However, upon further examination, we see how Austen develops him as a measuring stick to examine the attitudes of Austen’s society towards the army and the militia.

A2: Liz Cooper, Wisconsin Region
Jane Austen, Publisher: Writing herself into money and longing for more
“I am never too busy to think of Sense and Sensibility.  I can no more forget it, than a mother can forget her suckling child” – so wrote Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra.  But Austen had to use her own funds to become published.  Learn about the publishing world in Regency times and the royalties Austen received, drawn mostly from her own letters and from those of Austen family members.

A3: Sheryl Craig, University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, MO
Wealth Has Much to Do With It: The Economics of Sense and Sensibility
Published in Persuasions 33 (2011). “Wealth Has Much to Do With It: The Economics of Sense and SensibilityPersuasions 33 (2011): 13-28.
In the waning years of the eighteenth century, it was incredibly wealthy characters living the lifestyles of the rich and famous (preferably in haunted castles) who sold books.  No one was publishing novels about ordinary people who lived in a cottage down the lane.  In retrospect, it seems a risky thing to have done, but Jane Austen was about to break the mold with heroines whose modest income would determine the course the story would take.

A4: Pauline Beard, Pacific University, Forest Grove, OR
The English Columella or Pigs in the Primroses and Periwinkles
Ah, the follies of the rich seeking out the agrarian life!  In an amusing take inspired by the Roman writer Columella, and examining the poetry of Pope, Milton, Spenser, Thompson and Graves, Professor Beard will examine how Austen uses satire in Sense and Sensibility to illustrate that “cottage love” is, as Elinor realizes, unrealistic, and how poetry leads Marianne to love dead leaves.

A5: Mary Watson, George Mason University, Arlington, VA
A Defense of Edward Ferrars: Austen’s Hero as a Nexus of Sense and Sensibility
In this fascinating presentation, we learn how Edward Ferrars finds discontent when “sense” alone influences his conduct, and misery when relying solely on “sensibility.” Austen has furnished her novel with a hero who must change and whose happiness relies on his ability to balance these two qualities.

A6: Kelly McDonald, Independent Scholar, Winooski, VT
A House Divided? How the “Sister Arts” Define the Dashwood Sisters
Austen consciously chose for eldest sister Elinor Dashwood a desire to practice the art of drawing; for middle sister Marianne, that of making music.  Does the choice of dividing the “sister arts” between sisters imply their characterizations – perhaps their sense and sensibility?  Or, does a division somehow encompass the combination, as in Miss Austen’s title of Sense and Sensibility?

A7: Joan Strasbaugh, Wisconsin Region
In the Beginning: Sense and Sensibility - with Hot Sauce
Sense and Sensibility has one of the most powerful opening pages in all of literature!  This session will demonstrate how the circumstances of Jane Austen’s life and the book’s creation influenced its opening passages, how they’ve been interpreted and adapted for modern audiences and why they still move us today.

Session B: Friday, October 14, 4:15 PM

B1: Jack Laney, Collector and Historian, Kent, WA
Gentlemanly Pursuits: A Brief Discourse on Snuff, Cravats, and Firearms
This interactive session explores snuff and snuff etiquette, the many styles of cravats popular during the period and the firearms of Regency gentlemen.  Participants will have an opportunity to try their skills at tying cravats, handling snuff and observing the discharge of a flintlock tinder lighter.  Come prepared to learn!

B2: Diane Capitani, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
If St. Augustine were a marrying man… Could he have married our Jane?
Ever wonder why St. Augustine was the patron saint of brewers and sore eyes?  Professor Capitani’s engaging presentation will explain.  Augustine believed women’s souls were more in need of redemption than men’s and that a woman too “full of sense” was a usurper of the male role.  What would Jane have made of this theology, and would she—or Elinor—have agreed?

B3: Jeff Nigro, Art Historian, Chicago, IL
The Iconography of Sensibility
Austen’s characters were able to understand and interpret emotions through an individual’s expressions and physical behavior.  In this fascinating presentation centering on Marianne Dashwood, learn how, in an age when actors were encouraged to study great art and visual artists were inspired by great actors, body language became “readable.”

B4: Louise West, Curator, Jane Austen’s House Museum, Chawton, England
Catch up with Jane: All the facts on the life, loves and literature, from the home of one who knows
Want a session on Jane Austen basics?  Kick your boots off and join Louise West as she enlightens you on everything you wanted to know about Jane Austen, but were afraid to ask.  Her illustrated talk will take you to the place where Sense and Sensibility was written.

B5: Sarah Emsley, Independent Scholar, Halifax, NS Canceled
Rewriting the Ending of Sense and Sensibility
At the end of the novel the narrator writes “among the merits and the happiness of Elinor and Marianne … let it not be ranked as the least considerable, that though sisters, and living almost within sight of each other, they could live without disagreement between themselves, or producing coolness between their husbands.”  Ouch!  Hear what extraordinary scholar Sarah Emsley has to say about the novel’s troublesome ending.

B6: Kazuko Hisamori, Ferris University, Yokohama, Japan
Facing a Portrait of His/Her Lover: The Monster in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the Heroines in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice
Exploring the significance of both miniature and full-size portraits in English life during the 18th and 19th century, this session will make a close analysis of scenes in Frankenstein, Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, and what is the impact when the main characters face portraits of their “lovers.”

B7: Linda Slothouber, Antique Dealer, Gaithersburg, MD
Decorating Your Own Barton Cottage
Like the Dashwoods, many of us may also feel separated by cruel fate from the grand houses in the English countryside where we naturally belong.  We can follow the Dashwood’s example and use small accessories—“linen, plate, china” and so forth—to bring a touch of Georgian atmosphere into our lives.

Session C: Friday, October 14, 5:15 PM

C1: Bill Peirson, Attorney, Dallas, TX
Ports of the Period
The Prince Regent, a man of overindulgence in many ways, liked his punch “strong.”  Join Bill Peirson as he reviews the various ports, sherries, brandies, and other alcoholic beverages that men of Regency England consumed with verve.  A tasting bar will be available.  Designate a driver and sign up for this session.

C2: Joyce Kerr Tarpley, Mountain View College, Dallas, TX
Playing with Genesis: Younger Sons and Primogeniture in Sense and Sensibility
Published in Persuasions 33 (2011). “Playing with Genesis: Sonship, Liberty, and Primogeniture in Sense and SensibilityPersuasions 33 (2011): 89-102.
The recent PBS blockbuster, Downton Abbey, borrows from Sense and Sensibility the theme of primogeniture.  Like Edward Ferrars, Matthew Crawley is a reluctant heir, but unlike Edward, he has no younger brother. “Playing With Genesis: Younger Sons and Primogeniture in Sense and Sensibility” explores the novel as a reflection of Austen’s awareness of the seventeenth century debate over primogeniture—a debate in which both sides relied on the biblical book of Genesis—to show its effect on sons, especially younger sons, Colonel Brandon and Robert Ferrars.

C3: Kristen Miller Zohn, Curator, Columbus Museum, Columbus, GA
Tokens of Imperfect Affection: Portrait Miniatures and Hairwork in Sense and Sensibility
Jane Austen depicts several distinctive objects worn and cherished by the characters in Sense and Sensibility.  This intriguing slide-show presentation will review the history of portrait miniatures and hairwork, exploring examples from Jane Austen’s life and works, and investigate their inclusion in the novel.

C4: William Phillips, Greater Chicago Region
Meaner than a Texas Polecat: Present Day Perspective on Austen’s Largest Cast of Nasties
Sense and Sensibility has the largest cast of “nasties” in all of Austen’s works.  This presentation attempts a systematic and amusing examination of Austen’s masterly development of the mean-spirited and unappealing.  Satirical illustrations of polecats help us gain insight into the “nasties” and we’ll find clues within the novel to show how these characters got to be the way they are.

C5: Lauren Gilbert, South Florida Region
Jane Austen’s Cavalier: Is Colonel Brandon Her Most Romantic Hero?
Darcy, Darcy, Darcy!  Attend this session to explore why Colonel Brandon is really the most romantic male protagonist in Jane Austen’s works.  Camouflaged by his age and his flannel waistcoat he is often overlooked as the real romantic hero that Marianne describes early in the novel.  A quiz will end this intriguing, and potentially controversial, session.

C6: Joanna Thaler, University of Texas, Austen, TX
Them’s Fightin’ Words: The Gun-slinging Tradition in Sense and Sensibility
While Southwestern gun fights are not literally present in Sense and Sensibility, the novel explores similar traditions of upholding honor and resolving heated differences by force.  This session will look at key characters, physical objects and pointed conversations and will discuss what constitutes “a weapon.”

C7: Susan Jones, Palm Beach University, Royal Palm Beach, FL
Death and the Darling Daughters: The Grim Reaper in Sense and Sensibility
Death is an ever-present consideration in Austen’s novels, but nowhere more than in Sense and Sensibility where we see how death and greed can divide a family.  In this lively presentation, see how the characters are influenced by deception, disinheritance, wealth and eventually, love.  Life, it seems, can’t go on without death.

Session D: Saturday, October 15, 10:45 AM

D1: Tom Kelly, Jane Austen Society, Scottish Branch, Edinburgh, Scotland
Dads, Cads, and Lads
Want to get in touch with your feminine side?  Not in this session, whose primary question asks, what does Jane Austen’s portrayal of male characters say to contemporary male readers?  How do these groups of characters—the “Dads” who head up families, the “Cads” who disrupt them and the “Lads” who heroically wed our heroines—impact the loves and relationships of the two sisters in Sense and Sensibility?  Come and get a real Scotman’s perspective!

D2: Patricia Michaelson, University of Texas, Dallas, TX
How to Talk Like Mrs. Palmer (and other silly people)
Published in Persuasions 33 (2011). “Woman’s Language; or, How to Speak like Mrs. Palmer (and Other Silly People)” Persuasions 33 (2011): 53-60.
In Sense and Sensibility, as in all of her novels, Austen pokes fun at the misuse of words.  In this entertaining breakout session, we will look at how “Woman’s language,” (not necessarily limited to women) characterized by using many words to say very little, is easy to master and fun to use.

D3: Margaret Chittick and Vera Quin, Jane Austen Society, London Branch, London, England
Sense and Sensibility is full of surprises
The characters in Sense and Sensibility often express their surprise at the turn of events.  Some surprises we find plausible, others suspect and a few, even shocking!  Listen to examples read aloud and to an engaging Power Point presentation, then offer up your own opinions.

D4: Emma Spooner, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB
Cultivating Sense from the Cult of Sensibility: The Influence of Frances Burney and Maria Edgeworth in Austen’s Sense and Sensibility
Austen was not the first female author to satirize social expectations for female behavior and exemplify rational thinking in women.  The speaker examines the legacy which Burney and Edgeworth left Austen in their respective novels, Camilla and Belinda and how their works may have influenced Austen in her portrayals of Elinor and Marianne.

D5: Carol Adams, Author, Richardson, TX
“Don’t Judge a Book by its (Flannel) Cover”: A Caregiver Reads Sense and Sensibility
If Sense and Sensibility were a body, care-giving might well be its heart.  In this lively discussion, we see how Jane Austen, a caregiver herself, uses scenes of care-giving to illustrate character, offer comic relief and reveal women’s unstable situations, all while furthering the plot.

D6: Helong Zhang, Shanghai International Studies University, Shanghai, China
Jane Austen’s One Hundred Years in China
Published in Persuasions 33 (2011). “Jane Austen’s One Hundred Years in China” Persuasions 33 (2011): 103-114.
In this enlightening presentation, the speaker will trace the past 100 years of Austen’s reception in China by tracing Chinese translation and criticism of her novels in social, political and cultural contexts.  Learn how a recent unprecedented “boom” in Austen studies has given rise to a tremendous leap in degree programs and scholarly publications.

D7: Kathryn Davis, University of Dallas, Irving, TX
Exonerating Mrs. Dashwood
Published in Persuasions 33 (2011). “Exonerating Mrs. Dashwood” Persuasions 33 (2011): 61-74.
Mrs. Dashwood, by her own admission, commits an almost fatal error by allowing the nature of her daughter’s relationship with Willoughby to remain a secret.  Yet, in no other Austen novel do we see parents so intimately invested in their children’s happiness.  Is Mrs. Dashwood an exemplary Austen mother or a substandard parent?

Session E: Saturday, October 15, 11:45 AM

E1: Carrie Bebris, Author, Dayton, OH
Gunsmoke: Dueling in Jane Austen’s Time
Since the duel between Colonel Brandon and Mr. Willoughby takes place entirely off the page, modern readers might not realize that a duel occurred at all.  The unwritten drama in which the gentlemen in question risked death and criminal prosecution is brought to life in a multimedia presentation showing how the duel might have unfolded.

E2: Douglas Burchill, Computer Whiz, Boalsburg, PA
Au5t3n: Journeys in the Jane Austen Pop Culture Underground
Want to see how a new generation of Austen fans are enjoying her work?  Doug Burchill will explain the “high tech” Jane, the “underground” Jane and how her work is impacting and being impacted by modern media.  Bring those iPads!

E3: Juliette Wells, Manhattanville College, Purchase, NY
Sense and Sensibility Will Change Your Life
Lovers of Austen still turn to Sense and Sensibility for guidance and they share their transformative experiences with others, both in print and online.  How and why do they use this particular novel in their projects of self-improvement?  Explore these questions through a wide range of popular materials that testify to the transformative power of Sense and Sensibility.

E4: Kathleen Anderson, Palm Beach Atlantic University, Royal Palm Beach, FL
Women’s Multiple Intelligences in Sense and Sensibility
Austen seldom portrays imbecilic females in her fiction.  Instead, she complicates readers’ expectations by endowing both major and minor characters with distinctive combinations of talents and weaknesses.  In this entertaining presentation, the audience will participate in an amusing survey to determine which character they most resemble, and what profession they might pursue in the present age.

E5: Beth Lau, California State University, Long Beach, CA
Sense and Sensibility and Cognitive Therapy
Published in Persuasions 33 (2011). “Optimism and Pessimism: Approaching Sense and Sensibility through Cognitive Therapy” Persuasions 33 (2011): 40-52.
Jane Austen’s portraits of the contrasting personalities of Marianne and Elinor Dashwood illustrate how one person’s thinking habits can propel them into a deep depression while another character’s optimism sustains them.  Explore how Austen’s character portraits uphold the major principles of modern cognitive therapy.

E6: Jacqueline Johnson and Theresa Reynolds, Indiana University Southeast, New Albany, IN
A Justification for Mrs. Jennings
Mrs. Jennings is an often maligned character in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.  But if you look beyond her garrulousness, how do her characteristics, behaviors and actions compare with other authority figures in Sense and Sensibility, other Austen novels and other literature of the period, and how does she compare with her real life contemporaries?  It’s about time someone set the record straight.

E7: Miranda Yaggi, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Little Girls Learning: Reading with Sense, Playing with Sensibility
Reading and parlor gaming emerge as two recurrent activities in Austen novels.  Although a great deal of scholarship has been devoted to each activity individually, this talk will explore the notion that Austen proactively links them together pedagogically.  Even if you are an Anne Elliot, you will enjoy this session.

Session F: Saturday, October 15, 3:30 PM

F1: James Nagle, Attorney, Seattle, WA
Coaches, Barouches and Gigs, Oh My! Land Transportation in Jane Austen’s Time
From Jane’s donkey-cart, to Henry Crawford’s barouche, Regency travelers, like us, hoped for speed, comfort and safety.  Unfortunately, Jane and her contemporaries had to sacrifice speed for safety or vice versa and endure the discomfort of long kidney-rattling journeys which made for extended stays with friends and relatives.  Find out all about Regency travel and how your mode of transportation illustrated your status in life.

F2: Lorrie Clark, Lady Eaton College, Trent University, Peterborough, ON
Romantic Intentions in Sense and Sensibility
Marianne’s “romantic sensibility” has borne the brunt of Austen’s alleged anti-romanticism.  However, that criticism has been rightly disputed.  What has not been noted, however, is the extent to which “intentions and conventions” also inform the novel and the reader’s interpretation.

F3: Marcia McClintock Folsom, Wheelock College, Boston, MA
First and Second: Attachments, Novels, and Sisters
Published in Persuasions 33 (2011). “The Narrator’s Voice and the Sense of Sense and SensibilityPersuasions 33 (2011): 29-39.
This fascinating talk explores the issue of “attachments” in Sense and Sensibility.  Focusing on the Dashwood sisters, Professor Folsom illustrates how, despite their yearning for men “the romantic attachment between men and women—marriage—is overshadowed by the emotional satisfaction of sisterly bonds,” the “first attachment.”

F4: Susan Allen Ford, Delta State University, Cleveland, MS
Mrs. Dashwood’s Insight: Reading Edward Ferrars and Columella; or, the Distressed Anchoret
Published in Persuasions 33 (2011). “Mrs. Dashwood’s Insight: Reading Edward Ferrars and Columella; or, The Distressed AnchoretPersuasions 33 (2011): 75-88.
Mrs. Dashwood, rallying Edward Ferrars, tells him his “sons will be brought up to as many pursuits, employments, professions, and trades as Columella’s.”  Her reference to Richard Graves’s 1779 comic novel, in which sense and sensibility and varied narratives of courtship, seduction, and marriage all play a role, leaves us wondering what Mrs. Dashwood has been reading, and how that reading might shape our own understanding of character, theme, and genre.

F5: Nora Stovel, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB
From Page to Screen: Emma Thompson’s Film Adaptation
After her divorce from Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson threw herself into adapting Jane Austen’s first published novel.  The Oscar winning actress professed “Sense and Sensibility really saved me from going under, I think, in a very nasty way.”  In this delightful session, Professor Stovel will use film clips to highlight Thompson’s adaptation and her personal journal and to illustrate why Ang Lee declared “No more sheeps!”

F6: LeeAnn Derdeyn, University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, TX
Intent to Deceive: Self-Deception in Austen’s Sense and Sensibility
Deception plays a major part in the plot of Sense and Sensibility but it is their own self-deception that causes serious consequences for both Elinor and Marianne, saved only by “extraordinary fate.”  Examine the implications of this self-deception, and determine whether certain favorable outcomes “could not be otherwise.”