Sex, Money and Power in Jane Austen's Fiction, the Jane Austen Society of North America's Annual General Meeting, in New York City October 5-7, 2012
Breakout Sessions

Friday, October 5
Session A: 3:15 PM - 4:05 PM

A1   Janine Barchas
Austen Between the Covers: A Brief History of Book Cover Art

During the 1830s, publishers first began to sell ready-bound books in sturdy no-nonsense cloth bindings. With the advent of these so-called publishers' bindings, book covers transformed into marketing canvas. Barchas will lead us on a visual tour through the surprising history of the Austen cover - from Victorian schmaltz to Kindle-era nudity - speculating about what the extraordinary range of marketing strategies tells us about the shifting cultural opinion of Austen and her work.

Janine Barchas, who teaches Austen in Austin at the University of Texas, has just published Matters of Fact in Jane Austen: History, Location, and Celebrity.

A2   Tim Bullamore
Sex, Money and Power in Death: Obituaries in the Time of Jane Austen

Newspaper obituaries were well established by the time of Jane Austen. Yet then (as now) they were generally afforded to the rich, the powerful and the male of the species. Austen was none of these; thus notifications of her death were sparse in content. This session compares those that did appear with other obituaries of her time, in particular the widespread lamenting of the death of Princess Charlotte, who died a few months after Austen.

Tim Bullamore, Editor of Jane Austen's Regency World Magazine, is also an award-winning obituary writer who has contributed to major British newspapers as well as undertaking research into the genre.

A3   Russell Clark
All About "First Impressions": Elizabeth Bennet on W. 52nd Street

Broadway's First Impressions, in 1959, was one of several attempts to duplicate the My Fair Lady "franchise." Could lightning strike twice for a second singing-dancing Eliza? The presenter will detail what went wrong and what went right with this ill-fated musical, which played only 84 performances at New York's Alvin Theatre. Anticipate unsolved mysteries, backstage shenanigans, prima donna battles, astonishingly literate and amusing reviews, and eerie parallels to characters and situations in Pride and Prejudice.

Russell Clark, Executive Director of ESL Programs at Ohio State University, is fascinated by pop culture, literary adaptations, and theater history.

A4   Elvira Casal
Power(lessness) and Laughter: Austen's Heroines in Love

Focusing on Elizabeth Bennet and Emma, but including all the Austen heroines and a couple of anti-heroines as well, this talk examines the complex relationship between sexual attraction, power dynamics and laughter in Austen's novels.

Elvira Casal, a Professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University, enjoys talking about Jane Austen almost as much as she enjoys reading the novels.

A5   Marilynn Doore
Fallen Women of the Regency: Mistresses, Courtesans, and Prostitutes

As a writer, Jane Austen does not shy away from the topic of sexual indiscretion and its consequences for women. Regency society pardoned and even tacitly condoned licentious behavior in men yet censured "fallen" women, labeling them mistresses, courtesans, and prostitutes. It is this imperceptible world in Jane Austen's well-mannered drawing rooms, existing yet hidden, a very real possibility for any woman, that forms the subject here.

Marilynn Doore is a member of the New York Metropolitan Region's Juvenilia and works in the Department of Arms and Armor at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A6   Sarah Emsley
"Nothing Against her, but Her Husband, & Her Conscience": Jane Austen's Lady Susan in Edith Wharton's New York

Beautiful, charming, manipulative, and in search of the best of the power and pleasure that New York can offer, the heroine of Edith Wharton's 1913 novel The Custom of the Country bears a strong resemblance to the eponymous heroine of Jane Austen's Lady Susan. Comparing Lady Susan with Wharton's Undine Spragg illuminates Austen's and Wharton's shared interest in limited outlets for women's ambitions, and in questions about social and sexual power.

Sarah Emsley is the author of Jane Austen's Philosophy of the Virtues and editor of Edith Wharton's novel The Custom of the Country.

A7   Susan Allen Ford
A Sweet Creature's Horrid Novels: Gothic Reading in "Northanger Abbey"

If there's a genre synonymous with sex, money, and power, it's the Gothic. The "horrid" novels on the reading list Miss Andrews has given to Isabella Thorpe take us into relatively unfamiliar Gothic territory. What of human nature might we look for in these tales? What might they tell us about the erotics and economics of power in the family? In the nation? What imaginative spaces might these nightmarish novels lay bare?

Susan Allen Ford is Editor of Persuasions and Persuasions On-Line and teaches at Delta State University.

Session B: 4:30 PM - 5:20 PM

B1   Sue Forgue
Jane Austen in the 'Hood

"Location, location, location" is our mantra when purchasing real estate, but where you lived in Regency London not only established an address but also indicated your class in society. This lecture will explore the social geography in Austen's novels with Regency prints and the amazingly detailed Horwood's 1813 Map of London. Place the characters on a period map and you'll uncover clues that were obvious to readers of Austen's time but are less apparent to today's readers.

Sue Forgue is an accountant in private practice, as well as the creator and webmistress of the research website The Regency Encyclopedia.

B2   Emily Friedman
The Art of Making Art: The Power of Money in Adaptations of Jane Austen On (and Off-Off-Off) Broadway

Where better than New York, home of Broadway, to discuss Austen musicals? This session brings together a musical theatre historian (Bringardner) and an Austen scholar (Friedman), who ask: "Why has there not been a great Austen musical? Will there be one soon?" Bringardner and Friedman will discuss (and debate!) the history and future of Austen musicals in light of the history of literary musical adaptations: the good, the bad, and the downright weird.

Emily C. Friedman is a former Chawton House Library Fellow and an Assistant Professor of English at Auburn University, where she teaches and publishes on the 18th and 19th centuries-particularly women writers, intersections between the theatre and the novel, unpublished manuscript novels, and the senses. Her current book project uncovers scents and the sense of smell in 18th-century novels.

B3   Michael Gamer & Sarah Kotlova
Jane Austen and Social Media


B4   Marilyn Francus
"Where does discretion end, and avarice begin?": The Mercenary and the Prudent in Austen

Published in Persuasions 34 (2012).
“‘Where Does Discretion End, and Avarice Begin?’ The Mercenary and the Prudent in Austen”
Persuasions 34 (2012): 57-70.

Also: “Jane Austen, Pound for Pound” (incomes chart)

When Mrs. Gardiner teases Elizabeth about Wickham "deserting" her for Miss King, Elizabeth remarks, "Pray, my dear aunt, what is the difference in matrimonial affairs, between the mercenary and the prudent motive? Where does discretion end, and avarice begin?" Are Wickham's motives different from Colonel Fitzwilliam's? Are Mrs. Jennings's motives different from Mrs. Bennet's-or Sir Thomas Bertram's? This session will attempt to answer Elizabeth's query, by discussing the prudent and the mercenary in Austen.

Marilyn Francus is an Associate Professor of English at West Virginia University.

B5   Miriam Rheingold Fuller
Slits, Spikes, Steeds, and Scandals!: Coded Sexual Indiscretion in Jane Austen's Fiction

Sexual improprieties abound in Austen's fiction, and Austen references them through clothing, architectural features, and horses. Some allusions, like Fanny Price's fear that Maria will tear her gown on the spikes of the ha-ha, are obvious, while others, such as Willoughby's giving Marianne a horse, are implied. Enjoy a symbolic literary romp as we decode Austen's allusions to discover how they announce sexual immorality, presage sexual danger, and foreshadow sexual scandals.

Miriam Rheingold Fuller is Professor of English at the University of Central Missouri and has published articles on Medieval Romance and on Austen's fiction.

B6   Susannah Fullerton
Dirty Dancing in Jane Austen's Ballrooms

Dancing was an exciting and sexy activity for Jane Austen and her characters and plays a vital role in all of her novels. Dance allowed a man's "firm and upright figure" to be properly shown off, it permitted the exciting possibilities of touching one's partner, and it revealed feminine charms as the steps were performed. Discover what dance reveals of character, status and morals in the ballrooms of Jane Austen's fiction.

Susannah Fullerton is President of the Jane Austen Society of Australia (JASA) and author of Jane Austen and Crime and Dance with Jane Austen.

B7   Lynda A. Hall
Mary Crawford's Confusion: Navigating Between Money and Love

Mary Crawford was trained for speculative behavior, her morality is tainted, but she is confused when she falls in love with a second son destined for the church. Mary has been "spoilt." She cannot follow her heart, since she has been educated to see marriage as a transaction. Through Mary's story Jane Austen exposes the lack of moral values present within the marriage market, especially the association of city values within that structure.

Lynda A. Hall is an Assistant Professor of English at Chapman University, specializing in 19th-century English literature, and focusing on the English Gothic novel and Jane Austen.

B8   Elsa A. Solender
"Jane Austen in Love" as Entertainment

May another writer dare enter Jane Austen's consciousness and adopt her perspective without presuming to equal her achievement? May one blend well-known facts and fiction credibly in a tale true to Austen's spirit? Share my search for a voice and style not unlike Austen's, my retelling of her life story, and my invention of "missing" aspects of her "romantic career," from sexual awakening and first love, to my concept of a true love her genius deserved.

Elsa A. Solender, a former President of JASNA (1996-2000), is author of the novel Jane Austen in Love: An Entertainment and the Chawton House Library Story Competition prize-winner, "Second Thoughts," anthologized in Dancing with Mr. Darcy.

Saturday, October 6
Session C: 10:45 AM - 11:35 AM

C1   Frederica A. Jaret
An Introduction to Georgian Jewelry and How It Is Used in Austen's Major Novels

An insightful introduction to 18th-century jewelry-exploring the few references to jewelry in Austen's major novels, and then displaying examples of Georgian jewelry while speculating which of Austen's characters would have worn them.

Frederica A. Jaret is a retired Administrative Law Judge who bought her first piece of antique jewelry at age 8, read her first Austen novel at age 11, and has been doing a lot of both things ever since.

C2   Nancy Magnuson
The Power of an Idea: How JASNA Came to Be

Our organizational history, in stories and pictures from the JASNA archives and the papers of Alberta Hirshheimer Burke at the Goucher College Library. How JASNA has grown from that first meeting in 1979 of 100 people at the Gramercy Park Hotel to over 4,000 members, sparked by the vision of Joan Austen-Leigh, Henry Burke and J. David Grey. There will be time for you to share your own stories to contribute to the archives.

Nancy Magnuson, who holds degrees in history and library science, has been College Librarian at Goucher College since 1987.

C3   Jeff Nigro & William Phillips
Jane Austen, Madame de StaŽl, and the Seductiveness of Conversation

On the surface, the flamboyant de StaŽl and the self-contained Austen could hardly seem more different. Nevertheless, one of the things they have in common is the centrality of "conversation," in their emotional and artistic lives. This presentation examines the "seductiveness of conversation" in the language, lives, and work of these writers. Audience members can also expect a bit of speculation about why Austen declined her one opportunity to meet the fabled de StaŽl.

Jeff Nigro is a lecturer at the Art Institute of Chicago, instructor at the Newberry Library, and Regional Coordinator of the Greater Chicago Region of JASNA.

William Phillips is an ESL/EFL teacher who was Co-Coordinator of the 2008 AGM, and is currently Deputy Coordinator of the Greater Chicago Region.

C4   Susan Jones
The Power of Freeloading: OPM-Enjoying Other People's Money

However much one may talk about money and power in Austen's novels, one class of characters doesn't have to inherit money or marry wealth. These characters may become tyrants in their neighbors' households, or they may insinuate themselves into the hospitality of the more powerful. These are the "freeloaders." From Aunt Norris and Lucy Steele to Colonel Fitzwilliam, the characters that live on other people's money shape the plots and often determine the novels' outcomes.

Susan Jones is a Professor of English at Palm Beach Atlantic University with a specialization in Renaissance and Medieval literature, but a long-time love for all things Jane Austen.

C5   Sheila Johnson Kindred & Hugh M. Kindred
Naval Prize, Power, and Passion in "Persuasion"

Sex, money and power are cloaked in many disguises in Jane Austen's novels. We will address the particular significance of naval prize taking as a source of wealth, social power and sensual attraction in the construction of Persuasion. We will also demonstrate how an understanding of Jane Austen's knowledge of naval life and manners, provided by her brother Captain Charles Austen, increases appreciation of the subtlety and artistry of this novel.

Sheila Johnson Kindred, who teaches in the Philosophy Department at Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, has lectured about and published articles on Jane Austen and her naval brother Charles.

Hugh M. Kindred, Emeritus Professor of Law at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, has conducted research on the life of Jane Austen's naval brother Charles.

C6   Syrie James & Diana Birchall
The Austen Assizes

A panel of six characters from various Austen novels, from Lady Catherine de Bourgh to John Willoughby and Lucy Steele, will be put on trial before a magistrate, and required to defend themselves for crimes committed involving abuses of power, money, and sex. It will be a parody of English justice, a panoply of Jane Austen's most colorful characters, and a delectably defensive verbal free-for-all!

Syrie James is author of The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, The Secret Diaries of Charlotte BrontŽ, Dracula My Love, Nocturne, and Forbidden.

Diana Birchall, a story analyst who reads novels for Warner Bros., is the author of Mrs. Darcy's Dilemma, Mrs. Elton in America, and a scholarly biography of her novelist grandmother.

C7   Maggie Lane with Angela Barlow
Lady Susan and Other Widows: Merry, Mercenary or Mean

Published in Persuasions 34 (2012).
“Lady Susan and Other Widows: Merry, Mercenary, or Mean”
Persuasions 34 (2012): 72-82.

To be a widow of Austen's class and time was to enjoy a degree of autonomy unknown to her married and maiden counterparts. Some were empowered by wealth to dictate to family and community; others needed all the wiles at their disposal to survive. Austen's array of widows is replete with controllers and schemers, including Lady Susan, the most audacious and sexually alluring of them all. This lecture, with readings, examines the unique opportunities for financial and sexual power inherent in the state of widowhood.

Maggie Lane is the author of many books about Jane Austen, including Jane Austen's World, Jane Austen and Food and most recently Understanding Austen.

Angela Barlow, author and performer of two successful plays, Reader, I Married Him and After Chekhov, has had a long and varied acting career in British theatre, television and radio.

Session D: 3:15 PM - 4:05 PM

D1   Laura Vorachek
The Piano in the World of Jane Austen

This presentation will reveal the sexual dynamics of the piano in Jane Austen's world by examining late-18th- and early-19th-century piano instruction manuals alongside Austen's novels. The piano was a sign of class status, of feminine accomplishments; it also could be the means of advancing romantic relationships, providing the opportunity for physical intimacy and private conversation. Piano instruction manuals, however, attempted to contain the sexual power of the instrument by controlling women's bodies, time, and talent.

Laura Vorachek is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Dayton, where she teaches courses on Jane Austen and Victorian literature.

D2   Elaine Bander
Neither Sex, Money, Nor Power: Why Elizabeth Finally Says Yes

Published in Persuasions 34 (2012).
“Neither Sex, Money, Nor Power: Why Elizabeth Finally Says ‘Yes!’”
Persuasions 34 (2012): 25-41.

Neither sex, money, nor power motivates Elizabeth to accept Darcy's second proposal. While she clearly experiences an immediate sexual attraction for Wickham, and later entertains potentially romantic feelings for Colonel Fitzwilliam, her feelings for Darcy progress from indifference and dislike to anger and hatred before eventually resolving into respect and gratitude. Only then does Elizabeth begin to feel affection and, eventually, tenderness and love, the result not of visceral attraction but of serious, sober reflection.

Elaine Bander, retired from the English Department of Dawson College (Montreal), has been a frequent JASNA speaker as well as Regional Coordinator for Montreal and member of the Editorial Board of Persuasions.

D3   Mary Ann O'Farrell
Why Manners Matter

Published in Persuasions 34 (2012).
“Meditating Much upon Forks: Manners and Manner in Austen’s Novels ”
Persuasions 34 (2012): 99-110.

Austen's novels are thoroughly dependent on our understanding manners and on our recognizing that they are the ways character might be read and the means by which power is grasped and used, negotiated and played. In this session, we will identify and examine some places in Austen's works where manners - good and bad - make the difference, and we will think about what we know when we have learned about manners from Jane Austen.

Mary Ann O'Farrell, Associate Professor of English at Texas A&M University, has written about Jane Austen in her book Telling Complexions: The Nineteenth-Century English Novel and the Blush and in numerous essays about Austen's novels.

D4   Juliet McMaster
Sex and the Senses

Published in Persuasions 34 (2012).
“Sex and the Senses”
Persuasions 34 (2012): 42-56.

Some critics have argued that Jane Austen was more interested in social and economic mores than in the body. But in this study Juliet examines the ways in which, for Austen's women and men, the classic five bodily senses-sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch-become gateways to the erotic.

Juliet McMaster, Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at the University of Alberta, is a founder member of JASNA; frequent speaker; author of books on Thackeray, Dickens, and Trollope as well as Austen; and co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen.

D5   Pat Michaelson
The Power of Speech; or, Why Can't a Woman Be More like a Man?

When Austen wrote dialogue for General Tilney and for Miss Bates, she wasn't just contrasting two individual characters; she was engaging the cultural norms of her time that specified how to speak like a (powerful) man or a (powerless) woman. In this informal session, participants will learn which features of dialogue "mark" these qualities and will practice speaking in different roles. And if you're ready for an even greater challenge, we'll try powerless men (Mr. Woodhouse) and powerful women (Lady Catherine de Bourgh).

Pat Michaelson teaches literature at the University of Texas at Dallas and is the author of Speaking Volumes: Women, Reading, and Speech in the Age of Austen.

D6   A. Marie Sprayberry
Sex, Power, and Other People's Money: The Prince Regent and His Impact on Jane Austen's Life and Work

Jane Austen wrote this about the Princess of Wales in 1813: "Poor Woman, I shall support her as long as I can, because she is a Woman, & because I hate her Husband." The Prince Regent brazenly personified the three themes of this AGM-as long as the money in question was someone else's. But did Jane Austen have particular reasons for disdaining him? And how might her views of the Prince have influenced her work? Photos of contemporary royal commemorative china and medals will illustrate the talk.

A. Marie Sprayberry, Regional Coordinator for JASNA Syracuse, works from her Syracuse home for NYC-based Guilford Publications. She collects British royal commemoratives.

D7   Marcia McClintock Folsom
Power in "Mansfield Park": Austen's Study of Domination and Resistance

Published in Persuasions 34 (2012).
“Power in Mansfield Park: Austen’s Study of Domination and Resistance ”
Persuasions 34 (2012): 83-98.

Austen's supreme examination of power and of resistance to that power is Mansfield Park. Two works by James C. Scott, Weapons of the Weak and Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts, offer fascinating analytical tools to identify ways the powerful exercise their power in this novel, and the "weapons" used by the weak to resist coercion. This talk considers "hidden transcripts" of Sir Thomas and Henry Crawford's power and of Fanny Price's resistance.

Marcia McClintock Folsom is Professor of Literature at Wheelock College and the editor of two volumes on teaching Austen's novels.