2000 Annual General Meeting, Oct. 13-15, Boston, MA, USA

Theme: “Pride and Prejudice: Past, Present, Future”


One of the most English of North American cities, Boston is an ideal place to consider Pride and Prejudice.  To many visitors, Boston, with its gaslights, elegant townhouses, and charmingly haphazard street pattern, is reminiscent of the London where the Gardiners reside and the Bingley siblings settle for the winter. JASNA polls have consistently shown Boston to be the most requested site for an AGM, and we have set out to prove that JASNA members have been right all along.

The past, present, and future intertwine in Boston. Its past can be glimpsed through its historical landmarks, its present through its residents, visitors and fresh influx of students each fall, and its future through the development of technology in Cambridge and nearby Route 128. The year 2000 in Boston offers an ideal time and setting to reflect upon Jane Austen’s best-known and best-loved work.

Mid-October is the peak of the fall tourist season in New England. AGM attendees will join tourists viewing the foliage, conventioners, and those attending parents’ weekends at local colleges in converging upon Boston the weekend of October 13-15. And for good reason. If the weather cooperates, you will see Boston in its beauty. The play of sunlight and shadow is stunning, red and gold leaves blanket the sidewalks, and the crisp air is marvelous for strolling in this notably walkable city. Like Elizabeth Bennet, you may wish to “indulge your love of solitary walks.”

We encourage you to add a few days before or after the AGM to explore Boston’s offerings, but we advise that you make your plans soon. Fortunately, you will not need to concern yourself with the task of finding a centrally located hotel for the weekend of the conference. Our hotel, the Park Plaza, is superbly situated to take advantage of Boston’s diversions. The Park Plaza is quite grand: we hope that you will find its “assembly rooms” to your liking. Within easy walking distance of the hotel are the Public Garden with its swan boats, Newbury Street shopping and restaurants, and Copley Square with its magnificent Boston Public Library, shopping malls, and historic churches. The theatre district is nearby, and trendy South End restaurants are a short cab ride away.

On the subject of transportation, we must issue a caveat: avoid driving if possible, as Boston traffic and drivers often live up to their unsavory reputations. We advise taking a cab or using public transportation (the MBTA—locals call it the “T”). The Arlington T stop on the MBTA’s Green Line is only one block away from the hotel. A subway ride can easily take you to the Museum of Fine Arts, the Gardner Museum, or to Boston’s waterfront where “Old Ironsides” is docked and throngs enjoy the colorful Quincy Market.

Of course, we promise to divert you with our program. There will be the customary welcome reception, book signing, guided tours, Saturday night banquet, and Sunday brunch. Our five outstanding major speakers include Ed Copeland (Pomona College), Ruth Perry (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), John Wiltshire (LaTrobe University), Julia Prewitt Brown (Boston University), and Marjorie Garber (Harvard University).

We have engaged Thomas Fowler, Director of the Massachusetts Historical Society, to talk about the &ldlquo;Austen-Boston connection” and early nineteenth-century Boston. The budding writers of the Young Writers Workshop will participate in a break-out session on Saturday, and British actress Kim Hicks will perform her one-woman show “Courtship” on Friday night and on Sunday afternoon at the Park Plaza (admission to this special event is $10.00).

- click here for schedule -

Main speakers will be:

Ed Copeland, Professor of English at Pomona College

Ruth Perry, Professor of Literature at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

John Wiltshire, Reader of English at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia

Julia Prewitt Brown, Professor of English at Boston University

Marjorie Garber, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of English and Director of the Humanities Center at Harvard University

Breakout Session #1, “First Impressions”

Breakout Session #2, “Second Thoughts”

Breakout Session #3, “Third Dimension”

Actress Kim Hicks to Present Courtship


Actress Kim Hicks will present Courtship, a one-woman show of scenes from Jane Austen’s novels. Performances will be held on Friday at 8:00 P.M. and Sunday at 1:00 PM. at the Park Plaza Hotel. Attired in Regency costume, Ms. Hicks traces the courtship narrative through selections from Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey, Emma, and the Minor Works. The famous opening line and first chapter of Pride and Prejudice are highlights of the performance. According to a theatre review in Venue, Ms. Hicks is the “very personification of intelligent wit, using a range of voices and mannerisms from the giddy feminine ramblings of Miss Bates in Emma to the wryly amused masculine tones of Mr. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice.”

Saturday Evening Diversions

After the banquet on Saturday night, choose among the following diversions:

Our weekend promises to sparkle with erudition, liveliness, and wit. After the conference, it is our fondest wish that you will say, as did the eldest Miss Bennet: “The party seemed so well selected, so suitable one with the other. I hope we may often meet again.”

In the meantime, learn more about our beautiful city at www.boston.com and www.bostonusa.com, and follow the links included in our description of the sights and tours available during your stay. We look forward to seeing you in the new millennium!

Conference Coordinators:

Marcia Folsom Isa Schaff
Professor of Literature,
Wheelock College
200 The Riverway 424 East Street
Boston, MA 02215 Dedham, MA 02026
617-734-5200, extension 2192 781-326-3700, extension 350
email: mfolsom@wheelock.edu email: isa_schaff@nobles.edu

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