Call for Papers
The Ohio North Coast Region, host of the JASNA 2020 AGM in Cleveland, invites proposals for breakout sessions related to our conference theme, “Jane Austen’s Juvenilia: Reason, Romanticism, and Revolution.”
For the purpose of the conference, we define Jane Austen’s Juvenilia as the collection of writings bound together in three volumes and passed down through the Austen family. These works date from 1787, when Austen was eleven, to 1793, when she was seventeen.
When Austen’s ”Volume the Second” was published in 1922 under the title Love & Freindship, general readers as well as respected critics including G. K. Chesterton, Virginia Woolf, and R. Brimley Johnson responded with enthusiasm. Some read these exuberant teenage writings as apprenticeship work, practicing for the real art of her novels that would come later. Others saw value in these fictions in their own right, placing them among great satirical and romantic works Austen would have read as a teenager.
A complete collection of Austen’s youthful writings was finally issued in 1954 when R. W. Chapman added the volume “Minor Works” to the Oxford Illustrated editions of Austen’s work. Despite the flurry of excitement prior partial releases of her juvenilia had inspired, Chapman stated in his 1954 Preface “[t]hese immature or fragmentary fictions call for hardly any comment.” With respect to the great Chapman, we disagree. We find endless sources of discussion in Austen’s early works. We hope you agree and look forward to receiving interesting, creative submissions.
We request submissions that explore how Austen engages with the world around her in her early writings, including influences from the Age of Reason, Romanticism in the popular culture of her time, and the Revolution of ideas that swept through Europe during the 18th century. We also hope to discuss her early stories for their pure entertainment value.
Here are some suggestions to start the conversation:
- Did the social and political background of revolutionary war in America and France, along with questions of sovereignty and human rights, influence Austen’s teenage writing?
- Did changing ideas about education and women’s roles appear to have influenced her childhood works?
- Did Austen engage with the Romantic period in literature and art? How did contemporary novels influence her teenage writings?
- How is the exuberance of Austen’s early writings present, although perhaps in suppressed form, in her mature novels?
- Austen’s unique narrative voice is apparent in even the briefest fragments from Austen’s three volumes of juvenilia. How does her author’s voice evolve over time?
- We know Austen herself valued her early works, as she kept them throughout her life. As the study of juvenilia gains recognition in academia, how do her youthful writings compare to other teenage art?
- We picture young Jane Austen reading her works aloud to amused family and friends. Do these works stand on their own as entertaining fiction, or are they best viewed as apprenticeship work for the mature novels?
Although our main focus is on the juvenilia, we also welcome discussion about Austen’s early epistolary novelette Lady Susan. Does Lady Susan form a bridge between Austen’s teenage writings and the novels that she produced later in her life, or does it stand alone in Austen’s published works? How did Austen use the epistolary form in Lady Susan, and how might this provide insight into early versions of her novels, such as First Impressions? And what are we to make of this wicked main character?
We encourage lively breakout presentations that reflect young Jane Austen’s exuberance. While we will gladly accept traditional lecture styles, please feel free to step outside of the box by engaging in participatory styles, presenting debates, or using multi-media.
Breakout presentations should be 40 minutes in length, allowing for a question and answer period afterwards.
We select intriguing speakers from academia and a wide variety of other professional backgrounds. As the AGM is JASNA’s premier event, we seek speakers who not only have demonstrated expertise in their subject areas, but have experience presenting their findings in a lively and engaging manner. The following submission materials are required:
- A cover letter including your name, JASNA region, any college or university affiliation you may have, your mailing and e-mail addresses, phone number(s), and a brief biography (100 words max.). Also, please let us know if you have been a speaker at a previous AGM, JASNA regional meetings, or other conferences.
- A one-page abstract of your breakout session. Describe your presentation, noting what about it will be new or different to a JASNA audience. AV equipment will be available and the use of visuals, where appropriate, is encouraged. Please specify whether you will use AV equipment.
The submission deadline is
October 12, 2019
Please send submissions to our committee chair
Dr. JoAnne Podis
Emerita Professor of English
We look forward to hearing from you!
Selections will be announced in early 2020. Please note that breakout speakers will be required to send a written version of their presentations for potential publication in Persuasions or Persuasions Online. Do not submit full papers now; selected speakers will be sent more information about this requirement.