Breakout Speakers

“The person, be it gentlemen or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel
[or good breakout session!], must be intolerably stupid.”

BREAKOUT SESSION A – Friday, October 6, 2:45 pm-3:35 pm

A1. “The ‘Sparkling Vitality’ of Jane Austen and Eudora Welty”
Carolyn Brown, Regional Coordinator, Mississippi Region

Eudora Welty’s love for Jane Austen’s novels is well documented and the novels, Delta Wedding and Pride and Prejudice, are strikingly similar.  In this presentation, the two novels will be discussed, along with a recently discovered note written by Welty that definitely connects both works and authors.

Dr. Carolyn J. Brown is Chair of JASNA’s Grants Committee.  She is the author of several scholarly articles and two award-winning biographies about Mississippi writers Eudora Welty and Margaret Walker.  Her latest work is The Artist’s Sketch: A Biography of Painter Kate Freeman Clark.

A2. “Bitch In a Bonnet: A Blogger’s Journey with Jane Austen”
Robert Rodi, Illinois-Greater Chicago Region

This session will look at how live-blogging the Austen canon—in an attempt to illustrate that the author is more searing social satirist than wry romantic—became a five-year study whose conclusions were informed by an ongoing digital dialogue with other readers about her works, her characters, and her sensibility.

Robert Rodi is an author, journalist, spoken-word performer, and jazz musician who has published ten novels as well as two acclaimed memoirs, most recently Seven Seasons in Siena.  His latest fiction is Edgar and Emma, a full-length novel based on a three-page work from Austen’s juvenilia.

A3. “Jane Austen, Fangirl: Austen Among the Amateur Authors”
Emily Friedman, Auburn University

What does Austen’s work have in common with fan fiction?  Quite a lot!  Both are part of a history of unpublished fiction that we are only just beginning to uncover.  This talk considers Austen’s unpublished works inside a long tradition of manuscript circulation that continues (in new forms) to this day.

Emily C. Friedman is an associate professor of English at Auburn University, two-time Chawton House Library Fellow, and four-time AGM speaker.  She has written widely on Austen, including in her first book, Reading Smell (2016).  She is creating a digital collection of unpublished manuscript fiction written between 1750 and 1900.

A4. “Digital Godmersham: Jane Austen’s Paradise Regained”
Peter Sabor, McGill University

This session will consider what Jane Austen would have found on the shelves of Godmersham Park Library, owned by her brother Edward, and will introduce a new website, Digital Godmersham.  This virtual library enables us to consult each of the titles in the collection and to envisage its original position on the shelves.

Peter Sabor, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, is Professor of English and Canada Research Chair at McGill University.  He was coordinator of the 1998 JASNA AGM and has been a speaker at many JASNA conferences.  His publications include an edition of Austen’s Juvenilia (2006), and The Cambridge Companion to Emma (2015).

A5. “Galigai, St. Swithin & Diana Parker: Austen’s Dying Dreams of Power and Immortality”
Arnie Perlstein, Oregon/SW Washington Region

Ironically, it isn’t Jane Austen’s six famous novels, but three of her unsung 1817 writings (letter to Anne Sharp, “When Winchester Races” poem, and Sanditon fragment) which most unapologetically assert and reveal Austen’s dreams of immortality and celebrate the equalizing power of strong minds (like hers) over the weak.

Mr. Perlstein is a retired lawyer and, since 2005, a “literary sleuth” specializing in Shakespeare and Austen.  He is writing his first book, about the radical feminist, gender-fluid “shadow story” of Pride and Prejudice.  This will be his third AGM presentation and he has spoken about Austen at Chawton House and Oxford, as well as several JASNA Regions nationwide.

A6. “Surfing Sensibilities: Reading Austen in the Age of the World Wide Web”
Natasha Duquette, Tyndale University College
Andrea Rehn, Whittier College

How has the pleasurable experience of reading Austen’s novels changed, and even intensified, in the era of the World Wide Web?  This multimedia session will invite audience members to participate in interactive reflections on Janeites’ surfing sensibilities.

Natasha Duquette is Associate Dean and Associate Professor of English Literature at Tyndale University College in Toronto.  She has presented at AGMs in Chicago, Portland, and Montréal.

Andrea Rehn is Associate Professor of English and Associate Dean of Whittier College, where she directs the Digital Liberal Arts Center.  She writes about Conrad, Kipling, Austen, and digital pedagogy, and is Principal Investigator on $1.45M in Mellon Foundation grants.

A7. “Paradise Revisited: Illustrating Austen During the Regency Revival”
Jeffrey Nigro, Art Institute of Chicago and Newberry Library

The charming, idyllic illustrations of Jane Austen’s novels created during the late Victorian/Edwardian period were part of a greater nostalgia for the “lost paradise” of the Regency era.  This lavishly illustrated talk will describe how Regency Revival artists influence the ways in which we still visualize Austen’s world today.

Jeffrey Nigro is a Research Associate and Adjunct Lecturer at the Art Institute of Chicago, and an Instructor at the Newberry Library.  He currently serves as Program Director of the Greater Chicago Region of JASNA.

A8. Quills! A Unique Cooperative Game Series of Feathering Transformations
Janine Fron, Illinois-Greater Chicago Region

Jane Austen redefined the rules of courtship, originated in the 12th century, and turned medieval legends inside out by celebrating the bonds between sisters alongside knightly friendships.  Learn about how the Quills! cooperative game experience, inspired by Austen’s novels, has grown into a series based on the work of seven authors, which you will then be invited to play.

Janine Fron is a new media artist, educator and independent game designer.  Fron’s collaborative works are in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, Smithsonian Institution, International Center of Photography, and Santa Barbara Museum of Art.  In 2005, Fron co-founded and contributed to the Ludica game art collective, to encourage women to be part of the creative process of making games.

BREAKOUT SESSION B – Friday, October 6, 3:50 pm-4:40 pm

B1. The Child Author vs Mother of the Novelist: From the Juvenilia to the Novels
Juliet McMaster, University of Alberta (Professor Emerita)

In Austen’s early writings we find intimations of the immortality she was to achieve as a novelist.  This session will track echoes from “Jack and Alice,” “The Beautifull Cassandra” and the other juvenilia to discover how the energy and creativity of the youthful works inform the plots, characters, and language of the six novels.

Juliet McMaster of the University of Alberta is the author of books on Thackeray, Trollope, and Dickens, Jane Austen the Novelist and Jane Austen, Young Author.  She is the co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen, editor/illustrator of Austen’s The Beautifull Cassandra, and founder of the Juvenilia Press.

B2. “Sanditon at 200: Intimations of a New Consumerist Society”
Sara Dustin, Florida SouthWestern State College

Jane Austen takes the themes of consumerism and fashion established in her earlier work and greatly expands upon them in a fresh setting: the resort town of Sanditon.  In this work, Austen provides an intriguing glimpse of a new England with her emphasis on tourism, consumption, finance, and fashion.

Dr. Sara Dustin is Professor of English at Florida Southwestern State College where she teaches composition and literature courses.  She speaks nationally and locally on eighteenth and nineteenth century British literature and culture and serves as Regional Coordinator of the Southwest Florida Region.

B3. “‘But what fools these mortals be!’ – Jane Austen’s Thoughts upon Looking Down from Paradise”
Diane Capitani, Northwestern University

This talk will explore the conflicting pictures of Jane Austen’s feelings about immortality and the end of human life found in her prayers, letters, work and sermons of her day.  Can we discern who Austen thought would join her in eternity and those she would think might not make it?

Dr. Diane Capitani holds degrees in French, English literature, comparative literature, theology, and history.  She is Director of the Writing Center and teaches writing and theology at Northwestern University.  She is currently completing her book, Jane Austen, Augustinian, as well as an Austen-inspired novel.

B4. “The Life of Jane Austen’s Letters”
Ruth Williamson, Jane Austen Society of Australia

What happened to Jane Austen’s letters after 1817?  Her surviving correspondence attracted attention as her reputation grew, but do the letters add or subtract from her legacy?  This session will follow the tangled trail through the letters’ publication and reception on to what they contribute to Austen’s canon.

Ruth Williamson is an independent writer from New Zealand who is an active long-term member of the Jane Austen Society of Australia.  She has been a guest speaker at the Vancouver branch of JASNA and has also contributed to literary events in New Zealand, Australia, and Great Britain.

B5. “Jane Austen’s Dirty Girls and the Breakdown of Boundaries”
Kathy Gentile, University of Missouri

The rambling, muddy Elizabeth Bennet is not the only Austen heroine who transgresses against notions of feminine propriety and invites a close encounter with dirt.  Examining key scenes suggests that characters’ reactions to dirt indicate the breakdown of class distinctions and the beginning dissolution of societal boundaries.

Recently retired from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Kathy Justice Gentile taught classes on Austen for fifteen years.  She has written a book on Ivy Compton-Burnett and has published on Austen, the Gothic, and popular culture.  In March she presented a paper at the Sanditon Conference in Cambridge.

B6. “The Talk: Lady Susan the Novella and Love & Friendship the Film”
Pauline Beard, Pacific University
Jennifer Snoek-Brown, Tacoma Community College

After a brief overview of the epistolary novel portraying Austen’s skill in Lady Susan, and clips from Stillman’s film Love & Friendship, to show the move from letters to narrative, the discussion will open to the audience with questions like: “Is Lady Susan despicable or a savvy business woman?”

Pauline Beard is Professor Emerita of English at Pacific University in Oregon.  She has spoken at many JASNA AGMs and was a co-coordinator of the AGM in Portland, Oregon in 2010.  She has published numerous articles and recently was the editor of a book on time in the modern novel.

Jennifer Snoek-Brown is a faculty librarian at Tacoma Community College in Washington State.  Jennifer is the former webmaster of the JASNA Oregon & SW Washington Region, and she writes a weekly blog about films and popular culture.  She is a second-generation life-member of JASNA.

B7. “‘I want my Mr. Darcy’: Using Pride and Prejudice as Bibliotherapy”
Emily Bergman, California-Southwest Region
Alice Bergman, Oregon/SW Washington Region

Sisters, Emily and Alice Bergman, will present on using Pride and Prejudice in bibliotherapy.  Emily, a librarian, will introduce the concept of bibliotherapy, and Alice, a counselor, will bring real-life experience from her work with patients.  After the formal presentation, the audience will become participants, using the novel as therapists.

Emily Bergman, MLS, has been a librarian for 40 years in all kinds of libraries—corporate, public, hospital, academic, and museum.  She is a librarian at Glendale Community College and was a psychology librarian for 27 years at three different academic institutions.  Emily was an English major at Goucher College.

Alice Bergman, MBA, MA, LPC, works as a therapist in Portland, OR and teaches at local community colleges.  Alice first became a member of the Jane Austen Society in 1977, the Silver Jubilee, and signed up in Chawton.  She received her BA in English at Goucher College.

B8. Conversations with Jane Austen at the Elysian Café
William Phillips, Illinois-Greater Chicago Region with Debra Ann Milller, Syrie James, Kathryn Marshall and other performers

This presentation (in readers’ theater form) imagines conversations between Jane Austen and four subsequent writers of significance: Mark Twain (1835-1910); Virginia Woolf (1882-1941); E. M. Forster (1879-1970); and Eudora Welty (1909-2001).  These may be positive, negative, or a bit of each.

William Phillips is retired from more than 50 years associated with education (communication and ESL/EFL - US, Saudi Arabia, Japan).  A frequent AGM presenter and co-chair of the 2008 AGM, William has presented and published on Austen or Readers’ Theater themes in North America, Japan, Egypt, Australia, and England.

BREAKOUT SESSION C – Friday, October 6, 7:00 pm-7:50 pm

C1. “‘Periods of anxiety and cheerlessness’: Jane Austen and Melancholy”
Jane Darcy, University College, London, England

Jane Austen, like her heroines of Mansfield Park and Persuasion, knew the humiliation of being a single dependent woman.  Even the privileged Emma becomes aware that before her lie “periods of anxiety and cheerlessness.”  Does Austen’s enduring appeal come from her profound understanding of melancholy?

Jane Darcy teaches eighteenth century and Romantic period literature at University College, London.  She gives public lectures to regional and national branches of the UK Jane Austen Society and runs Dr. Johnson’s Reading Circle at the Dr. Johnson House.  She is currently writing a book, Jane Austen and Melancholy.

C2. “Modernizing Jane Austen: The HarperCollins Project”
Nora Stovel, University of Alberta

The HarperCollins ingenious project for retelling Austen’s novels in modern settings by contemporary novelists—launched by Joanna Trollope’s Sense and Sensibility, Val McDermid’s Northanger Abbey, Alexander McCall Smith’s Emma: A Modern Retelling, and Curtis Sittenfeld’s Eligible, a modernization of Pride and Prejudice—is brilliant, as this session will demonstrate.

Nora Foster Stovel is Professor Emerita at the University of Alberta.  She publishes on Jane Austen, D.H. Lawrence, Margaret Laurence, Margaret Drabble, and Carol Shields.  She edited Jane Austen Sings the Blues and Jane Austen and Company.  A Western Traveling Scholar, she has presented papers at JASNA AGMs, publishing eight in Persuasions and Persuasions On-Line.

C3. “Kicking Ass in a Corset: Jane Austen’s Seven Principles for Leadership from the Inside Out”
Andrea Kayne, DePaul University

What can organizational leaders in business, education, and government learn from an unemployed, unmarried woman living in patriarchal, misogynistic rural England in the 18th century?  As it turns out, a great deal.  This presentation will utilize Jane Austen’s heroines to illustrate timeless lessons in emotional intelligent leadership.

Andrea Kayne is an Associate Professor and Program Director of the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership at DePaul University College of Education.  She has written articles about emotionally intelligent feminist leadership.  She is currently working on a television adaptation of Mansfield Park set in World War II England.

C4. “Reading Jane Austen through the Lens of the Law: Legal Issues in Austen’s Life and Novels”
Maureen Collins, John Marshall Law School,
and “Beyond the Grave: Jane Austen on Estates and Trusts”
Karen Stakem Hornig, Missouri-Central Region

Austen’s life and work are interwoven with legal issues of her time, including inheritance, property ownership, marriage, adoption and crime.  This joint presentation looks at the law, how her own life was touched by the law, and the depictions of the law and lawyers in Austen’s work.

Maureen Collins is Professor of Law at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago where she teaches writing and Intellectual Property Law to aspiring attorneys.  Her article on which this talk is based appears in the DePaul University College of Law Journal of Art, Technology, and Intellectual Property.

Ms. Hornig is Executive Director of the National Insurance Producer Registry, a software company that supports state insurance regulation.  She is the former treasurer of the JASNA Maryland Region and has published an article on the role of estate and trust law in Austen’s novels.

C5. “Modernist Jane: Austen’s Reception by Writers of the Twenties and Thirties”
Lisa Tyler, Sinclair College

Participants in this section will explore how writers like Edith Wharton, Ernest Hemingway, Katherine Mansfield, Kay Boyle, Virginia Woolf, Thornton Wilder, and Ezra Pound perceived Austen’s work and acknowledged her influence on themselves and their fellow modernists between the World Wars.

Dr. Tyler, a professor of English at Sinclair College, has published two books and thirteen essays on Ernest Hemingway and serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Hemingway Review.  A member of the Dayton chapter of JASNA for more than 25 years, she currently serves on the JASNA Board.

C6. “Deciphering Mr. Darcy: Gendered Receptions over Time”
Monica Alvarez, New York Metropolitan Region

Fitzwilliam Darcy has not always smoldered with longing (or has had a tight shirt cling to his wet powerful body, for that matter!)  Here, we will discuss images and critical perceptions of Darcy to see how the public has received Austen’s paragon of masculinity over the last two hundred years.

Dr. Monica Alvarez, a member of JASNA since 2013, is the Program Chair for the JASNA NY-Metro Region.  She teaches English at Trinity School in New York City.  Her research focuses of female friendships in Austen’s six published novels as well as on the hero’s role in such essential relationships.

C7. “Evidence from the Archives: Relating Jane Austen’s Novels to Austen Family Politics”
Alice Villaseñor, Medaille College

Participants in this session will explore the Austen family’s connections to the 1806 and 1807 Hampshire Elections.  We will investigate links between these specific contests and Austen’s novels by studying news items from the Hampshire Chronicle alongside images of political artifacts from Hampshire archives.

Dr. Alice Villaseñor, a specialist in Jane Austen’s reception history, is Assistant Professor of English at Medaille College in Buffalo, New York.  A life member of JASNA, she has been a JASNA International Visitor and a board member of JASNA and JASNA-SW.  She has spoken at several AGMs and Regional Meetings.

C8. “Lady Susan and Zombies? Seriously?”
Margaret Case, Roger Williams University

Using clips from both Whit Stillman’s Love & Friendship and Burr Steers’ Pride and Prejudice and the Zombies, this session will help to answer several questions, including what both these movies illustrate about the complicated mix of “violence” and “romance” in Austen’s actual novels.

Dr. Case is Chair of English Literature at Roger Williams University, where she teaches British literature and literary theory.  She has published on Eliza Haywood and Elizabeth Gaskell.  She is currently writing about teaching the opening chapters of Persuasion for the MLA Approaches to Teaching series.

BREAKOUT SESSION D – Saturday, October 7, 10:30 am-11:20 am

D1. “Jane Austen’s Lives and Deaths Through Fan Fiction, or How We Rewrite Her Work and Her Life”
Maria Clara Pivato Biajoli, Campinas, Brazil

The current phenomenon of Jane Austen fan fiction is a huge part of this author’s enduring success.  In this session we will take a closer look at how fan fiction (sequels, variations, and adaptations) rewrites Austen’s novels and even her own life as (only) romantic love stories.

Dr. Maria Clara Biajoli is an English teacher in Brazil and has recently defended her PhD in English Literature, where she analyzed Austen’s current popularity.  She attended the 2014 AGM at Montréal as a volunteer and has spoken at the Montréal Region’s “Annual Donwell Abbey Strawberry-Picking Party” in 2015.

D2. “Empathic Austen: Every Reader’s Forever Friend”
Wendy Jones, New York-Central and Western Region

Jane Austen’s immortality depends largely on portrayals that ring true to the ways we relate to one another: Austen “gets” us—and gets us right.  Seeing ourselves mirrored, we feel her empathy, crucial to a forever friendship.  Austen’s prescient insight—that people heal from trauma through relationships—will be explored.

Wendy Jones is an independent scholar, psychotherapist, and former academic.  Her essays on Austen and other novelists have been published in various journals in the English-speaking world.  Her latest book, Jane on the Brain: Exploring the Science of Social Intelligence with Jane Austen, is forthcoming from Pegasus Books.

D3. “Jane Austen’s Earthly Sendoff to Paradise: Funeral and Other Death Rituals in Regency England”
James Nagle, Washington-Puget Sound Region

Before Jane Austen reached paradise, she had an earthly sendoff.  This session will consider how the Regency handled death, funerals, and mourning.

Jim Nagle is a retired lawyer, member of the Puget Sound Region, and former JASNA secretary, with an abiding interest in all things Regency.

D4. “Updating Jane Austen’s Morality in 21st Century Fiction”
Paul Butler, Alberta-Calgary Region

Does Postmodernism hold the key when it comes to liberating Jane Austen in the 21st century?  Screen adaptations have struggled through the years to preserve Jane Austen while massaging her novels into acceptable post-colonial morality.  The result, a no-man’s-land that is neither Austen nor “us,” suggests a fatal hesitancy.

Paul Butler is a novelist whose work explores themes of history and literature.  Previous works include a fiction based on the life of Bram Stoker’s widow, Florence. His upcoming novel, The Widow’s Fire, explores the shadow side of Jane Austen’s final novel, Persuasion.

D5. “Writing on Austen’s Coattails in the 1930s: Angela Thirkell and the Austen Revival”
Sara Bowen, Wisconsin Region

From 1933 to 1959, Angela Thirkell produced a best-selling 28-novel saga of gentry and noble families in “Barsetshire.”  Though she eventually borrowed Trollope’s county and lineages, her early novels exhibit issues of the Austen revival both in literary substance and in the “proper” role of the woman novelist.

Sara Bowen is a retired lawyer.  She co-chaired the 2005 Milwaukee AGM on “Jane Austen’s Letters in Fact and Fiction.”  She is a former board member of both JASNA and the Angela Thirkell Society of North America, and has published research on both Jane Austen and Angela Thirkell.

D6. “Jane Austen Herself on her Depictions as a Character in Fiction and Film”
Syrie James, California-Southwest Region

Jane Austen appears from paradise to set the record straight, sharing, with colorful images, her observations on the way she’s been depicted as a character in fiction and film.  Romantic heroine?  Detective?  Vampire?  It is almost past belief!  How do these portrayals fit with the truth of her own life?

Syrie James is the author of nine intensely researched, critically acclaimed novels translated into 18 languages, including three about Austen.  Syrie has addressed numerous JASNA audiences, co-written and performed in comedic plays at AGMs, and appeared on stage thrice as Jane Austen, most recently at Chawton House Library in Hampshire.

D7. “Jane Austen’s Sanditon: Inspiring Continuations, Adaptations, and Media for 200 Years”
Mary Marshall, Illinois-Greater Chicago Region

From Anna Lefroy’s 19th century continuation to Pemberley Digital’s Welcome to Sanditon, continuations of Sanditon have been attempted for almost 200 years.  In celebration of the 200th anniversary of Sanditon, this session will include a discussion of editing an early continuation and a comparison of adaptations, including recent media spin-offs.

Mary Gaither Marshall, a retired librarian and English instructor, has been reading Jane Austen since sixth grade.  She has written numerous works about Austen, including editing Anna Lefroy’s Sanditon, and has given presentations at several AGMs.  She is a former JASNA Board Member, and a life-member of both JASNA and JAS.

D8. “Mrs. Jennings & Company: Husbands in Paradise”
Jackie Mijares, Santa Ana College

This session will explore how Jane Austen characterizes widows and widowhood in her six completed novels, how she portrays dependency or independence, and how she uses widows to facilitate action.  These fictional ladies are survivors, and, as widows, enjoy a socially sanctioned freedom eminently useful to their literary creator.

Jackie Mijares is a past winner (2005) of the JASNA essay contest, and is currently an adjunct professor at Santa Ana College, where she teaches freshman composition and developmental writing.  She has been a member of JASNA and the JASNA-SW Region since 2004, and has attended nine previous AGMs.

BREAKOUT SESSION E – Saturday, October 7, 11:35 am-12:25 pm

E1. “Jane Austen’s Literary Legacy: The Marriage Plot in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James”
Elaine Toia, SUNY Rockland Community College

This session locates Elizabeth Bennet and Isabel Archer in the tradition of fictional heroines who attempt to forge individual identity as they negotiate their marriage plots.  We will discuss Elizabeth as a precursor to Isabel and examine the literary impact of Austen’s ground-breaking perspective on the timeless dilemma of women.

Dr. Elaine Toia, Resident Professor of English at SUNY Rockland Community College, has been a speaker for JASNA NY-Metro.  Publications include articles on the fiction of Austen, Wharton, and James.  Elaine has presented at conferences sponsored by the Edith Wharton Society and the Society for the Study of American Women Writers.

E2. “Defamiliarizing Austen: Strangers at Home”
Sam Tett, Indiana University

As we ponder the remarkable success with which Jane Austen has ingratiated herself with readers across national and historical boundaries, this session will recall that some of her own characters are skeptical of this kind of achievement.  This talk defamiliarizes Austen by examining characters we think we know, but who turn out to be quite strange.

Sam Tett is a fifth-year PhD candidate at Indiana University, Bloomington.  Her research seeks to uncover qualities of strangeness (strangers, “aliens,” haunted houses) that constitute the everyday in the nineteenth-century British novel.  She is also the managing editor of Victorian Studies.  This is her first ever AGM!

E3. “Jane Austen Enshrined for the Nation”
Sheryl Craig, University of Central Missouri

Jane Austen’s burial was not what anyone would have anticipated for a deceased spinster of her social class and income.  We can conclude from this that Austen’s family knew that her fame would outlive her, and them, and that “Dear Aunt Jane” belonged, also, to the nation and to posterity.

Sheryl Craig has a PhD in nineteenth-century English literature and has published in Persuasions and Jane Austen’s Regency World.  Her book, Jane Austen and the State of the Nation, was published by Palgrave Macmillan Press in 2015.  She has been a JASNA Traveling Lecturer and is editor of the JASNA News.

E4. “The Immortality of Elinor and Marianne: Reading Sense and Sensibility
Susan Allen Ford, Delta State University

How have readings of Sense and Sensibility, Austen’s first published novel, changed over time—or not?  This session will consider the novel from its prehistory in Jane West’s A Gossip’s Story through its afterlives in the critical heritage as well as its adaptations, particularly on stage and screen.

Susan Allen Ford is Professor of English at Delta State University and Editor of Persuasions and Persuasion On-Line.  A frequent JASNA speaker, she has published on Austen and her contemporaries, Shakespeare, the gothic, and detective fiction, and has written an introduction to an edition of Fordyce’s Sermons to Young Women.

E5. “Before it was all about Mr. Darcy: Two Hundred Years of People-Watching in Austen’s World”
Linda Troost, Washington & Jefferson College
Sayre Greenfield, University of Pittsburgh

At the moment, Mr. Darcy is the Jane Austen character front and center in the popular imagination, but it was not always so.  This session will look at how Austen’s other characters competed for a place in the public discourse about Austen’s novels in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Linda Troost is a professor of English at Washington & Jefferson College and Sayre Greenfield is a professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg.  Together, they edited Jane Austen in Hollywood, the first book about the Austen film phenomenon.  In the spring of 2015, they spent several weeks at the Chawton House Library as Visiting Fellows.  They are both Life Members of JASNA and frequent speakers at the AGMs.

E6. “Anne’s Afterlife: Austen’s Rules for Getting a Good Ending, Even After You Mess It Up”
Esther Moon, University of Dallas
and “‘I cannot get out’: The Self-Imposed Afterlife of Maria Bertram”
Leta Sundet, University of Dallas

Anne Elliot writes her own ending when she refuses Captain Wentworth at nineteen—only to find herself entombed in her own, and others’, definitions of who she is.  But Austen refuses to let Anne succeed so miserably; she gives Anne an afterlife that teaches us what a good life is.

What actually dooms Maria Bertram to her fate at the end of Mansfield Park?  Not, this session will argue, her adultery, but a much earlier decision, one in which Maria attempted to seize authorial control over her life, but found herself imprisoned by her own narrative.

Esther Moon is a PhD student at the University of Dallas.  She is writing her dissertation on poverty in the Canterbury Tales and how it teaches us to live richly, in non-material terms.

Leta Sundet is a PhD student in English Literature at the University of Dallas.  She is currently writing on moments of epiphany and wonder in Jane Austen, Isak Dinesen, and Flannery O’Connor.

E7. “Was It Good For You?: Sex, Love and Austen”
Dr. Nora Nachumi, Yeshiva University
Dr. Stephanie Oppenheim, City University of New York

The topic of sex is a powder keg, one that ignites impassioned debates among Jane Austen’s admirers.  Using a range of examples, participants will explore how fiction writers, critics, filmmakers, fans and denizens of the internet address sex and romance in Austen’s novels and in the creations of conversations they inspire.

Nora Nachumi is Associate Professor of English and Director of the minor in Women’s Studies at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women.  She has published essays on Austen’s novels, film adaptations and on teaching Austen.

Stephanie Oppenheim is Associate Professor of English at Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY, where she teaches composition, literature and women’s studies.  She has published articles on pedagogy, gender, and British literature.

E8. “Jane Austen in America: Highlights of the First One Hundred Years”
Mary Mintz, American University Library

Jane Austen made numerous appearances in U.S. periodical literature during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  Publishers’ advertisements, recommended reading lists, biographical notices, tributes, “critical” discussions, and even early fan fiction document a distinctly American appreciation for Austen and her works in venues ranging from the prominent Godey’s Lady’s Book to other lesser-known titles.

Mary Mintz holds two master’s degrees, one in library science and one in English literature with a specialization in nineteenth century British literature.  She is the Associate Director for Outreach at the American University Library in Washington, D.C. where she works closely with students to support original research.  Mary serves JASNA as the chair of the Nominating Committee.

BREAKOUT SESSION F – Saturday, October 7, 2:00 pm-2:50 pm

F1. “JASNA and the Academy: The Anxiety of Affiliation”
Elaine Bander, Québec-Montréal Region

While many distinguished scholars wholeheartedly embrace JASNA and its delights, others describe how, as professional academics, they are rendered uneasy by performances of pleasure (e.g. standing up at the Ball).  This session will explore these academic anxieties: what inspires them, and why do some scholars escape the infection?

Elaine Bander, retired from the Dawson College English Department, has spoken at many AGMs and regional meetings and published numerous articles on Jane Austen and contemporary writers.  She has served as JASNA Vice President (Publications), Regional Coordinator of Montréal, Coordinator of the 2014 AGM, and (currently) JASNA (Canada) President.

F2. “Jane Austen, a Touchstone Across Cultures”
Arshud Mahmood, California-Southwest Region
Qaisera Khaliq, travel writer

Jane Austen’s matrimonial concerns in Regency England, as set forth in her novels, will be compared with parallel social categories in novels by women writers in 1940s India, under British rule.  Incidents from Austen’s novels will be compared with Indian stories to highlight insights that are applicable across cultures, and across centuries.

Arshud Mahmood is a civil engineer who has published two collections of short stories depicting cultural crossroads, in addition to a textbook, and numerous engineering articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Qaisera Khaliq is a furniture designer and travel writer who owns her own furniture manufacturing business, and travels the world for fun and to find characters and discover their stories.

F3. “‘She Drew Up Plans of Economy’: Jane Austen and the Modern Theory of Economics”
Christopher Cassidy, New York-Central and Western Region

Economics permeates Jane Austen’s novels.  Two hundred years after her death, her novels have been successfully used to explore some of the fundamental aspects of economics.  This session will look at books by two authors and the public reaction to their work.

Chris Cassidy maintains the website for the Central and Western New York Region of JASNA and serves on the executive committee. He also helps plan Rochester’s annual Jane Austen Ball.  In preparation for his first AGM in Montréal, he wrote a series of blog posts exploring each chapter of Mansfield Park.

F4. “Jane Austen’s Characters and the Quest for Biological Immortality”
Beth Lau, California State University at Long Beach
Dottie Marron, California-San Diego Region

See how courtship in the Regency followed well-established, modern theories of sexual selection.  Fanny Price, Catherine Morland and other characters reveal eternal truths about sex and reproduction.

Beth Lau is Professor of English Emerita at California State University, Long Beach.  She has published numerous books and articles on Jane Austen, John Keats, and other Romantic-era writers.  She is currently editing a collection of essays on cognitive-evolutionary approaches to Austen’s novels.

Dorothy Marron has a B.A. in British Literature and a M.A. in Education, both from San Diego State University.  She has been an avid Jane Austen fan since first reading Persuasion in college.  She currently works for a software company.  In her spare time she researches various influences on Jane Austen’s writing.

F5. “Regency Obituaries”
Tim Bullamore, Jane Austen’s Regency World

Jane Austen’s death was barely noticed by the newspapers of her time.  Perhaps it was just as well; they could be vicious in their treatment of the newly departed.  In this topical and entertaining talk Tim Bullamore looks at Regency obituaries and suggests how Austen’s obituary might have been written.

Tim Bullamore is editor of Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine and The Joy of Jane, a new book celebrating 200 years of Austen’s legacy.  He is one of the leading British obituary writers and has twice been runner-up for specialist writer of the year at the British Press Awards.

F6. “An Early Reader of Austen in North America: Christian, Countess of Dalhousie”
Juliette Wells, Goucher College, MD

Make the acquaintance of a fascinating Scotswoman who read Austen’s novels in 1818-1820 as part of an adventurous transatlantic life in Nova Scotia and Quebec.  Images of people, places, manuscript diaries, books, and even botanical specimens help us understand Lady Dalhousie in relation to Austen.

Juliette Wells is the Elizabeth Conolly Todd Distinguished Associate Professor of English at Goucher College.  A plenary speaker at the 2016 JASNA AGM, she is the author of Reading Austen in America (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017) and the editor of Penguin Classics’ 200th-anniversary editions of Persuasion (2017) and Emma (2015).

F7. “‘Behold me Immortal!’: Jane Austen on the Internet”
Jocelyn Harris, author, New Zealand

As readers and scholars, we enjoy unprecedented access to Jane Austen’s world, for online resources lay open the historical and cultural contexts that bring her back to life.  Through e-communication, we can share our discoveries, and build on the work of others.

In Jane Austen’s Art of Memory (1989), Jocelyn Harris shows her working up elements from other authors, and in A Revolution Almost beyond Expression: Jane Austen’s Persuasion (2007), she expands on Persuasion’s contexts.  Now, in Satire, Celebrity, and Politics in Jane Austen (2017), she reveals Austen’s satires on her contemporaries.

F8. “In and Out of the Foxholes: Talking of Jane Austen During and After World War II”
Annette LeClair, Union College

A collaborative appreciation by two English novelists, Talking of Jane Austen was the most widely available work on Austen during the war years.  Equally controversial and entertaining, both it and its sequel model the rewards of sharing conversations about Austen and making a potential “visit to [her] house in Paradise.”

Annette LeClair is a librarian at Union College in Schenectady, New York.  Her work on Austen has focused on her readers and material culture.  She has delivered breakout sessions at three previous AGMs and her essays have appeared in Persuasions, Persuasions On-Line, and MLA’s Approaches to Teaching Austen’s Emma.