October 27 - 29, 2006
Loews Ventana Canyon Resort  Tucson, Arizona

2006 Annual General Meeting
Jane Austen Society of North America


Welcome Theme Plenary Speakers  Breakout Sessions Schedule
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Breakout Sessions

“…I am unlike other people I dare say.”
                   ― Fanny Price, volume 2, chapter 3

Session A:  Friday, October 27

Emily Auerbach
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Searching for Jane Austen in Mary Crawford
Published in Persuasions 28 (2006). “Searching for Jane Austen in Mary Crawford.” Persuasions 28 (2006): 199-207.
Although Austen presents Fanny Price as the heroine of Mansfield Park, she goes to great lengths to make Mary Crawford seem a more appealing character in many ways—and one whose voice at times sounds remarkably like her own. Through a close analysis of Mary Crawford, Auerbach will shed light on Jane Austen herself.  A:1

Stephanie M. Eddleman
Harding University, Searcy, AR
Mad as the Devil but Smiling Sweetly: Repressed Female Anger in Mansfield Park
Published in Persuasions 28 (2006). “Mad as the Devil but Smiling Sweetly: Repressed Female Anger in Mansfield Park.” Persuasions 28 (2006): 41-51.
Did Austen, a keen observer of human nature, portray the unconscious manifestations of anger when she wrote of Mrs. Norris, Lady Bertram, and Fanny Price? Eddleman will discuss the women in Mansfield Park in light of current medical and psychological research to show how issues of power, or the lack of it, affect the female expression of anger.  A:2

Susan Allen Ford
Delta State University, Cleveland, MS
“It is about Lovers’ Vows”: Kotzebue, Inchbald, and the Players of Mansfield Park
“Lovers’ Vows” offers the Mansfield players and audience a mirror of their world as well as an outlet for playing alternate roles and expressing repressed desire. The play, however, has a history that suggests an even more complex role for the drama in Austen’s novel. Ford will discuss this history, and, with the help of modern-day players, will present scenes that might hint at what the Mansfield players see and what they miss.  A:3

Theresa Kenney
University of Dallas, Irving, TX
Mansfield Park and the Conscience Outside the Self
Characters in Mansfield Park seem particularly anxious to find someone else who will shoulder their own obligation to practice virtue or do good deeds. Substitutions are everywhere, but are not always successful. Kenney will examine how Austen seems to negotiate between individual responsibility and a reliance on family and society for aid in Mansfield Park.  A:4

Zoyd Luce
Castro Valley, CA
William Price: His Years at Sea and His Sister at Home
Fanny Price’s brother William, while not always present, is a significant character in Mansfield Park. The story of the love and challenges of the brother-and-sister relationship provides an in-depth understanding of the life and times of Mansfield Park. In this illustrated lecture, Luce will also discuss how Fanny’s relationship with William provides insight into Austen’s relationships with her own naval brothers.  A:5

Jeannette Lugo
Valdosta State University, GA
Teaching Fanny to Be Indispensable: A Close Reading of Mrs. Norris
Mrs. Norris’ role as a “heavy” is indisputable, but a close reading reveals another facet of her character. Well aware of the tenuous position of an unmarried female in a home not her own, she tries very hard to teach Fanny how to be indispensable—a life-skill that will help her negotiate a world where single women are extraneous. Lugo will examine Mrs. Norris’ desperate need to be attached to the Bertram household—a desperation she transfers with some success to Fanny.  A:6
William Phillips
Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL
An Excursion into Evil: A Tour of the Linguistic, Rhetorical, and Moral Dimensions of ‘Evil’ in Mansfield Park
“Evil” is a four-letter Anglo-Saxon word. Its usage peaked at about the time that Jane Austen was writing, and she used it frequently in her work—most often in Mansfield Park. In this session, Phillips will examine the various uses of the word “evil” in the novel, discussing them in relation to linguistic, rhetorical and social/moral contexts represented in Mansfield Park, in Austen’s other novels, and in those of her contemporaries.  A:7


Session B:  Friday, October 27

Pauline Beard
Pacific University, Forest Grove, OR
Sex, Debility, and Lady Bertram: Lover or Loafer?
Why is Lady Bertram always cosseted and her comfort always considered? Beard will suggest an entirely new reading of Lady Bertram, questioning whether the attention she receives comes not because of hypochondria (as with Mr. Woodhouse) or neurasthenia (as with Mrs. Bennet), but from power derived from the bedroom.  B:1

Elvira Casal
Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro
The Many-Mothered, Motherless Fanny Price
Published in Persuasions 28 (2006). “The Many Mothered, Motherless Fanny Price.” Persuasions 28 (2006): 31-40.
Even with three mothers, the mothering that Fanny receives is inadequate – a fact that she has to come to terms with during much of Mansfield Park. In this lecture, Casal will examine the “triple-mother pattern” in Austen’s novels and, specifically, in Mansfield Park. She will also discuss late 18th and early 19th century child rearing, the role of the extended family, and the role of the older female friend/mentor.  B:2

Sarah Emsley
Harvard University, MA
Jane Austen’s Divine Comedy: Mansfield Park as a Tragedy with a Happy Ending?
George Whalley once suggested that Mansfield Park is “a tragedy with a prosperous outcome.” In this session, Emsley will examine Mansfield Park, especially its ending, in relation to questions of genre, and will give the audience a chance to debate the advantages and disadvantages of reading Mansfield Park as a comedy, a tragedy, or both.  B:3

Sarah Frantz
Fayetteville State University, NC
“Fix, commit, condemn yourself”: Henry Crawford, Passivity, and Mansfield Park
What makes Henry Crawford so guiltily appealing and yet so unsuccessful? Frantz will show how his passivity is the root of his downfall, and is both cause and effect of his amorality. In fact, Mansfield Park is entirely populated with passive characters, and Frantz will use her exploration of Henry’s flaw as the springboard for a closer look at the foundation of Austen’s novel.  B:4

Pamela Regis
McDaniel College, Westminster, MD
Vows in Mansfield Park: The Promises of Courtship
Published in Persuasions 28 (2006). “Vows in Mansfield Park: The Promises of Courtship.” Persuasions 28 (2006): 166-175.
In this breakout session, Regis will demonstrate how Austen masterfully uses the elements of the courtship plot—and the many types of vows represented in Mansfield Park (betrothal vows, private vows, and sacred vows)—to examine the values on which society ought to be based.  B:5

Mignon Sass
Ph.D. student, Irving, TX
The Moral Unity of Sir Thomas Bertram and Fanny Price in Mansfield Park
Critics of Mansfield Park have tended to view Sir Thomas Bertram and Fanny Price as one of two extremes: either as self-righteous prigs or as figures of perfected virtue. Sass will examine why these characters deserve neither such censure nor such veneration, suggesting that Austen was interested in something more subtle than simply affirming or criticizing traditional patriarchy.  B:6

Beth Fowkes Tobin
Arizona State University, Tempe
Gifts in Mansfield Park
Gifts in Mansfield Park take many forms: material objects, love, attention—even people. They arouse positive and negative emotions and are part of a complex economy of exchange that does not involve cash payment but implies debt, gratitude, and dependence. Tobin will examine how gifts in the novel provide insight into the characters’ capacity to feel, the way in which things substitute for people, and the way people are treated as if they were things to exchange between each other.  B:7

Session C:  Saturday, October 28

Gregory Borse
Ivy Tech State College, Wabash, IN
“Beloved inmates and happy ways”: Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park
Many critics of Mansfield Park see Fanny Price as a too passive central character whose marriage to Edmund constitutes a capitulation to the status quo regarding the roles of women in early 19th century English society. Yet, the deeply ironic tone of the novel suggests that Fanny actually resists the status quo through her passivity. Borse will examine the quiet way in which Fanny, alone, manages to articulate her own destiny.  C:1

Shannon Campbell
Edmonton, Alberta
A Polite Makeover for Sotherton: From Prison to Pleasure Ground in Seven Illustrated Steps
Claiming that the grounds of Sotherton “look like a prison,” Mr. Rushworth declares, “I think I shall have Repton.” And with that, Austen leaves us to ponder what improvements the renowned Mr. Repton would have recommended. Using before-and-after
illustrations from the “Red Books” Repton created for his clients, Campbell will reveal what a Georgian makeover artist could have done to change a “dismal old prison” to an inviting pleasure ground.  C:2

Marcia McClintock Folsom
Wheelock College, Boston, MA
Part of an Englishwoman’s constitution: The Presence of Shakespeare in Mansfield Park
Published in Persuasions 28 (2006). “Part of an Englishwoman’s Constitution: The Presence of Shakespeare in Mansfield Park.” Persuasions 28 (2006): 65-80.
Since the early 19th century, readers of Jane Austen have noted her kinship with Shakespeare. Looking closely at specific passages in Mansfield Park, Folsom will explore the reverberations of such plays as “Hamlet,” “The Merchant of Venice,” “Richard III,” and “Henry VIII” to show the echoes, odd reversals, parallel situations, and shadowy hints of intertextual connection that shed light on Austen’s thinking and her originality in reconceiving her literary heritage.  C:3

Miriam Rheingold Fuller
Central Missouri State University, Warrensburg
Crawfords on the Couch: A Psychoanalytical Exploration of the Effects of the “Bad School” on Henry and Mary Crawford
Published in Persuasions 28 (2006). “Crawfords on the Couch: A Psychoanalytical Exploration of the Effects of the “Bad School” on Henry and Mary Crawford.” Persuasions 28 (2006): 13-30.
Readers of, and characters in, Mansfield Park, have long been divided on whether the charming but selfish Crawfords are innately good people who have been corrupted by their upbringing or are “naturally bad.” Fuller will deliver a psycho-therapist’s report that provides insight into the factors that influenced Henry’s and Mary’s emotional and moral development and their subsequent behavior towards the Bertram siblings and Fanny Price.  C:4

Elisabeth Lenckos
University of Chicago, Newberry Library, IL
“The cure of unconquerable passions and the transfer of unchanging attachments”: Life’s Second Chances in Mansfield Park
Mansfield Park concludes with a stunning reversal of our most treasured literary convention: that love must happen at first sight and smite the lover forever—and that it must remain unvarying. While critics have long debated whether Austen defends or subverts the idea of romantic love, Lenckos will suggest that, rather than depicting love as a monolithic concept, Austen makes a case for the validity of different kinds of love, endorsing in the process “second attachments.”  C:5

Sharon Rocker
Holland, MI
Something Within
Rocker will show how Austen uses the play-acting motif to distinguish between the malevolent pretenders and the genuine, committed adults “on stage” at Mansfield Park. An absence of moral steadfastness leads to the dangerous rising action and tragic conclusion for many of the actors of this “play,” which focuses on social and familial expectations.  C:6

Bruce Stovel
University of Alberta, Edmonton
Once More, with Feeling: The Structure of Mansfield Park
Stovel will examine Austen’s use of Volume One of Mansfield Park as a self-contained prologue to the main action of the novel, developing a rising action and climax that mirror the main events of Volumes Two and Three. This use of Volume One as a self-contained prologue is a structure that Austen would elaborate in her next novel, Emma, but not much attention has been paid to it by critics of Mansfield Park in the past.  C:7

Session D:  Saturday, October 28

Kathleen Anderson
Palm Beach Atlantic University, FL
Lounging Ladies and Galloping Girls: Physical Strength and Femininity in Mansfield Park
Does Jane Austen believe women should be robust athletes or delicate flowers? In her presentation, Anderson will compare the women of Mansfield Park to each other and to Austen’s other leading ladies to reveal the complex pattern of implications that emerges about Austen’s view of physicality and femininity.  D:1

Elaine Bander
Dawson College, Montreal, Quebec
Mansfield Park and the 1814 Novels: Waverley, The Wanderer, Patronage
Published in Persuasions 28 (2006). “Mansfield Park and the 1814 Novels: Waverley, The Wanderer, Patronage.” Persuasions 28 (2006): 115-125.
Mansfield Park was published in 1814, a year that also saw the publication of Walter Scott’s Waverley, Frances Burney’s The Wanderer, Mary Brunton’s Discipline, and Maria Edgeworth’s Patronage. The 1814 novels all share a number of themes and values emerging from the issues of the time. Bander will examine Mansfield Park in relation to these other great novels, exploring the authors’ varying approaches, techniques and narrative choices to illuminate Austen’s.  D:2

Diane Capitani
Wilmette, IL
Jane Austen: Christian Moralist? — A Theological Perspective of Mansfield Park
Austen’s novels almost always include clergymen, and they are usually portrayed as humorous characters. But what do we know of Austen’s theology and beliefs? Capitani will use Mansfield Park as a starting point to explore theology in the literature of Jane Austen and to examine her “Christianity,” or, perhaps, Christianity in the Church of her day.  D:3

Gracia Fay Ellwood
Ojai, CA
A Hole in Henry Crawford’s Heart
Henry Crawford’s story is a sad tale of a wounded and stunted personality who had an opportunity to become a loving spouse and good neighbor. Why doesn’t he succeed in making the transformation? In this session, Ellwood explores the root causes of Henry’s malformed character and why he returns to his previous lifestyle.  D:4

Deirdre Gilbert
Independent Scholar, Colorado Springs, CO
What the Ear Has To Offer: Rhetorical Listening and Mansfield Park
Published in Persuasions 28 (2006). “What the Ear Has to Offer: A Soundscape of Mansfield Park.” Persuasions 28 (2006): 126-136.
The word “listen” and its derivatives appear more often in Mansfield Park than in any other Austen work. “Listening” is different from silence, and in this novel it becomes a moral and learning index. In this illustrated lecture, Gilbert will examine Mansfield Park as an exercise in rhetorical listening—a treatise, in some respects, on how to take meaning from both meter and words.  D:5

Victoria Hinshaw
Author, Milwaukee, WI
Divorce in Regency England: What Will Maria’s Future Hold?
At the conclusion of Mansfield Park, Jane Austen tells us the divorced Maria Bertram Rushworth and Mrs. Norris move to another area. While most assume they will spend lonely years of disgrace and separation from family and society, history shows this was not always true. In Regency England, many divorced women married again, and/or enjoyed an active social life. In this illustrated lecture, Hinshaw will describe a few of the more famous divorce cases of the time and examine the legalities of divorce, the fate of divorcees, and what might have happened
to Maria.  D:6

Kathryn L. Libin
Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY
Lifting the Heart to Rapture: Harmony, Nature, and the Unmusical Fanny Price
Published in Persuasions 28 (2006). “Lifting the Heart to Rapture: Harmony, Nature, and the Unmusical Fanny Price.” Persuasions 28 (2006): 137-149.
At Mansfield Park music is part of the daily round of activity, providing entertainment and background noise in family life. Fanny Price, however, seems deliberately unmusical. Instead, she possesses a deep appreciation for beauty of a “natural” kind. Libin will examine how—in creating the distinctive tastes and affinities of Fanny Price—Austen joined a broader aesthetic conversation taking place among musical critics of her time over art versus nature, the worldly versus the spiritual, and beauty versus the sublime.  D:7

Session E:  Saturday, October 28

Mary Chan
University of Alberta, Edmonton
Mansfield Park as Greenhouse: “The effect of education” on the Younger Generation
Can environment fundamentally alter a person’s intrinsic character? Chan will explore the effect of education on the younger generation at Mansfield Park and will show, in particular, how characters fail to distinguish between others’ inherent and learned behaviors at their own risk.  E:1

Lynda Hall
Chapman University, Orange, CA
Not a “Problem” Novel: A Gothic Reading of Mansfield Park
Published in Persuasions 28 (2006). “Addressing Readerly Unease: Discovering the Gothic in Mansfield Park.” Persuasions 28 (2006): 208-216.
Mansfield Park is often considered a “problem” novel. But, Hall contends that Austen’s “problem” novel is no problem at all; it just has not been read from the proper point of view. In this talk, she will demonstrate that by understanding Mansfield Park as a part of the gothic tradition, hidden in the world of the country gentry, the “problem” with Fanny Price can be understood.  E:2

Susan E. Jones
Palm Beach Atlantic University, FL
Fanny Price and the Agony Aunties: The Art of Advice in Mansfield Park
Advice, advice, advice! Mansfield Park is full of advice, both spoken and implied. Although the advice was often based on the moral precepts typical of sermons and didactic women’s novels of the 18th century, Jones will examine the relationship between advice in Mansfield Park and the world of the “problem pages” and “agony aunties”—columnists in women’s journals who answered reader questions much as “Dear Abby” does today.  E:3

Kerrie Savage
Arizona State University, Tempe
Attending the Interior Self: Fanny’s “Task” in Mansfield Park
Hints of William Cowper’s poem The Task permeate Mansfield Park, emphasizing that the individual who makes a difference in the world is one who “attends to his interior self.” In this talk, Savage examines Cowper’s subtle influence on Jane Austen and, ultimately, on her characterization of Fanny Price.  E:4

David Monaghan
Mount Saint Vincent Univ., Halifax, NS
Alison Shea
Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS
Patricia Rozema’s Mansfield Park: A Fresh Approach or a Wrongheaded Misreading?
Published in Persuasions 28 (2006).
In Defense of Patricia Rozema’s Mansfield Park” by David Monaghan.
‘I am a wild beast’: Patricia Rozema’s Forward Fanny” by Alison Shea.
Since the debut of Patricia Rozema’s film version of Mansfield Park in 1999, there has been much controversy over some of the choices the director made in adapting the novel for the screen. Using film clips to illustrate their arguments, Shea and Monaghan will debate whether or not Patricia Rozema’s adaptation, though quite original, is also quite wrongheaded. You are invited to join in and have your share of the conversation!  E:5

June Sturrock
Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC
Money, Morals, and Mansfield Park: The West Indies Revisited
Published in Persuasions 28 (2006). “Money, Morals, and Mansfield Park: The West Indies Revisited.” Persuasions 28 (2006): 176-184.
In Mansfield Park Austen indicates without comment that Sir Thomas Bertram is a slave-owner, and, in recent years, her reticence on the Antiguan references has attracted much comment and criticism. In her illustrated lecture, Sturrock will provide a brief overview of this debate and then discuss how Austen critiques through implication—rather than overt comment—not only the tainted money that supports life at Mansfield Park, but also the abuse of money and the distorted attitudes towards money that afflict almost every character in the novel.  E:6

Juliette Wells
Manhattanville College, Purchase, NY
A Harpist Arrives at Mansfield Park: Music and the Moral Ambiguity of Mary Crawford
Published in Persuasions 28 (2006). “A Harpist Arrives at Mansfield Park: Music and the Moral Ambiguity of Mary Crawford.” Persuasions 28 (2006): 101-114.
Mary’s harp encapsulates her moral ambiguity. By looking closely at how Mary handles her musical instrument, we can see how cleverly Austen holds us in suspense about her, even while she drops hints that are increasingly unmistakable to readers attuned to the meanings of music-making in the Regency era, to Austen herself, and to her heroines. In this talk, enhanced with illustrations and audio clips, Wells will examine why it’s essential to Mansfield Park that Mary should be a musician at all, and a harpist in particular.  E:7

Post-banquet Session:  Saturday, October 28

Those who prefer not to dance at the Ball can attend an entertaining breakout lecture instead.

Sheryl Craig

Central Missouri State University, Warrensburg
Pugs and Pointers, Puppies and Packs: Dogs and Dog Ownership in Jane Austen
From Pug, who is nearly a minor character in Mansfield Park, to Charles Musgrove’s unnamed dog in Persuasion, Man’s Best Friend serves a purpose in Austen’s works. In this post-banquet lecture, Craig shows how, for better or worse, Austen’s fictional dogs shed some light on their owners.  PB:1

Nora Foster Stovel
University of Alberta, Edmonton
Dancing to the Altar: From Page to Screen
“To be fond of dancing is a certain step towards falling in love,” Jane Austen declares at the outset of Pride and Prejudice. For the pleasure of those who would prefer to watch fine dancing rather than dancing themselves, Stovel will use film clips from recent screen adaptations of the novels to examine how Austen choreographs her brilliant ball scenes to prefigure the proposals of marriage that conclude her novels.  PB:2

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