2007 Annual General Meeting, Oct. 5-7, Vancouver, BC Canada

Theme: "Discovering Emma in Vancouver"

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Dr. Jocelyn Harris
Jane Austen, Jane Fairfax, and Jane Eyre


Dr. Jocelyn Harris is emerita professor of the University of Otago, New Zealand, and Honorary Consul for France in Dunedin. According to Professor Harris herself, "Tears dropped on a manuscript letter, making the ink run, inspired me to begin a lifetime of research on Samuel Richardson, then on Jane Austen, his most acute as well as his most appreciative reader."  In 1972 Professor Harris published her edition of Sir Charles Grandison (OUP, repr. University of Otago), while in 1989, she showed how Austen critiques, appropriates, and recreates Richardson, Locke, Chaucer, Milton, Shakespeare, and many others, in Jane Austen's Art of Memory (CUP, repr. 2004).  The University of Delaware Press has just published her latest book, A Revolution Almost Beyond Expression: Jane Austen's Persuasion.

In her plenary talk at the Vancouver AGM, entitled "Jane Austen, Jane Fairfax, and Jane Eyre," Dr. Harris asserts that Brontė's famous attack on Jane Austen is a manoeuvre typical of writers who try to prove their own originality by disdain of their powerful predecessors. She goes on to consider "How Romantic is Emma? And what if Brontė drew on aspects of Emma for Jane Eyre's Romantic scenes, ideas, names, and characters?" This is going to be a most interesting talk!

Photo by Reg Graham

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