Like most organisations, JASA has been unable to hold our regular meetings for many months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As Sydney emerged from strict lockdown practices, the JASA committee worked within health and safety guidelines to arrange small group meetings. These meetings were recorded on video to reach members who were not able to be there in person. Please enjoy these ‘virtual’ meetings.
People in attendance at these meetings. adhered to safe Covid-19 practices.
June 2022 Meeting
Jane Austen PhD: From reading passion to reading wisely and well Dr Ruth Wilson
The title of Dr Ruth Wilson’s PhD thesis was described by Devoney Looser, who was one of the examiners, as ‘a significant, original contribution that combines the methods of criticism and memoir’. In her talk, Ruth discusses the background of her research and her close readings of the three novels that serve as test cases for the recommended reading approach.
Ruth returned to re-reading Jane Austen’s novels in her retirement and in 2020 she completed a thesis called ‘Milestones in a Reading Life: Jane Austen and Lessons in Reading, Learning and the Imagination’.
Ruth’s reading memoir, A Jane Austen Remedy, is now in bookstores.
April 2022 Meeting
Dramatic Structure in Jane Austen’s Novels – Rev. Dr Michael Giffin
In this presentation, Michael describes the basic architecture of Austen’s dramatic structure, from the exuberant, offbeat, raucous comedy of her Juvenilia—which Chesterton called Rabelaisian and Dickensian—to the serious novels of her adulthood. He introduces the question: Do her novels reveal a theory of mimesis, of art imitating nature or life? Inevitably, this involves chicken-and-egg questions about how she absorbed influences and transformed them into art. Then there is the question of whether her novels became more complex as she matured as a novelist. If the dramatic structure of her novels remained the same, how is her developing literary maturity defined and measured?
Study Day, March 2022: Jane Austen and Food
A special online event by The Jane Austen Society of Australia which included 6 illustrated short talks on a range of topics relating to Jane Austen & Food. Topics covered were food, drink, diet, cookbooks, influences from abroad, and characterization in the novels through relationships with food.
February 2022 meeting
Adrian Dickens – Jewels of the Regency
In this talk, jewellery historian Adrian Dickens discusses jewels of the Regency era, as well as the three pieces (that are known of) relating to Jane Austen. Adrian Dickens is a jeweller with forty years experience in modern, estate and antique jewellery. He trained in England and in 2012 he founded his own business in Australia. He travels in Australia and internationally, sharing his knowledge about jewels and their history.
Please visit Circa AD Jewels to see Adrian’s beautiful range.
October 2021 meeting
At this meeting, guest speaker JASA member, Jan Merriman, presented ‘Discovering Philadelphia’s Story: Researching the Life and Times of Jane Austen’s Remarkable Aunt, Philadelphia Hancock’.
Philadelphia Hancock was Jane Austen’s father’s older sister. Hers is a remarkable story: orphaned, sent to live with relatives, served as a millinery apprentice in London, and then packed off to India with ‘the fishing fleet’ to marry and then to fall in love. Philadelphia’s daughter Eliza de Feuillide was cousin to Jane Austen and later sister-in-law after she married Jane’s brother Henry.
Jan Merriman presents a talk on her exploration of Philadelphia’s life and its connection to Austen’s works. Jan says:
“My interest in researching the life and times of Jane Austen’s paternal aunt, Philadelphia Hancock, nee Austen, came from an interest in the life of young women in the 18th century, the kind of young women Jane Austen fictionalised and their challenge to make a future for themselves in a world where they held little power or agency. For me, here was a real woman, important to Jane, who struck me as having had an interesting life. Her story deserved to be told. My research began almost four years ago and it’s now become a passion which I’m turning into a book. In my talk I aim to give a little of what I have found about Philadelphia and what I feel about her and the times she lived through.”
Please enjoy the feature talk from our October meeting held via Zoom.
Note: We had some technology problems during this meeting which affected the quality of this video recording.
August 2021 meeting
With Sydney again in lockdown we had no option but to hold our August meeting online via Zoom. Thank you to the 136 people, members and guests, who joined us live for the meeting.
Covid restrictions have also played havoc with our guest speaker programme, this time preventing two guest speakers from giving their talks. Dr Ruth Wilson recently successfully completed a PhD thesis entitled ‘Milestones in a Reading Life: Jane Austen and Lessons in Reading, Learning, and the Imagination’. Ruth will delay her talk sharing the inspiration behind her thesis and the pedagogy involved until we can meet in person. We next approached US-based Dr Janine Barchas, a fabulous Jane Austen scholar, who agreed to do an illustrated talk about her book, The Lost Books of Jane Austen, from her temporary location in New Zealand. Sadly, with just three days’ notice New Zealand went into lockdown preventing Janine from accessing the required technology. Luckily for us, our President, Susannah Fullerton stepped up at the last minute to present this talk on ‘The Best Books about Jane Austen’, her special favourites amongst the thousands of books written about Jane.
Please enjoy the feature talk from our August meeting held via Zoom.
You will find a full list of the books mentioned here: https://susannahfullerton.com.au/the-best-books-about-jane-austen/
June 2021 meeting
Social distancing restrictions continue to impact JASA meetings and the June 2021 meeting was held on Saturday 19th June with a limited number of members in attendance by booking only.
Covid also prevented our guest speaker from travelling to NSW, so we were very fortunate that Dr Michael Olsson stepped in, almost at the very last minute (what a true Austen hero!), to speak to us on ‘The British Army in Jane Austen’s time’. Members of the British army, both militia and regular army, play a prominent role in two of Jane Austen’s works, Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. Dr Michael Olsson will provide insights into aspects of the army in Jane Austen’s time, illustrating them with references to characters from the novels.
Dr Olsson is a widely published information/communication researcher with a passion for history, literature, fencing, martial arts and horsemanship – at least some of which will hopefully prove useful to the talk!
Please enjoy the feature talk from our limited June meeting.
April 2021 meeting
Once again restrictions have impacted a JASA meeting, although numbers are increased. The April 2021 meeting was held on Saturday 17th April with a limited number of members in attendance by booking only. It was great that we could offer afternoon tea this time!
At this meeting, we were entertained by Rachel Givney presenting ‘The Heart or the pen: Jane Austen’s Choice’.
After loving reading Jane Austen as a teenager, Rachel Givney felt saddened when she discovered that the writer of such beautiful love stories never married or had children. She wondered, must a female artist be single and/or unhappy to create art? And if Jane Austen had to choose between the heart and the pen, which would she choose? That’s how her novel, Jane in Love was born. Rachel talked about what inspired her novel and how marriage and family might have impacted Jane Austen’s career.
Rachel Givney is an award-winning writer and filmmaker originally from Sydney, Australia. She’s written for many of Australia’s most beloved and critically acclaimed shows including Offspring, McLeod’s Daughters, All Saints, and The Warriors. Jane in Love is her first novel.
Please enjoy the feature talk from our limited April meeting.
February 2021 meeting
Once again restrictions have impacted a JASA meeting. The February 2021 meeting was held on Saturday 20th February with a small group of members in attendance, all adhering to safe Covid practices.
At this meeting, we entertained by Monida Jarman presenting ‘Universals and Particulars – Pride and Prejudice Retellings from Around the World’. She asks us to consider the stereotypical Jane Austen fan. What does this person look like? What gender? Age? Socioeconomic status? … “I would bet,” she says, “that the majority of people imagine a typical Austen fan as female, middle-aged or older, and middle class. She is also likely white.”
JASA hopes all members and their loved ones remain well and safe. Please enjoy the feature talk from our ‘virtual’ February meeting.
October 2020 meeting
This month, we were lucky to have the wonderful Walter Mason present his talk on headaches and ill health in Jane Austen’s time. Were headaches just for malingerers? Watch and see.
JASA hopes all members and their loved ones remain well and safe. Please enjoy our ‘virtual’ October meeting.
August 2020 meeting
“Let me introduce you to a heroine. Her name was Dorothy Gwynnyd Darnell. It is thanks to this remarkable woman that we can today visit the Jane Austen House Museum in Chawton.”
These words marked the beginning of a memorable feature talk. In a first for the Jane Austen Society of Australia, the whole of the meeting held on Saturday 15th August 2020 was recorded on live video.
Like most organisations, JASA has been unable to hold our regular meetings for many months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, as we emerge from strict lockdown practices, the JASA committee worked within health and safety guidelines to arrange this meeting. The small group of people in attendance adhered to safe Covid-19 practices and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to be together again in person while sharing our common bond.
JASA hopes all members and their loved ones are well and safe. Please enjoy this ‘virtual’ meeting.