Sunday, March 1, 2015

Reminder: JASNA Syracuse/JABC Ithaca Meeting, Sat., March 7



Here’s a reminder of our JASNA Syracuse/Jane Austen Book Club of Ithaca joint meeting this coming Saturday, March 7, at 2 pm, at the Crow’s Nest Cafe on the second floor of the Autumn Leaves Bookstore, 115 The Commons, Ithaca.

This will be our JASNA Syracuse Lady Day meeting, although it's a bit early for Regency-era Lady Day, March 25--an important day for hiring or dismissing servants and transacting other business during Jane Austen's time. (It was also the traditional start of the agricultural year, although here in Central New York, we can only dream as yet about planting our gardens!)

Our topic will be Emma--Jane Austen's fourth published novel, and widely considered her most perfectly crafted one, with a couple of "hiding in plain sight" romantic mysteries at its core. At the same time, the character of Emma herself has generated controversy ever since JA herself described her as "a heroine whom no one but myself will much like." And some of the supporting characters have become topics for debate themselves. Do you like Emma, or want to put her head through the wall? Does Miss Bates talk too much even for us? Is Mrs. Elton as insufferable as Emma thinks she is, or can a little sympathy be raised for her? And how soon can you claim to have guessed the secret of the overly reserved Jane Fairfax and her mysterious piano? Come prepared to discuss these and other issues!

Finally, we pass along two requests from our hosts for this meeting, the friendly “pirates” of the Crow’s Nest Cafe: Please don’t bring “outside” food or drink into the cafe, and we need to keep our voices to a conversational level, since the cafe shares open space with the rest of Autumn Leaves. We heartily encourage you to purchase food and beverages from the “pirates”--and if we refrain from emulating Miss Bates, we should be able to abide by the other request!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Reminder: JASNA Syracuse Candlemas Meeting at Liverpool, Sat., Feb. 7


Here’s a reminder that the JASNA Syracuse Candlemas meeting will take place on Saturday, February 7, at 2 pm, in the Sargent Room of the Liverpool Public Library (310 Tulip St., Liverpool). The topic will be “Read Any Good (Austen-Related) Books Lately?” Come prepared to say a few words about any book by, about, or related to Jane Austen and her world that you’ve read lately--and we’re prepared to stretch “related to” pretty far!

As at last year’s Candlemas meeting, there will also be a book swap, so you’ll have an opportunity both to pass on books meeting these very loose criteria and to pick up some new ones. (In the photo above, Action Jane Austen shows both some books your Regional Coordinator has been reading, and others that will be put into the swap.) Any books left over at the conclusion of the swap will again be donated to the Liverpool Library.

So do come and “have your share of the conversation”--especially after all the winter weather we’ve just endured. We hope to see you in Liverpool on Saturday!

******

Also, here is news about an upcoming set of Janeite events: At the Genesee Country Village and Museum in Mumford (southwest of Rochester), the Hosmer’s Inn will be featuring a “Tribute to Jane Austen Hosmer Dinner” as part of its Historic Dinners series (see this link). The JA dinners will feature recipes from the receipt book of Martha Lloyd, JA’s long-time housemate (and eventually sister-in-law, although JA unfortunately didn’t live long enough to see her brother Francis marry Martha as his second wife). A spring series of these dinners will be held May 15, 16, 22, 23, and June 5; a fall series will be held September 5, 25, 26, and October 9, 10. All dinners will cost $75 (or $70 for GCVM members) and begin at 6 pm. Please call 585-294-8218 to make reservations (required) or for more information. (If you plan to attend, don’t delay about making reservations; these dinners look as if they're going to be very popular.)

Friday, January 16, 2015

JASNA Syracuse Winter/Spring 2015 Meetings: Save the Dates!


 Save these dates now for the JASNA Syracuse Region’s winter/spring 2015 meetings:

Our Candlemas meeting will take place on Saturday, February 7, at 2 pm, at the Liverpool Public Library (310 Tulip St., Liverpool). The topic will be “Read Any Good (Austen-Related) Books Lately?” Come prepared to say a few words about any book by, about, or related to Jane Austen and her world that you’ve read lately--and we’re prepared to stretch “related to” pretty far. (In the photo above, Action Jane Austen and Harry Potter discuss the curious coincidence of a character named Mrs. Norris in both Mansfield Park and the Potter series!) As at last year’s Candlemas meeting, there will also be a book swap, so you’ll have an opportunity both to pass on books meeting these relaxed criteria and to pick up some new ones.

Our slightly early Lady Day meeting (Saturday, March 7, at 2 pm) will be a joint meeting with the Jane Austen Book Club of Ithaca at the Crow’s Nest Cafe (second floor of Autumn Leaves Bookstore), 115 The Commons, Ithaca. Through a quirk of its publishing history, Emma can actually claim both 2015 and 2016 as its bicentennial years, so we’ll get the discussion of Emma started at this meeting.

And our May Day meeting (Saturday, May 2, 2 pm) will take place at RiverRead Books, 5 Court St., Binghamton. In an appropriate beginning to the warmer days of spring and summer, we’ll discuss Sanditon, Austen’s final (and uncompleted) work, set at a seaside resort town under development.

More details about all these meetings will be provided closer to their dates--but do mark your calendars now!


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Happy 239th Birthday, Jane Austen!



Your Regional Coordinator writes:

First, a very happy birthday to Our Author!! At age 239, Jane Austen just keeps getting better and better. The photo above shows the birthday cake served last Saturday at JASNA Rochester’s birthday luncheon. (And the cookies shared by JASNA Syracuse and the JABC-CNY on Saturday the 6th in Hamilton were excellent as well!)

Second, the annual JA’s birthday gift from JASNA to the world--the new issue of JASNA’s electronic journal, Persuasions On-Line--is now available at this link (http://www.jasna.org/persuasions/on-line/vol35no1/toc.html). 

The “Annual General Meeting 2014” section contains many of the papers on Mansfield Park that were presented in Montreal this past October, including my own “Fanny Price as Fordyce’s Ideal Woman? And Why?” Whether or not you were able to attend the Montreal AGM, you should enjoy the papers in this section.

The “Miscellany” section includes a rich variety of papers on other Austen-related topics. For instance, Natalie Walshe’s “The Importance of Servants in Jane Austen’s Novels” relates directly to our All Hallows discussion in Binghamton in November. And Montreal AGM Coordinator Elaine Bander’s “Fanny Price and Lord Nelson” compares MP’s “creepmouse” heroine to England’s (and Syracuse/Rochester Co-RC Lisa Brown’s) great naval hero!

As always, JASNA and its members owe a huge debt of thanks to Susan Allen Ford and the Persuasions editorial board for all the work they do on JASNA’s journals (and to Carol Moss, JASNA’s webmistress, for her help with Persuasions On-Line). I was very proud to have Susan (at right in the photo below) introduce my breakout in Montreal; indeed, without the work she did on the Chawton House Press republication of Dr. James Fordyce’s Sermons to Young Women, I wouldn’t have had a breakout to present! And Susan’s own Montreal paper on another conduct book, “‘Assisting the Improvement of Her Mind’: Chapone’s Letters as Guide to Mansfield Park,” also appears in this issue of Persuasions On-Line.


Nervous presenter and calm introducer: A. Marie Sprayberry and Susan Allen Ford.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

"Seasonal Gaieties" in the Syracuse and Rochester Regions

To paraphrase Miss Bingley (but with much more warmth than she extends to poor Jane Bennet), “We sincerely hope your holidays in Upstate New York may abound in the gaieties which that season generally brings.” And, indeed, JASNA Syracuse and JASNA Rochester will be generating some of the gaieties--for Jane Austen's 239th birthday, as well as the traditional winter solstice celebrations!

On Saturday, December 6, at 2 pm, in the Community Room of the Hamilton Public Library (13 Broad St., Hamilton), JASNA Syracuse will join the JABC-CNY of Hamilton for a joint Christmas/Jane Austen's Birthday meeting. Last year's cookie potluck in Hamilton was such a success that we'll be repeating it this year: Each guest is asked to bring a dozen or so cookies (which needn't necessarily be homemade; remember, Martha Stewart won't be attending!) to share. We'll also lift a glass of tea or lemonade in a traditional birthday toast to Our Author (beverages will be provided). And let’s relax with an informal discussion of "Jane Austen in the News": Come and "have your share of the conversation" on any of the many news stories in which JA has figured in the last couple of years. (The 10-pound bank note? The turquoise ring? The various possible portraits of Our Author? Even, heaven help us, the upcoming movie version of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? The list could go on and on!)

And on Saturday, December 13, beginning at 10:30 am (note the earlier-than-usual start time), JASNA Rochester will hold its annual Jane Austen’s Birthday Luncheon at the Chatterbox Club, 25 North Goodman Street, Rochester. The speaker will be Deborah Knuth Klenck, Professor of English at Colgate University and a Syracuse Region member. Deborah will give her talk, "Jane Austen's School of Rhetoric: Style, Substance, and 'Delicacy of Mind,'" before lunch.  (Deborah is shown below with her son, Ted Scheinman, at the Regency banquet held at JASNA’s Annual General Meeting in Montreal in October.)
The cost of the December 13 luncheon--which will feature squash/ginger soup, turkey salad, the Chatterbox’s famous popovers, and a birthday cake with ice cream--is $27. Registration is required, but will be accepted until a week before the luncheon. To receive a registration form as a Word document, please contact either A. Marie Sprayberry or Lisa Brown (see “Contact Us” in the right-hand column).

So do plan to join your fellow Central and Western New York Janeites at one or both of these holiday gatherings. We look forward to seeing you!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Our All Hallows and Christmas/JA's Birthday Meetings



On Saturday, November 1, at 2 pm, at RiverRead Books (5 Court St., Binghamton), we’ll be discussing Jo Baker’s recent novel Longbourn at our All Hallows meeting. Longbourn is a fascinating retelling of events in Pride and Prejudice from the Bennets’ servants’ point of view. Most of us, in reading P&P, never gave a second thought to the question of who had to serve Mr. Bennet his after-dinner port, wait on Mrs. Bennet when she took to her bed with her "poor nerves," or wash Elizabeth’s muddy petticoat--but someone had to! We'll use the novel as a basis for discussing Regency-era servants, their duties, and their pay.

And on Saturday, December 6, at 2 pm, in the Community Room of the Hamilton Public Library (13 Broad St., Hamilton--note the change in venue from the Colgate Bookstore), we'll join the JABC-CNY of Hamilton for a joint Christmas/Jane Austen's Birthday meeting. Last year's cookie potluck in Hamilton was such a success that we'll be repeating it this year: Each guest is asked to bring a dozen or so cookies (which needn't necessarily be homemade; Martha Stewart won't be attending!) to share. We'll also lift a glass of something pleasant and nonalcoholic (beverages will be provided) in a traditional birthday toast to Our Author, who will be turning 239 on December 16. And, instead of a formal presentation, let's have an informal discussion of "Jane Austen in the News": Come and "have your share of the conversation" on any of the many news stories in which JA has figured in the last couple of years. (The 10-pound bank note? The turquoise ring? The various possible portraits of Our Author? The list could go on and on!)

JASNA Membership Business

Here are a few reminders--and one piece of new news--about JASNA membership at the North American level. (Remember that our only requirement for regional membership is North American membership.)

  • First, if you haven't already joined JASNA, please consider doing so! Find out how on the membership page of the North American website.
  • If you're already a member of JASNA at the individual or student level, and you've already renewed your membership for 2014-15, we thank you. (Remember that the JASNA membership year runs from Sept. 1 to Aug. 31, except that if you joined between June 1 and Aug. 31 of this year, you are enrolled until Sept. 1, 2015.) 
  • If you have not yet renewed your membership, please do so very soon--as memberships are now considered "lapsed" if they are not renewed by October 31. There will be a short grace period after this, but only a short one: Reminder letters will go out from the North American organization in November.
  • Finally, if you have ever considered becoming a Life Member of JASNA, now is the time to act: It's just been announced that the Life Membership fee will be making a sharp jump from $350 to $600 in 2015-16. (Note that if you have already renewed at an individual or student level for 2014-15, you can apply that fee toward the Life Membership. For example, if you renewed at the individual level for $30, you can mention this and pay $320 for the Life Membership.)
Remember that the benefits of JASNA membership include three issues of the organization's newsletter, JASNA News; the annual issue of JASNA's hard-copy journal, Persuasions (which is also now available as an e-book); the opportunity to go on JASNA's annual tour of JA-related sites in England and to attend JASNA's Annual General Meeting; and the society of your fellow Janeites across North America!