Wednesday, December 29, 2010

More Photos of the Christmas Concert

More photos of the JASSYL/JASNA concert can be found here.

Monday, December 27, 2010

"A Georgian Christmas with Jane Austen": Concert Photos and Review

It was standing room only on Sunday, December 19, at the Fellowship Hall of the First Presbyterian Church in Skaneateles, for "A Georgian Christmas with Jane Austen"--the first of what we hope will be many collaborations between the Jane Austen Singing School for Young Ladies (JASSYL) and the JASNA Syracuse Region. Herewith, some photos of the concert, annotated by your Regional Coordinator. Unless otherwise noted, the photos were taken by Mr. Bill Hecht and are used by courtesy of JASSYL. The album on JASSYL's Facebook page has many more photos.

JASNA Syracuse members participating in the concert were (from left below) Regional Coordinator Ms. A. Marie Sprayberry, Co-Coordinator Miss Lisa Brown, and Ms. Banna Rubinow. Ms. Sprayberry read two birthday tributes to Jane Austen: the epigraph to Rudyard Kipling's "The Janeites," and the Rev. George Austen's announcement of his second daughter's birth ("We have now another girl..."). Miss Brown acted as dancemistress to the JASSYL members and provided the audience with a short introduction to English country dance. And Ms. Rubinow (who is also the mother of Lt. Doran Baltus; see below) gave a wonderful reading of the scene-setting "Christmas at Bracebridge Hall" from Washington Irving's The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon.

But the real stars of the show, of course, were the Young Ladies and their dynamic director, Dr. Joanna Manring. Dr. Manring, photographed here during the dancing, did an outstanding job of working with the Young Ladies and Gentlemen. (This is not mere lip service; your RC was present at the dress rehearsal!)

The Young Ladies were (L to R below) the Misses Ellie Crough, Rebecca Gould, Allison Purdy, and Emily Short...

...and (L to R below) the Misses Grace Magee, Julia Hearn, Christina Marshall, and Phoebe Glowacki. All eight did excellently. The Misses Crough, Marshall, and Glowacki are JASSYL "veterans," and it's been a particular pleasure to watch and hear them develop as performers from concert to concert.

As the concert title "A Georgian Christmas..." indicates, the chosen carols were ones that Jane Austen might at least theoretically have known. In some cases, they were quite unfamiliar to a present-day U.S. audience ("Rejoice, Ye Tenants of the Earth," "Let an Anthem of Praise," and "Christians, Awake!"); in other cases, they were familiar lyrics set to unfamiliar music (for example, "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" was sung to a tune by the eminent musician Dr. Charles Burney, father of one of JA's favorite novelists, Frances Burney); and in still other cases, they were quite familiar ("O Come, All Ye Faithful," "Joy to the World," and "The Twelve Days of Christmas"). Interspersed with the carols were seasonally appropriate brief readings from JA's published and unpublished works. Among the most enjoyable of these was JA's delightfully sassy 1798 letter to Cassandra ("I wish you a merry Christmas, but no compliments of the Season").

The Young Ladies were joined in the familiar carols by several Young Gentlemen: Mr. Thomas Grande (who also assisted Miss Brown with the dance instruction), Lt. Doran Baltus, Lt. Adam Connor, Mr. Jeffrey Connor, and Mr. Will Tobin. Below, the combined Young Ladies' and Gentlemen's chorus, watched by a most appreciative audience.

And, as this photo of Lt. Connor demonstrates, it's probably a good thing Miss Lydia Bennet wasn't in the hall!

The singing was followed by dancing, as befitted a Georgian revel! Dr. Manring and Mr. E. Robinson (the front couple below) joined the aforementioned Young Gentlemen and several of the Young Ladies in "The Duke of Kent Waltz" (the Duke for whom this was named was King George III's fourth son and the father of Queen Victoria) and "The Old Wife behind the Fire."

And the Young Ladies and Gentlemen enjoyed a hearty and well-deserved round of applause at the end of the concert!

Finally, an equally well-deserved tribute to the musicians: Miss Katherine Klein and Mrs. Eleanor Wilcox, flutes; Miss Caroline Manring, violin and viola; Mrs. Claire Howard, piano; and Miss Emily Dean, cello. (Photo by Mr. Edward R. Voytovich.)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"A Georgian Christmas with Jane Austen": Update and Rehearsal Photos

Further details about the "A Georgian Christmas with Jane Austen" concert on December 19 in Skaneateles, to be presented by the Jane Austen Singing School for Young Ladies and the JASNA Syracuse Region, are now available! The Young Ladies appearing in the concert will be Ellie Crough (Manlius Pebble Hill), Emily Short (Marcellus), Becca Gould (Tully), Christina Marshall, Phoebe Glowacki, Grace Magee, Julia Hearn, and Allison Purdy (all students at Skaneateles Central Schools). Claire Howard, former manager of the Skaneateles Festival, will be accompanying the Young Ladies on piano and will be joined by Eleanor Wilcox and Kate Klein on flute, Caroline Manring on viola, and Emily Dean on cello.

And not only is English country dancing definitely on the program, but the Young Ladies will be joined by several Young Gentlemen for the dancing: Doran Baltus (Manlius Pebble Hill), Jeffrey Connor (Cornell), Adam Connor (University of Vermont), and Will Tobin (Cornell). JASNA Syracuse Co-Coordinator Lisa Brown has been providing dance coaching to the Young Ladies and Gentlemen.

Finally, we have some delightful rehearsal photos to share with you, courtesy of Dr. Joanna Manring (the director of the Singing School) and her mother, Margaret Manring (who took all the pictures). First, a serious view: The Young Ladies rehearse a choral selection. L to R: Allison Purdy, Emily Short, Julia Hearn, Christina Marshall, Becca Gould, Phoebe Glowacki, Ellie Crough, Joanna Manring, director, Claire Howard, piano.

Next, a not so serious view: The Young Ladies and Gentlemen work on their dancing. L to R: Christina Marshall, Will Tobin & Emily Short, Lisa Brown & Allison Purdy, E. Robinson & Joanna Manring, Jeffrey Connor & Becca Gould, Adam Connor, Ellie Crough.

Finally, a completely unserious view: The group takes a well-deserved break--and the Young Gentlemen try on some Regency attire! Back row: Joanna Manring, Allison Purdy, Emily Short, Christina Marshall, Ellie Crough, Becca Gould, Claire Howard. Front row: E. Robinson, Doran Baltus, Will Tobin, Jeffrey Connor.

So do come to the Fellowship Hall of the First Presbyterian Church, 97 E. Genesee Street, Skaneateles, at 3 p.m. on Sunday the 19th. Clearly,"A Georgian Christmas with Jane Austen" is going to be a memorable occasion!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

JA Singing School for Young Ladies/JASNA Syracuse Christmas Program

The JASNA Syracuse Region is very pleased to announce its first collaboration with the Jane Austen Singing School for Young Ladies: "A Georgian Christmas with Jane Austen," a concert to be held in the Fellowship Hall of the First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles on Sunday, December 19, 2010, at 3 pm. (Note the difference in day and time from our usual Saturday 2 pm meetings.) Although your Regional Coordinators have been warm admirers of the School and its director, Dr. Joanna Manring, since the School's first concert in November 2009, this program will be the first in which the School and JASNA Syracuse have actually worked together.

Co-Coordinator Lisa Brown has assisted Dr. Manring and the Young Ladies in ensuring the historical authenticity of the vocal selections. (Many of the carols familiar to present-day Americans come from the mid-19th century or later, and thus would not have been familiar to JA and her contemporaries.) And perhaps some English country dancing will be on the program as well! Finally, in honor of JA's 235th birthday on December 16, Coordinator A. Marie Sprayberry will read from the Rev. George Austen's letter announcing his second daughter's birth, and will recite the epigraph to Rudyard Kipling's short story "The Janeites"--a traditional birthday toast in many JASNA Regions. Admission to the concert is free, but donations to support the continuing work of the Singing School are welcome. We hope that Janeites from all over Upstate New York will attend this very special event!

Monday, November 8, 2010

2010 AGM Report

Your Regional Coordinator writes:

This year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) of JASNA--”Mystery, Mayhem, and Muslin: Jane Austen and the Abbey”-- was held October 29-31 at the Hilton in Portland, Oregon, and a hugely enjoyable time it was. Excellent accounts of this AGM are already available on other blogs: Maggie Sullivan’s AustenBlog, Laurel Ann Nattress’s Austenprose, and Deb Barnum’s Jane Austen in Vermont. This report provides yet another perspective.

My Regency Beau and I arrived in Portland on Wednesday the 27th. On Thursday, we took the all-day tour to the Oregon coast offered in connection with the AGM. (Above, Regency Beau and Regional Coordinator at Cannon Beach.) Neither of us had previously visited the Pacific Northwest, and we were as much struck with the beauty of the landscape as Anne Elliot is with Lyme. We were also much impressed by what a green (in all senses of the word) and pleasant city Portland is. Any place that can boast an excellent mass transit system, clean and civil streets (even the panhandlers are polite!), Powell’s Books, a large number of pleasant and leafy city parks, superb restaurants, and drive-through espresso bars definitely gets our votes. Even the much-maligned weather actually included two sunny days.

On Friday morning, I was most unfortunately prevented from attending the “Team Tilney Explains It All” panel presentation by the responsibilities of office—the Regional Coordinators’ workshop was in direct conflict—but Mags Sullivan, who headed the panel, provides a splendid account of it on AustenBlog. And the workshop featured its own panel discussion, in which RCs Nili Olay of New York Metro, Bonny Wise of Greater Louisville, and Aspen Anderson of the brand-new Utah Region shared their views on heading regions of different ages, sizes, and needs.

The AGM proper began Friday afternoon with Stephanie Barron’s splendid plenary address, “Suspicious Characters, Red Herrings, and Unreliable Detectives: Elements of Mystery in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey.” Barron, well known as the author of the Jane Austen Mysteries, made a case for Henry Tilney as “the consummate detective” and Catherine Morland as a better one than she sometimes seems to be. And in the Q&A period following the lecture, she provided a spirited response to the recent uproar in the press concerning Oxford professor Kathryn Sutherland’s claims about JA’s manuscripts. Click here for a full version of her views on the Sutherland controversy.

The first two breakout sessions followed Barron’s plenary. I attended Elaine Bander’s “‘How Were People, at That Rate, to Be Understood?’: Reading Mysteries at Northanger Abbey,” and Vicky Hinshaw and Kim Wilson’s “About Those Abbeys: A Trip through History, Literature, and the Picturesque.” Elaine Bander, whom I met on the 2009 JASNA tour of England, was as well worth hearing as she always was during the tour. (My favorite comment: the assertion that Catherine, under Isabella's influence, is in danger of becoming "addicted to the literary crack cocaine of the 1790s," but is actually an "excellent empiricist" much of the time and certainly learns to read "the unstable text of John Thorpe" quickly enough!) And Hinshaw and Wilson provided a lively guide to the abbeys whose ruination “has been of infinite use to the landscape of England in general,” as JA put it in “The History of England.”

I managed to spend a little time and money in the Milsom Street Emporium on Saturday morning before that day’s sessions began—and, as you can see in the photo above, there were “such beautiful ornaments as made [me] quite wild”! (Well, not quite as wild as Lydia Bennet, but almost.) I encountered Juliet McMaster at the Juvenilia Press table a mere 20 minutes before her plenary address, “‘A Surmise of Such Horror’: Catherine Morland’s Imagination.” With her customary wit and verve, McMaster argued that the “ignorant and uninformed” Catherine, because of (as well as in spite of) her Gothic reading and in spite of (as well as because of) Henry Tilney, ultimately becomes as “finely aware and richly responsible” a character as those preferred by Henry James.

Of the three breakout sessions that followed McMaster’s plenary, I most enjoyed Shannon Campbell’s “The Mystique of the Pineapple: A Lure for General Tilney” and Susan Allen Ford’s “Ingenious Torments: Reading Instructive Texts in Northanger Abbey” (I had the honor of introducing the latter). Since one of my great-grandfathers was an unsuccessful pineapple grower in Florida a century ago, I was greatly interested in Campbell’s description of the difficulties of hothouse pineapple culture in Regency England, and of why General Tilney would have had a “pinery” and taken such pride in it. Ford—well known to all JASNA members as the editor of Persuasions and Persuasions On-Line--began by looking at the essay in the Mirror that Mrs. Morland wants Catherine to read, which describes the ill effects of grand society on “John Homespun’s” daughters. She then went on to examine other instructive essays and conduct books that are implicitly present in the novel, as well as one “anti-conduct” book: Jane Collier’s An Essay on the Art of Ingeniously Tormenting, reflected in both Henry’s and Catherine’s frequent use of the words “torment” and “tease.” Ford will address JASNA Rochester in May, and her topic then will be Mr. Collins and Fordyce’s Sermons!

Because of the Halloween theme, the ingenuity of the costumes at Saturday night's banquet and Bal Masque surpassed anything I'd seen at previous AGMs. There were a couple of zombies and a sea monster, in homage to the recent spate of Austen “mashups”; several gypsies and pirates; and many amazing masks. I'm sorry I didn't get the names of the three spectrally elegant ladies in the first photo above; in the second, Rochester's Celia Easton (at right) pauses with Fort Worth's legendary Baronda Bradley and Baronda's Regency Beau. Joining other banqueters in assuming different identities for the evening, my own Regency Beau and I called ourselves “Mr. and Mrs. John Homespun” in honor of Ford’s breakout session. (Below, Mrs. Homespun whispers her hopes that such grand society will not have any ill effects on Mr. Homespun. Mr. Homespun doesn't seem too worried.)

After the Regional Coordinators’ business meeting on Sunday morning came both the business and the considerable pleasures of brunch. First, Bonnie Helm, the winner of the J. David Grey Writers’ Workshop first prize, read her essay “Exposure of Truth”—an imaginative alternative version of the crucial Northanger Abbey scene in the late Mrs. Tilney’s bedroom. Then the second- and first-place winners of the annual JASNA quiz were announced. It would be both immodest and unbecoming of me to state the top finisher’s name directly here. Suffice it to say that the quiz championship has returned to Syracuse—and that Mags Sullivan was spontaneously impelled to bestow an honorary “Team Tilney” membership upon yours truly!

Then came the customary previews of the next two AGMs. New York Metro’s RCs, Nili Olay and Jerry Vetowich, gave bravura performances to advertise the 2012 AGM, “Sex, Money, and Power in Jane Austen’s Fiction”—although Jerry was with difficulty prevented from giving a performance on his bassoon. Not to be outdone, the committee for the 2011 AGM in Fort Worth, “Jane Austen: 200 Years of Sense and Sensibility,” showed a video in which scenes from the 1995 film of S&S were intercut with scenes from John Wayne movies. I haven’t laughed that hard at a Western since Blazing Saddles.

The AGM concluded with a panel discussion called “Dispute without Mayhem,” which in fact involved neither mayhem nor serious dispute. Indeed, the panelists--William Phillips, Joan Klingel Ray, and Diana Birchall--agreed that both Northanger Abbey and its heroine deserve more respect than they sometimes get. At the end, they all declared themselves members of “Team Catherine.” (To my mind at least, this involves no real conflict with “Team Tilney.”)

A delightful Sunday afternoon at Powell’s Books and the Multnomah County Library’s “Lit Chicks” exhibit of late Georgian first editions and caricatures, and the Monday all-day tour of the Columbia River Gorge (above) and Mount Hood, concluded our AGM experience in Portland. And it would be highly improper to conclude this account without heartfelt thanks to the Portland organizers, Susan Schwartz, Pauline Beard, and Frank McClanahan, for all they did to make this AGM welcoming and memorable.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Next Meeting in Binghamton on November 6th

While our fearless leader, Marie Sprayberry, is in Portland at the AGM (Annual General Meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America), your co-coordinator is holding down the fort here in Central New York.

Our next meeting is just one short week away on Saturday, November 6th at 2:00 pm in Binghamton at RiverRead Books, 5 Court St. The topic will be "Jane Austen and Dance"; a favorite subject of your co-coordinator's. We know this a popular subject with many Binghamtonians so please bring your favorite dance-related passages from the novels to share. Even if you are unfamiliar with this topic, please join us for an afternoon of Austen fun. All are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fall Reminders and Announcements

A happy late Michaelmas, and happy 10/10/10, to all CNY Janeites! There are quite a few reminders and announcements to be made:

* Don't forget our next JASNA Syracuse meeting, to be held at RiverRead Books, 5 Court St., Binghamton, on Saturday, Nov. 6, at 2 pm. The topic will be "Jane Austen and Dance"; please bring your favorite dance-related passages from the novels to share!

* Don't forget the special event being offered at the Colgate Bookstore, 3 Utica St., Hamilton, on Saturday, Nov. 13, at 2 pm: David Shapard, editor of the just-published The Annotated Persuasion, will be present to autograph and discuss the book. This will be followed by tea at the Colgate Inn. See our first August 24 post, and the "Events" listing, for more details.

* We are very pleased and excited to be able to announce plans for our JASNA Syracuse December program: We'll be joining the Jane Austen Singing School for Young Ladies in Skaneateles for a Regency Christmas concert! Note a change in date: This will be on Sunday afternoon, December 19 (not Saturday, Dec. 18, as noted in the tentative 2010-11 schedule given in our second August 24 post). Watch future blog posts for time, venue, and other details.

* Finally, we're also extremely pleased to announce that Syracuse Co-Coordinator Lisa Brown will be giving a presentation on Regency fashion for women, to be called "Dressing the Miss Bennets," at the first annual Jane Austen Festival sponsored by the JASNA Pittsburgh Region on Saturday, March 12, 2011. Check out JASNA Pittsburgh's website ( for further details about the festival as these are announced.

Dance Like Jane Austen (in Syracuse)

The September 26 post has described how Janeites in the Binghamton area can learn to dance like Jane Austen this fall. Now Syracuse-area Janeites have the same opportunity through the Syracuse Country Dancers, who will be offering a series of English country dance classes on Sundays from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., beginning Oct. 17 and continuing through Dec. 12 (except no class on Nov. 28). The cost is $5 each or $25 for all eight classes, which will all be held at the United Church of Fayetteville, 310 E. Genesee St., Fayetteville, NY. The class is designed to prepare dancers for the SCD's Special Holiday English Country Dance on Saturday, Dec. 18. For more information, call Carmen at (315) 632-4992, or write to

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dance Like Jane Austen (in Binghamton)

There is a wonderful opportunity for dance classes this fall that ties in with our November 6 meeting in Binghamton regarding dance in Jane Austen’s novels.

The Binghamton English Country Dancers will be offering English Country Dance classes beginning this Wednesday, September 29, 2010. The series of 8 Wednesdays starts Sept. 29, 7:30-9:30 p.m. (beginner session at 7) at Christ Church, corner Water and Henry Streets (about 2 blocks from RiverRead Bookstore). $25 for all 8 classes. Callers are Cheryl Spiese and Terry Glasspool. Live music by Greenwood. Beginners welcome. Call Lee Shepherd for more information at (607) 722-9327.

Binghamton Janeites and country dancers are very lucky to have live music for dance classes as most dance classes are conducted with recorded music. You may remember Cheryl Spiese and Charlene Thomson of Greenwood from our last Jane Austen meeting in Binghamton on April 10th of this year. They gave a lovely mini-concert of traditional dance tunes and recently composed music inspired by a dance trip to England.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Reminder: Michaelmas Meeting in Syracuse, Saturday, September 25

Here's a reminder of the JASNA Syracuse Region Michaelmas meeting at Books & Memories, 2600 James St., Syracuse, 13206, on Saturday, September 25, at 2 pm. Our topic, as noted earlier, will be "This Is a Day Well Spent: Jane Austen's Juvenilia." After a brief introduction describing the circumstances under which the adolescent JA composed these wonderful comic sketches, we'll read aloud from "Frederic and Elfrida," "The History of England," "Love and Freindship" (yes, that's JA's own youthful spelling of "Freindship"), and "The Beautifull Cassandra."

A reminder also that parking on James St. in front of Books & Memories is limited and metered. In the past, we've recommended parking on Woodbine Ave. (the store is on the corner of James and Woodbine), and you can still do this. However, we've also discovered that the business just east of Books & Memories on James, MTS (Maine Technical Source), has closed and has ample off-street parking. Everyone else in the vicinity seems to be making use of the MTS parking lot, so we see no reason why we shouldn't do the same!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

JASNA Syracuse 2010-11 Schedule

We're approaching the start of a new season for JASNA Syracuse, and here's the schedule as it presently stands. Note that it follows the Regency calendar of "quarter days" and "cross-quarter days," as explained by Co-Coordinator Lisa Brown at several meetings last year. Syracuse meetings will take place at Books and Memories, 2600 James St., Syracuse, unless otherwise noted. Binghamton meetings will take place at RiverRead Books, 5 Court St., Binghamton. All meetings will be on Saturdays at 2 p.m.

September 25 (Michaelmas), Syracuse: "This Is a Day Well Spent: Jane Austen's Juvenilia." Most of this meeting will be devoted to reading aloud from these short, delightful comic pieces JA wrote between the ages of 12 and 17. After a brief introduction, we'll read from "Frederic and Elfrida," "The History of England," "The Beautifull Cassandra," and "Love and Freindship."

November 6 (All Hallows), Binghamton: "Jane Austen and Dance." We'll talk about the importance of dance in JA's time and in her works, and discuss favorite dance-related passages from the novels (come prepared to share!).

December 18 (Christmas), Syracuse: To be announced. We're examining a couple of possibilities for celebrating both the Yuletide season and (two days late) JA's birthday on the 16th.

February 12 (Candlemas), Colgate Bookstore, Hamilton: A joint meeting with the Colgate JA Book Club, many of whose members are also JASNA members. We'll see whether we can learn the game of Speculation as quickly as Fanny Price does in Mansfield Park!

April 2 (Lady Day), Syracuse: An update of the "iJane: Jane Austen in the Information Age" conference in Rochester that JASNA Rochester and JASNA Syracuse co-sponsored in 2008. We'll briefly recap the 2008 presentation, and describe some of the numerous "Austenworld" websites and blogs available now.

May 7 (May Day), Binghamton: A discussion of the book A Truth Universally Acknowledged: 33 Great Writers on Why We Read Jane Austen, edited by Susannah Carson. There's something for everyone in this fascinating collection, and we'll look at a few of these many different "takes" on JA in general and on particular works.

June 25 (Midsummer), Lorenzo Historic Site, Cazenovia (tentatively): A joint "Box Hill" picnic with the Colgate JA Book Club.

If you're already a JASNA member, we hope to greet you at some or all of these meetings. And if you're not yet a JASNA member, we certainly hope you'll pay us a visit. We urge you to join JASNA at the national level (click on the link for the national website)--and thus automatically join JASNA Syracuse!

Save the Date at Colgate: November 13

Heather Elia, JASNA Syracuse member and coordinator of the Jane Austen Book Club at the Colgate Bookstore in Hamilton, writes:


On 11/13 at 2pm, David Shapard (the editor of the Annotated Pride & Prejudice and the new/upcoming Annotated Persuasion) will come to talk about the process of annotating the beloved novels of our beloved author, to help lead a group discussion of Persuasion, and to sign copies of the books. (Although we would all rather have signed editions by Jane herself, we may content ourselves with signed editions by a contemporary editor/annotator.)

After the Bookstore part of the program, I thought it might be fun to assemble at the Colgate Inn for afternoon tea -- by which I mean a semi-traditional English-style "full tea" of hot soup, fresh salad, gourmet tea sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, a pastry assortment, and of course a cup (or a whole pot) of Earl Grey, Darjeeling, Lapsang Souchong, etc.

Since I could not convince the powers-that-be at the Bookstore to pick up the whole tab for this event, and I do not possess an independent fortune to treat everyone myself, there will be a charge, but I hope it is not prohibitive. (I do feel a bit like Lydia Bennet: "triumphantly display[ing] a table set out with such cold meat as an inn larder usually affords, exclaiming, 'Is not this nice? is not this an agreeable surprise.' And I mean to treat you all, but you must lend me the money, for I have just spent mine.)

Hope this program sounds like fun to all of you. If you know you will definitely be able to make it and want to register now you may do so at but I don't need a definite head count until October 31st.


This event does indeed "sound like fun" to your JASNA Regional Coordinators! If you agree, put the date into your calendars now.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Concert Review

The Jane Austen Singing School for Young Ladies presented its summer concert last Sunday, July 25, at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Skaneateles. Despite competition from the Antique Boat Show on the waterfront and a rock concert just across U.S. 20 from the church, the Young Ladies of the summer session--the Misses Marietta Burt, Ellie Crough, Anna and Mary Ellen Ducayne, Caroline Edinger, Christina Marshall, Olivia Sheppard, and Maren Walsh--all performed excellently under the able direction of Miss Joanna Manring.

After the concert opened with an ensemble performance of H. Harrington's "How Sweet in the Woodlands" (which your Regional Coordinator believes she recalls from the 1980 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice), each musical number was preceded by appropriate readings from either JA's works or a secondary source on JA and her times. For example, "The Spinning Wheel" by Thomas Arne was prefaced by the passage from JA's letters about the family benefactress Mrs. Knight's offer to give JA her spinning wheel ("I cannot endure the idea of her giving away her own wheel, & have told her no more than the truth, in saying that I could never use it with comfort"); "The Soldier's Adieu" by Charles Dibdin was introduced with the passage from P&P about the arrival of the militia in Meryton ("I remember the time when I liked a red-coat myself very well"); and so on.

Very appropriately in view of the Young Ladies' ages (the two youngest, the Misses Ducayne, are aged only 10 and 11!), the final reading was a series of excerpts from the Juvenilia--the delightful comic sketches JA began composing at about age 12. And rousing renditions of William Shields's "From Night till Morn" and Robert Burns's "My Love, She's But a Lassie Yet" made a lively conclusion to the program.

As your Regional Coordinator noted in her introductory remarks, it's refreshing simply that some members of the next generation can tell Lady Catherine de Bourgh from Lady Gaga, but the Young Ladies went well beyond this minimum standard. We hope that Miss Manring and the School continue their fine work for many seasons to come.

And, by a happy coincidence, JA's Juvenilia will be the topic of JASNA Syracuse's first regional meeting of the 2010-11 season, on Saturday, September 25, at 2 pm, at Books and Memories (2600 James St., Syracuse, 13206). More details about this will be given in a future post.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Carriage Competition in Cazenovia

This weekend on July 17 & 18th in Cazenovia at the Lorenzo State Historic Site, the annual Lorenzo Driving Competition will take place. This is carriage driving not automobile driving!

Although the carriages and costumes are Victorian, the beautiful Lorenzo mansion was built in 1807.

Monday, July 12, 2010

JA Singing School for Young Ladies Summer Concert

This just in from Miss Joanna Manring, director of the Jane Austen Singing School for Young Ladies:

Dear Friends~

Sunday, July 25th at 3 o' clock at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Skaneateles, the Jane Austen Singing School for Young Ladies will present our Summer Programme of readings and music sure to delight!

Our concert is free and open to the public. There will be a free-will donation to be used toward future projects, potentially A Jane Austen Christmas.

For more information, please go to Miss Manring's website.

Your Regional Coordinator plans to be there! Hope you can make it too. (The church is at 37 W. Genesee St., Skaneateles.)

The "News" section of Miss Manring's website announces that the School has received a grant from the Skaneateles Area Arts Council, which has made scholarships for several pupils and thus the summer concert possible. Huzzah for the School and the Council!

Jane Austen Ball Photos

An elegant Tudor-style ballroom was the setting for the Jane Austen Ball held on May 2, 2010 in Rochester, NY. Click here for more photos.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Now's a Great Time to Join JASNA!

A happy Fourth of July to all!

Just a reminder that now is a great time to join JASNA at the national level. The JASNA membership year runs from September 1 to August 31--but if you join between July 1 and August 31, you'll receive an extra issue of JASNA News (the Society's thrice-annual newsletter) and otherwise be enrolled for the coming full membership year. To join, you can go to the JASNA national website ( and click on the "Membership" link on the home page. Remember that joining JASNA at the national level automatically makes you a member of the JASNA Syracuse Region--this is our one and only regional membership requirement at present.

Our next two meetings will be Saturday, September 25, at Books & Memories, 2600 James St., Syracuse, and Saturday, November 6, at RiverRead Books, 5 Court St., Binghamton. (Note that we're trying to match our meeting dates to the "quarter days" and "cross-quarter days" of the Regency calendar; these will be our Michaelmas and All Hallows meetings, respectively!) Watch this site for further details about these and future meetings. And if you have ideas about topics you'd like to see featured at meetings, by all means add a comment to this post, or drop your Regional Coordinator or Co-Coordinator an e-mail (see "View My Complete Profile" for contact info).

Monday, June 21, 2010

Portland AGM Registration Is Open!

Important news for all JASNA national members in good standing (and even those who aren't can sign up for a 2-year membership on the registration form): The registration materials for the 2010 Annual General Meeting in Portland, Oregon, on October 28-31, are now available on the JASNA website ( and will also have reached most members' snail mailboxes by today. If you have any serious intentions of attending the Portland AGM, fill out the form immediately and run, don't walk, to your nearest U.S. post office with it. (Registration still takes place via U.S. mail, in order to "level the playing field" for members who don't use computers.) In keeping with the Halloween weekend, the theme this year is "Jane Austen and the Abbey: Mystery, Mayhem, and Muslin in Portland." From the curtain-raiser to the Bal Masque, mysterious fun for all will be in store!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Jane in June

Two events of great interest to Janeites will be taking place in or near the Syracuse Region in June.

First, the Colgate Bookstore Jane Austen Book Club--several of whose members are also JASNA Syracuse members--will be having a "Box Hill" picnic on Saturday, June 12, at 1:00 p.m. The picnic will take place on the hill beside the Colgate University Chapel House in Hamilton (the rain location will be the third floor of the Colgate Bookstore, 3 Utica St., Hamilton). Club coordinator Heather Elia notes: "We're asking everyone to bring a luncheon item to share, their favorite Austen 'outdoor scene' to read aloud, and as many picnic blankets as they have available. Plates, cups, napkins, utensils (all of the disposable variety, to make for easy clean-up), lemonade, iced tea, spring water (and perhaps some Donwell Abbey strawberries) will be provided. Restrooms are available inside the Chapel House. Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP to Heather Elia by Monday, June 7 at (315) 228-6944 or with their name, email or phone #, and what they will be bringing (so we don't get all desserts, or all salads, etc.) and I will reply with detailed directions & info about parking."

Second, the Genesee Country Village and Museum in Mumford, west of Rochester, will be hosting its annual War of 1812 Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, June 26 and 27--with attention to Regency-era civilians in general and Jane Austen in particular as well. The tentative schedule for both days includes presentations on Regency women's fashions at 1:00 pm, military uniforms of the era at 1:30, and "Jane Austen's Military Men" at 2:00 pm (this last will be given by JASNA Rochester Regional Coordinator Celia Easton), all at the Village's Town Hall. On Saturday only, at 3:30, the Rochester Country Dancers will give a demonstration of English country dancing in the Village's Meeting Center. For more detailed information about the weekend's events, as well as directions and information about admission fees, etc., go to or call (585) 538-6822.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Persuasions #31 Is Here; or, In the Garden with Jane Austen (Literally)

As you can see, Persuasions #31 (the newest issue of the journal that is a major benefit of JASNA membership) is reaching the mailboxes of JASNA members everywhere. (If you're a JASNA member and it hasn't reached yours soon, let your Regional Coordinators know; see contact info in other posts or under "View My Complete Profile.") And as you can also see, Marie is taking the May 22 meeting theme of "In the Garden with Jane Austen" to heart! See the preceding post and the "Events" listing for meeting details.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Reminder: Meeting in Syracuse on May 22

A happy, if slightly snowy, Mother's Day to you all!

Just a reminder that our next JASNA Syracuse meeting will be at Books & Memories, 2600 James St., Syracuse, on Saturday, May 22, at 2 p.m. Please contact Regional Coordinator A. Marie Sprayberry ( or 315-446-7787) if you need directions. As we noted back in February, parking on James St. itself is limited and metered, so we recommend parking on Woodbine Ave. (Books & Memories is on the corner of James and Woodbine.)

Our topic for this meeting will be "In the Garden with Jane Austen." Using Kim Wilson's excellent book by that title as well as some photographs from the 2009 JASNA tour of England, Marie will talk a bit about JA's own garden at Chawton Cottage; we'll also hear a little from Co-Coordinator Lisa Brown about garden designers and design trends of the Regency period; and we'll then discuss garden-related passages from the novels (please bring your favorites to share!).

Finally, whether or not you can attend the May 22 meeting, let's all start thinking about possible meeting topics for the 2010-11 season. It's your Syracuse Region; what would you like to see and do at a meeting? Our tentative schedule is as follows (all meetings will be on Saturdays at 2 p.m.): September 25 (Syracuse); November 6 (Binghamton); December 18 (Syracuse); February 12 (joint meeting with the Colgate Bookstore JA Book Club in Hamilton); April 2 (Syracuse); May 7 (Binghamton); and June 25 (Syracuse). Syracuse meetings will be at Books & Memories unless otherwise noted; Binghamton meetings will be at RiverRead Books, 5 Court St., Binghamton.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Two Austen-Related Diversions

First, the Syracuse University Drama Department is presenting a musical titled I Love You Because at Syracuse Stage's Arthur Storch Theatre through May 15 (call 315-443-3275 or go to for details). This production is said to be based on Pride and Prejudice--although characters with the names of Austin and Jeff Bennet, Diana Bingley, and Marcy Fitzwilliams suggest that genders have been switched!

Second, Miss Joanna Manring and the Jane Austen Singing School for Young Ladies will be presenting a spring concert at the Morgan Opera House in Aurora on Sunday, May 23, at 2 pm. CNY Janeites in general, and those in the western part of our region in particular, are urged to attend!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

"The Shade of a Departed Ball"

" the morning afforded her an opportunity of talking over Thursday night with Mrs. Grant and Miss Crawford, in a very handsome style, with all the heightenings of imagination and all the laughs of playfulness which are so essential to the shade of a departed ball, [Fanny] could afterwards bring her mind without much effort into its everyday state..."--Mansfield Park

Well, it may take some time to get our minds into an "everyday state"--but the fourth annual Rochester Jane Austen Ball is now "departed." And here are a few photographic reflections of its "shade."

JASNA Rochester Coordinator Celia Easton (left) and JASNA Syracuse Co-Coordinator Lisa Brown.

Caller Judi Rivkin, with the band, "Persuasion."

Miss Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy seem to be having an important conversation.

And the elegance of both the setting and the costumes was beyond expression.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

One Week Until the Jane Austen Ball

"Come, Darcy," said he, "I must have you dance. I hate to see you standing about by yourself in this stupid manner. You had much better dance."

The Jane Austen Ball, the highlight of everyone's social calendar, is just a week away. We are all anticipation. There are still observer tickets left although the dancer tickets sold out last week. Go here for more information:

Your Co-Coordinator has been preparing for weeks by taking ball prep dance classes. (Your Coordinator will be on the sidelines admiring her and the other dancers.) And there will be an elegant tea, authentic Regency toasts, and a raffle/silent auction with items guaranteed to appeal to Austenites in particular and Anglophiles in general. Come and join the fun!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Fashion and Thrift

Your Regional Coordinator and Co-Coordinator announce, with blushes, that they are this week's models on the recurring "Thrifty Threads" feature of the "My Year Without Spending" blog ( Many thanks to "My Year..." blogger Angela Barton for the post. And those who are thinking of attending this year's Jane Austen Ball in Rochester (or a JA Ball anywhere, for that matter) should lose no time in following the links to your Co-Coordinator's guides to Regency fashion on all budgets for both men and women--or just going to the "Jane Austen Ball" page of the Rochester Country Dancers' site (

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Thoughts and Spring Reminders

"Colonel Fitzwilliam's manners were very much admired at the parsonage, and the ladies all felt that he must add considerably to the pleasure of their engagements at Rosings. It was some days, however, before they received any invitation thither...and it was not till Easter-day, almost a week after the gentlemen's arrival, that they were honoured by such an attention, and then they were merely asked on leaving church to come there in the evening." Thus Jane Austen describes Elizabeth Bennet's Easter in Pride and Prejudice. Fortunately, the acknowledged pleasure of a conversation with Colonel Fitzwilliam about music--and the unacknowledged pleasure of a verbal fencing match with Mr. Darcy--are more than adequate evening rewards for having had to sit through Mr. Collins's Easter sermon in the morning!

A very happy Easter, late Passover, and spring to all CNY Janeites. First, there's some spring news about publications from the national JASNA organization. Persuasions No. 31--this year's edition of the hard-copy journal that is a major benefit of JASNA membership--will be mailed to members in early May. In addition, Persuasions On-Line 30.2 can now be accessed through the JASNA national website ( This new edition of JASNA's electronic journal is a collection of papers from the "New Directions in Austen Studies" international conference held at Chawton House Library in summer 2009. The table of contents for Persuasions 31 can be viewed on as well--and if you've never looked at our "mother ship" website before, do pay a visit. You'll be glad you did.

Second, here are reminders of JASNA Syracuse's spring meetings. We do hope that all current JASNA members and would-be members in or near Binghamton will join us for our informational meeting this coming Saturday, April 10, at RiverRead Books on Court St. at 2:00 pm. See earlier posts and our "Events" listing for details; our guest musicians will be flutist Cheryl Spiese and keyboardist Charlene Thompson of the band Greenwood. And we equally hope that all current and would-be members in Syracuse and its suburbs will join us on Saturday, May 22, at Books & Memories on James St., also at 2:00 pm. Our topic there will be "In the Garden with Jane Austen" (again, see "Events" for details).

Finally, don't forget about the JASNA Traveling Lecturer's visit to Rochester on Saturday, April 17, at 11:00 am at the downtown Rochester Public Library. Professor Peter Graham of Virginia Tech will be speaking on "Jane Austen and the Labor of Leisure." There will be a $25 charge for this event, which includes lunch at the library's in-house branch of Simply Crepes. Registration for this event is open till April 14. If you're interested, go to the JASNA Rochester website ( for a registration form.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Happy Lady-Day!

Today, March 25, is what Jane Austen and her Regency contemporaries knew as "Lady-Day." In the Church of England calendar, it was (and still is) the feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary--that is, the day when the Angel Gabriel visited Mary to tell her that she was to become the mother of Christ. In the Regency calendar, it was one of the four "quarter days" on which important business was transacted. In particular--as Co-Coordinator Lisa Brown explained in Rochester on March 20, and will explain again in Binghamton on April 10--it was the day of the agricultural new year, and accordingly the day on which farm workers either renewed their contracts with their employers or sought new ones.

It was also the date of at least one important financial transaction in the Austen family. On December 9, 1808, Jane Austen wrote to her sister Cassandra that "my Uncle and Aunt [James and Jane Leigh Perrot, Mrs. George Austen's brother and sister-in-law] are going to allow James [the oldest Austen son] 100 pounds a year....The Hundred a year begins next Ladyday." In retrospect, we might well ask ourselves whether the wealthy Leigh Perrots couldn't have allotted the 100 pounds a year to Jane and Cassandra, who arguably needed the money even more than James and his family. However, as Jane herself expressed no open resentment on the occasion, let us as her 21st-century admirers try not to express any.

And if you'd like to learn more about the Regency "quarter days" and "cross-quarter days," do come to the JASNA Syracuse meeting at RiverRead Books, 5 Court St., Binghamton, on Saturday, April 10, at 2:00 PM. Regency history? Information about joining JASNA? Live English country dance music? The company of your fellow Janeites? Who could resist?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Whatever Shall I Wear?

Co-coordinator Lisa Brown reprises her popular workshop on assembling a Regency wardrobe on Sunday, March 7 at 5:00 pm in Rochester at the Friends Meeting House at 84 Scio St. Learn how to tie a cravat, choose a dress pattern, curl on ostrich feather and much more. A savory tea (optional) will be served during the presentation for a cost of $5.00.

Ball Dress from 1815

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

"Pride and Prejudice" at Skaneateles High School

Late-breaking news: "The Skaneateles High School Drama Program will present Jane Austen’s romantic comedy Pride and Prejudice March 4, 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Skaneateles High School. For tickets, call 291-2296. Tickets cost $7 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens. All of the wit and romance of Jane Austen's classic 1813 novel comes to life in this refreshingly fast-paced and engaging new adaptation by renowned producer and director Jon Jory."

This much is from the Skaneateles Central School District website--but your Regional Coordinator has also just learned that Hana Polacek (one of the Young Ladies from Joanna Manring's Jane Austen Singing School for Young Ladies) will be playing Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Yours truly is going to try to catch one of the performances this weekend for this reason alone, and encourages all CNY Janeites who can manage it to do the same!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Spring Plans for JASNA Syracuse

Weary of our winter weather? Don't despair; spring is coming--and the JASNA Syracuse Region is making plans for it!

First, we'll be holding another of our informational meetings on Saturday, April 10, at 2:00 PM--this time at RiverRead Books, 5 Court Street, Binghamton ( Your Regional Coordinator will present information about JASNA and membership in JASNA. Then, as this meeting's example of "what we talk about when we talk about Jane Austen," Co-Coordinator Lisa Brown will discuss the "quarter days" on which Austen and her Regency contemporaries would have conducted various business matters: Michaelmas (Sept. 29), Christmas, Lady Day (March 25), and Midsummer (June 24). Finally, as a special treat, two Binghamton-area country dance musicians will favor us with a few tunes!

Then on Saturday, May 22, also at 2:00 PM, we'll be hosting a second meeting at Books and Memories, 2600 James Street, Syracuse. This meeting's topic will be "In the Garden with Jane Austen" (and we'll certainly be referring to the splendid book with that title by longtime JASNA national member Kim Wilson). We'll look at pictures of the beautifully restored garden at Jane Austen's Hampshire home, Chawton Cottage; talk a little about Regency-era gardening fashions and trends; and share some garden-related passages from the novels (attendees should plan to bring their favorites!).

JASNA Traveling Lecturer to Visit Rochester

Our sister region, JASNA Rochester, will be having a special meeting on Saturday, April 17, at 11:00 AM. Professor Peter Graham of Virginia Tech University, one of the national JASNA organization's three Traveling Lecturers for 2010, will be speaking on "Jane Austen and the Labor of Leisure." The presentation, which is funded in part by a JASNA Traveling Lecturer grant, will be held at the Rundel Auditorium in the Downtown Rochester Public Library, and will be followed by lunch at the library's in-house branch of the Simply Crepes restaurant. There will be a $25 charge for the event, but in your Syracuse coordinators' opinion, it should be well worth it. A registration form is available at the new JASNA Rochester website (see the "Links" list at right).

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dance Like Elizabeth and Darcy

Have you ever wanted to dance like Emma and Mr. Knightley, Catherine and Henry Tilney or Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy? Here's your chance to learn how. No partner needed. Lots of fun in a low pressure atmosphere.

Dance Classes in Rochester

English Country dance classes begin. 3:30 – 5 pm at the Friends Meeting House.

Beginner sessions Feb. 14, 21, 28 & Mar. 7 will teach the basics of English figures and style in the context of simple dances. Newcomers are urged to attend all of these. Ball Preparation sessions continue Mar. 14, 21, 28 and Apr. 11, 18 & 25, offering a chance to learn & practice dances that will be done at the Jane Austen Ball on May 2 – strongly recommended for Ball registrants who don’t dance regularly. $5 per class or $40 for all ten.

Monday, February 15, 2010

"Lovers' Vows" Review

The staged reading of the 1798 Elizabeth Inchbald play Lovers' Vows at the Colgate Bookstore in Hamilton on Saturday, February 13, was a highly enjoyable event for cast and audience alike. Members of the Colgate Jane Austen Book Club and JASNA Syracuse (there is some happy overlap between these two groups!), plus several brave members of the local public, read the roles.

Heather Elia played the tragically wronged heroine, Agatha Friburg, with suitable gasps, moans, and swoons. Karen Kawa was brave and martial as Agatha's illegitimate son, Frederick, and Clara Lantz played Agatha's repentant seducer and Frederick's father, Baron Wildenhaim. Nadia Vedder was a properly pert Amelia, the Baron's legitimate daughter; Theodore Ayoub III played the clergyman Anhalt, Amelia's former tutor and present object of affection, who also assists in resolving Agatha's and the Baron's dilemma. Among the minor characters, Deborah Knuth Klenck distinguished herself in all the roles Tom Bertram plans to enact in the Mansfield Park production of the play, particularly the Cottager and the rhyming butler, Verdun. Signe Weaver also provided comic relief as Cottager's Wife, and three courageous members of the audience (April, Clarence, and a gentleman whose name your Regional Coordinator didn't catch) took on several minor roles in Act I at very short notice. Finally, yours truly (A. Marie Sprayberry) played Count Cassel, Amelia's conceited, foppish suitor.

Below, Anhalt describes the nature of good versus bad marriage to Amelia. (A local daughter and mother, members of the audience, look on at right.)

Next, Agatha prepares to spurn a purse of gold sent by the Baron to relieve her financial distress (she misinterprets it as an attempt to buy her off). Three dollars' worth of pennies tied up in a cloth napkin makes a very satisfactory "thunk" when it hits the floor, incidentally! Frederick is at right.

Finally, Cottager's Wife and Cottager debate the propriety of accepting the gold. (The practicality of Cottager's Wife carries the day!)

And for those of us who just can't get enough Austen-related acting this month, remember that JASNA Rochester will be doing a reading of "The Trial of William Walter Elliot" from the JASNA Script Bank this coming Saturday, February 20 (see "Events" at right for details).

P.S. The Colgate student newspaper has also reviewed the presentation ( And Deborah Knuth Klenck has identified the helpful spectator who played the Countryman in Act I as E. Adger Williams.

Monday, February 8, 2010

"Lovers' Vows" for Valentine's Weekend

The Colgate Bookstore Jane Austen Book Club will be hosting a dramatic reading of Lovers' Vows at the Bookstore (3 Utica St., Hamilton, NY) this Saturday, February 13, at 2 p.m. Lovers' Vows, of course, is the play the young Bertrams and Crawfords choose for their home theatrical performance in Mansfield Park, to Fanny Price's horror and to the ultimate detriment of several budding relationships. The play was freely adapted by the English actress Elizabeth Inchbald from the German play Das Kind der Liebe (The Child of Love) by August von Kotzebue. Members of the Colgate JABC, JASNA Syracuse, and the local public will read the parts (there are still some openings; call 315-228-6944 if interested in volunteering). The performance is free, refreshments will be served, and a fine melodramatic time should be had by all. Your Regional Coordinator is particularly looking forward to donning a pink and blue cloak and playing the part of Count Cassel, with his well-known two-and-forty speeches! Do plan to attend.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Special Anniversary--and a Reminder

On January 28, 1813, Pride and Prejudice was first published in London. Jane Austen wrote excitedly to her sister, Cassandra, on the 29th, "I want to tell you that I have got my own darling Child from London." With both Cassandra and their housemate Martha Lloyd away from Chawton, Jane and her mother invited Miss Mary Benn--the impoverished spinster sister of the rector of a nearby village--over to hear them read half of the first volume, without telling her of its authorship. Jane reported that "She was amused, poor soul!" As Claire Tomalin says in her biography of Jane Austen, "Just for once in her life...Miss Benn was the luckiest person in the kingdom."

And here's a reminder that to commemorate the anniversary of the "darling Child's" publication, JASNA Syracuse will be holding a meeting at Books and Memories, 2600 James Street, Syracuse, on Saturday, February 6, at 2 p.m. We'll be talking not only about P&P itself, but about the vast number of sequels/retellings/etc. in various media it has inspired; come prepared to discuss! For those new to JASNA, we'll also be providing information about how to join.

Please contact Regional Coordinator A. Marie Sprayberry ( or 315-446-7787) if you need directions to Books and Memories. Unfortunately, parking on James Street itself is limited and metered. We recommend parking on Woodbine Avenue (the bookstore is on the corner of James and Woodbine); please observe alternate-side parking on Woodbine.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

New "Emma" Starts Tonight on PBS

Although we suspect that most Janeites won't need a reminder about this, the new four-part miniseries of Emma will begin airing tonight at 9 p.m. on PBS Masterpiece (WCNY-TV in the Syracuse area). The first two parts will be shown tonight, the third on January 31, and the fourth on February 7. We'll try to allow some time at the Feb. 6 JASNA Syracuse "Candlemas" meeting for reactions to the first three parts. (See "Events" at right for meeting details; we'll put up a reminder post with more details closer to the date.) Or drop us a comment about the miniseries below!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy Twelfth-day!

Many years after Jane Austen's death, a young friend of her nephew James-Edward Austen-Leigh recalled "being at a Twelfth-day party where Jane Austen drew the character of Mrs. Candour, and assumed the part with great spirit." (Mrs. Candour was a gossipy character in Richard Brinsley Sheridan's play The School for Scandal.) Wouldn't we all have loved to see this particular party skit, enacted on this day over 200 years ago?

Happy Twelfth-day, everyone!