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!