What was writing paper like in Jane’s time? That was the question that Ruby Figueroa of the Minnesota Center for Book Arts answered in her presentation on the hand papermaking process, highlighting what it would have been like in the early 1800's and the way we make paper by hand today. Ruby brought samples of handmade paper, pulp, and fibers, as well as the molds and deckles used to form sheets.
Apr 21 - English Country Dance Lesson
English country dances are elegant social dances from the 17th and 18th centuries, and figured prominently in Jane Austen's novels. Whether performed in public assembly rooms in Meryton or in private at the Netherfield Ball, dances offered social opportunities for people to mingle and converse in an acceptable fashion. If you know the difference between left and right, you already have much of the basic knowledge needed. And non-dancers found enjoyment within the social fabric of the dance hall.
May 12 - The Pleasures & Perils of Travel in Jane Austen's Time
Award-winning novelist and JASNA-MN member Julie Klassen presented highlights from her research into Regency-era travel, including the types of coaches (mail, stage, “post”), the colorful characters who drove and guarded them, and the quirky coaching inns along the routes, sharing fun and surprising history, anecdotes, and more.
Jun 9 - Victory and Poetry in Jane Austen's Persuasion
Persuasion isn't a pro-war novel but it is unsentimental about the role warfare plays in the maintenance and renewal of British elite groups. Brian Goldberg explored why Anne doesn't want Benwick reading Scott and Byron. It's not that she is generally opposed to "romance" over duty and discipline, but that Scott and Byron (especially in the poetry the novel directly names) treat war as perpetual, in some ways profitable, but finally destructive and futile (because no particular "victory" ever settles anything). Mature characters will do what they have to do and benefit as they can, but Anne fears that Benwick will be disabled if he understands too much, not too little, about his own situation as a British naval officer in 1814.
Jul 14 - Box Hill Picnic
JASNA-Minnesota hosted a Box Hill picnic at the University of Minnesota's Landscape Arboretum. The Arboretum has more than 1,200 acres of gardens and tree collections, prairie and woods, and miles of trails. As a premier northern garden, it's the perfect setting for this Emma inspired outdoor excursion.
Aug 11 - Movie Screening: Persuasion
Eight years earlier, Anne Elliot, the daughter of a financially troubled aristocratic family, was persuaded to break off her engagement to Frederick Wentworth, a young seaman, who, though promising, had poor family connections. When her father rents out the family estate to Admiral Croft, Anne is thrown into company with Frederick, because his sister is Mrs. Croft. Frederick is now a rich and successful Captain, and a highly eligible bachelor. Whom will he marry? One of Anne's sister's husband's sisters? Or will he and Anne rekindle the old flame? Make It a True Movie Watching Experience Casual clothing, a blanket or pillow to comfortably lounge, and your favorite movie snack are all encouraged.
Sep 8 - Circulating Libraries in Jane Austen's Time
Guest speaker Claire Bellanti provided a brief history of the circulating library, the development of the novel, publishing in the period, and the interactions between women and the novel. The talk included citations from Austen’s novels and letters to explain the importance of the circulating library and other forms of sharing books in Regency England.
Nov 10 - I'm Jane: a Conversation with Jane Austen
Jane visited with us at this, the most vibrant and hopeful time of her life. Her first three novels, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Mansfield Park are published, and Emma is complete. Drawing from her letters, juvenilia, and novels, this 45 minute performance delved into the personal life of one of the most beloved and intriguing novelists of the 19th century. Jane Austen spoke about her childhood in Steventon, her brothers and beloved sister Cassandra, and her writing. By the end of the presentation, the audience knew more about Miss Jane Austen the woman, as well as the author.
Dec 15 - The Afterlife of Austen’s Persuasion
We toasted Jane's 243rd birthday, and guest speaker Devoney Looser lead us on a delightful look at the era in which Austen first wrote, and the unsung pop-culture innovators who turned her into a household name.