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 Jane Austen Society of North America - New Mexico Region

Here we will provide links to announcements from JASNA Headquarters. If appropriate we will also discuss the information in the links.

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JASNA Update

Good God! . . . Jane actually on the point of going as governess!    


Sitting with Jane

The town of Basingstoke, Hampshire, is preparing to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death next year with a public art trail featuring 25 Austen-themed "BookBenches." The art initiative will celebrate Austen's life and her connections to Basingstoke and nearby Steventon.

"The House that Jane Built" BookBench,
Jane Veveris Callan (2016)

Local professional artists have been invited to submit design ideas, and Jane Veveris Callan has already painted the first bench, titled "The House that Jane Built." When asked about her inspiration for the design, Callan said, "I have always loved dolls' houses and as Jane Austen's stories epitomise life in Regency England, I thought a doll's house decorated and furnished in the Regency style would illustrate her world in a fun way. The dolls in the house are imagined as typical characters in her books."

 LearLearn M

For more photos, visit the Sitting with Jane Facebook page.

"A History of Royal Food and Feasting":  A Free Online Course  


Do you have a craving to learn more about the foods and dining practices enjoyed by the Tudor, Georgian, and Victorian royal houses? FutureLearn is offering a free, online course that will explore these topics and more through a series of articles, videos, and recipes prepared by historians, curators, and food scientists from the University of Reading and Historic Royal Palaces. The class will begin October 31 and will run for five weeks.



2016 Annual Memberships Expired on August 31


Many thanks to those of you who have already renewed. If you have not yet paid dues for the new membership year, please do so now to ensure that your benefits continue uninterrupted. You may either send a check with the renewal form you received in the mail or log in to JASNA's Member Portal and follow the instructions on the welcome page for renewing online. Please contact membership@jasna.org if you have any questions or need assistance logging in to the Member Portal.

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Applications now being accepted for the 2017 IVP grant; Special pre-AGM session slated for Oct. 19 in DC 


As reported last month, applications for the 2017 International Visitor Program Grant are being accepted now through December 15, 2016. And we have more news. If you are thinking about applying and will be going to the AGM later this month, you may want to attend a special information session for potential applicants on Wednesday, October 19, at 4:30 pm. You will be able to meet with former International Visitors and learn about the program, their projects and insights, and the application process. Not able to attend the session? Information about the program and the application process is already available on the JASNA website.

From the Persuasions Archive

"Eyeing Mrs. Elton: Learning Through Pastiche"

Diana Birchall reminds us in her article "Eyeing Mrs. Elton: Learning Through Pastiche" (Persuasions On-Line, V.30, No.2, Spring 2010), that Bristol was, in Austen's day, a major port in the slave trade and that Emma was written a few years after the abolition.


Mrs. Elton, née Augusta Hawkins, would have grown up in Bristol at a time when ideas, anti-abolitionist and also feminist, were circulating there. These ideas would have been vital topics of discussion during her formative years.


Bristol Harbor ca. 1850
(Bristol Record Office, CC BY-SA 3.0)

By the time Emma opens, Bristol is becoming anxious to dissociate itself from its history, and Mrs. Elton is more than happy to escape the stigma of the city's past by marrying a clergyman she meets in Bath. However, Birchall believes readers would be wrong to conclude that Mr. Hawkins actually made his fortune from the slave trade. True, Mrs. Elton's father left her a tidy fortune of £10,000, but such a sum is modest compared to the enormous wealth accumulated by those profiteering from slavery.

Other writers, such as Mary Deforest, take the contrary view, reminding us that it was Sir John Hawkins who introduced the slave trade to Britain. Deforest believes the pairing of Bristol and the name Hawkins would have been unmistakable clues for readers in Austen's time as to the truth of Mrs. Elton's family history.

Region News

JASNA is pleased to welcome a new regional group in Florida! On Oct. 3 the Orlando Region became the Society's 76th regional group and its 5th in Florida. Sandy Elder has been elected Regional Coordinator, and the group already boasts 18 enthusiastic members! For more information about the new region and its meetings, please email Sandy at mimolou@aol.com.

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JASNA members are travelers. If you will be vacationing or spending time at a second home this winter, you might want to participate in some of the great activities our Regions have planned. 

A Jane Austen Snippet

Emma "could not be satisfied without a dinner at Hartfield for the Eltons." After that dinner the following conversation takes place between Jane Fairfax and Mrs. Elton. 

     "When I am quite determined as to the time, I am not at all afraid of being long unemployed. There are places in town, offices, where inquiry would soon produce something - Offices for the sale - not quite of human flesh - but of human intellect."

    "Oh! my dear, human flesh! You quite shock me; if you mean a fling at the slave-trade, I assure you Mr. Suckling was always rather a friend to the abolition."

    "I did not mean, I was not thinking of the slave-trade," replied Jane; "governess-trade, I assure you, was all that I had in view; widely different certainly as to the guilt of those who carry it on; but as to the greater misery of the victims, I do not know where it lies." 

-Emma, Vol. II, Chapter XVII

The image used in this month's banner is Victorian, but the mood it conveys is evocative of the "misery of the victims" of the "governess-trade."  The painting is The Governess by Richard Redgrave (1844), © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.