Welcome to the Jane Austen Summer Program

Our next program — “Pride and Prejudice and Its Afterlives” — is June 20-23, 2019. Please check back later in the year for more information.

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Our 2018 program — “Northanger Abbey & Frankensten: 200 Years of Horror” — has concluded. Here is a recap of this year’s JASP.

Our 4-day symposium focuses on one of Austen’s works each summer. The Jane Austen Summer Program is designed to appeal to established scholars, high school teachers, graduate students, undergraduate students, and anyone with a passion for all things Austen.

HELP US WITH FUNDRAISING by donating items for our annual silent auction!

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SPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR TEACHERS: We offer 3 CEU credits and also discounts for middle and high school teachers.

WHAT PAST ATTENDEES HAVE SAID:

  • “JASP is one of the highlights of my year.”
  • “All the professors I met were so friendly and welcoming, so I never felt intimidated talking with such impressive scholars.”
  • “I have already told most of my friends to mark their calendars for next year.”

Read more comments.

Ranking Austen’s rogues

Is Wickham the worst in Jane Austen’s rogue gallery? Let’s compare him with the Austen’s other cads….

6. Frank Churchill, “Emma”churchill

The outgoing, charming son of Mr. Weston keeps his engagement to Jane Fairfax a secret all while misleading Emma. But although she was a little hurt by his actions, they don’t cause any real harm in the end.

thorpe5. John Thorpe, “Northanger Abbey”

This braggart loves carriages, horses, himself and … well, not much else. He stirs up trouble with General Tilney by planting the rumor that Catherine Morland is an heiress. But Thorpe is all talk and no action — and therefore not disastrous in the long run.

elliot4. Mr. Elliot, “Persuasion”

He schemes to get Anne to marry him and aims to keep Sir Walter Elliot from marrying Mrs. Clay so she won’t produce an heir to take away his fortune (such as it is, anyway). Ultimately his machinations come to nothing, and we never learn what became of him.

crawford.jpg3. Henry Crawford, “Mansfield Park”

Now we get to the heavy-hitters. In his first scene in the book, he is described as “ the most horrible flirt that can be imagined.” Although he seems to genuinely care for Fanny, after setting out deliberately to make her fall in love with him, he runs off with the married Maria Rushworth. Fanny made a wise decision not to fall for Henry’s antics.

wickham2. Wickham, “Pride & Prejudice”

Wickham, like most of the other bad dudes in Austen’s canon, can seemingly charm anyone — even Lizzy. But he tried to seduce Darcy’s teenage sister to get at Darcy’s money. And then ends up tarnishing the Bennet family name after running away with Lydia — and marrying her only after Darcy pays him off.  

willoughby.jpeg1. Willoughby, “Sense & Sensibility”

He beats out Wickham for a few reasons. First, his liaison with Col. Brandon’s ward results in a baby out of wedlock. Then Willoughby openly flirts with Marianne and quickly gets out of Dodge when his aunt lays down the law. Then he ends up marrying Miss Grey and her 50,000 pounds. Sure, he may actually love Marianne — but not enough to give up his wealth.

How would you rank Austen’s cads? Let us know!

The 4-1-1 on Cheapside

“I think I have heard you say that their uncle is an attorney in Meryton.”

“Yes; and they have another, who lives somewhere near Cheapside.”

“That is capital,” added her sister, and they both laughed heartily.

“If they had uncles enough to fill all Cheapside,” cried Bingley, “it would not make them one jot less agreeable.”

“But it must very materially lessen their chance of marrying men of any consideration in the world,” replied Darcy.

cheapsidemap

The London neighborhood of Cheapside is namechecked only twice in Pride and Prejudice, in one passage, but the brief reference holds a lot of information. 

Five things to know about Cheapside

  1. Cheapide is a London neighborhood that still exists today, beginning from about St. Pauls’ Cathedral to the Underground’s Bank station. (Mr. Gardiner’s Gracechurch Street is near Cheapside.)
  1. The name comes from the Old English word for “market.” It was designed as a bustling commercial center — and therefore not very genteel, according to Bingley’s sisters — with a wide main street and narrow exits. Sidestreets have simple names that denote what was sold there: Bread Street, Milk Street, Wood Street. They still exist today.
  1. Before the Great Fire of London of 1666, Cheapside was the center of the jewelry market. Much of the area was destroyed in the blaze.
  1. Tradition states that a Cockney isn’t a true Cockney unless they’re born within hearing distance of the bells of St. Mary-le-Bow Church in Cheapside.
  1. In 1912, workers tearing down buildings in the area made an important discovery. Under the floorboards in an old tenement at Cheapside and Friday streets, they found nearly 500 pieces of jewelry and loose gems dating back nearly 300 years. Most of the haul — known as the Cheapside Hoard — is kept at the Museum of London.

For more info, visit: hidden-london.com/gazetteer/cheapside/ and www.gia.edu/gems-gemology/fa13-cheapside-hoard-weldon.

‘Pride and Prejudice’: What critics said

critics (1).jpgJane Austen was (rightfully) proud of “Pride and Prejudice.” She called the novel “My own darling Child.” In one letter she said of Elizabeth Bennet: “I must confess that I think her as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print, & how I shall be able to tolerate those who do not like her at least, I do not know.”

But what did critics and other readers have to say about the novel? Read on.

The Critical Review, March 1813

“Although these young ladies claim a great share in the reader’s interest and attention, none calls forth our admiration so much as Elizabeth, whose archness and sweetness of manner render her a very attractive object in the family piece. … Many silly women as Mrs. Bennet may be found; and numerous parsons like Mr. Collins, who are every thing to every body; and servile in the extreme to their superiors. Mr. Collins is indeed a notable object. … There is not one person in the drama with whom we could readily dispense — they all have their proper places; and fill their several stations, with great credit to themselves, and much satisfaction to the reader.”

The British Critic, 1813

“We have perused these volumes with much satisfaction and amusement and entertain very little doubt that their successful circulation will induce the author to similar exertions.”


Readers

Mary Russell Mitford, 1814:

“The want of elegance is almost the only want in Miss Austen. … in every word of Elizabeth, the entire want of taste which could produce so pert, so worldly a heroine as the beloved of such a man as Darcy. … Darcy should have married Jane. He is of all the admirable characters the best designed and the best sustained.”

Mark Twain

“Everytime I read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ I want to dig [Austen] up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone,” Twain wrote in one letter to a friend.

Charlotte Brontë

 “I had not seen Pride and Prejudice till I had read that sentence of yours, and then I got the book. And what did I find? An accurate daguerrotyped [photographed] portrait of a commonplace face; a carefully fenced, highly cultivated garden, with neat borders and delicate flowers; but no glance of a bright vivid physiognomy, no open country, no fresh air, no blue hill, no bonny beck [stream]. I should hardly like to live with her ladies and gentlemen, in their elegant but confined houses.”

Anna Waterston
Waterston — an American reader in the 1850s — thought Darcy’s proposal to Lizzy was “one of the most remarkable passages in Miss Austen’s writings.”

Sources: Flavorwire, Deirdre Le Faye’s “Jane Austen: The World of Her Novels,” Juliette Wells’s “Reading Austen in America.”