The Jane Austen Summer Program pop quiz (or, what you need to know about JASP)

By Jennifer Abella

Tomorrow is the big day, folks — when we open registration for the 2017 program! If you’re thinking about joining us this year or thinking about coming back, here’s a little True/False FYI about this year’s JASP.

1. We’re turning 5 this year.

trueThis summer will be five years since we gathered in North Carolina to discuss “Pride & Prejudice.” Every year we discuss one of Austen’s novels in depth: Since “P&P” we’ve also studied “Sense & Sensibility” (2014), “Emma” (2015) and “Mansfield Park” (2016).


2. The Jane Austen Summer Program is only for scholars.

falseThe Jane Austen Summer Program is open to Austen fans and scholars alike, so you don’t need to know a lot about Austen or her novels to attend. If Bronte’s more your thing but you wanted to branch out, that’s cool! If you study Austen for work or have been reading her since you were a teenager, you’re welcome too. We have a mix of returning attendees and new participants, so you’re sure to meet plenty of people with at least one thing in common: their love for Austen.

3. We’re celebrating the 200th anniversary of “Persuasion.”

true2017 is the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s novel, as well as her death in 1817. We’ll be reading the Penguin classics edition of “Persuasion,” so everyone can easily reference page numbers, etc., but you can read any copy of the book you want. There are even free versions online.

4. You’re stuck in a classroom all day.

falseThe program isn’t just about sitting in rooms all day. Past symposiums have included rare-book exhibits (featuring first-edition copies of Austen’s novels), whist workshops, craft projects, pub crawls and excursions to historic homes and buildings.

5. The Jane Austen Summer Program has a ball.

trueOur summer program isn’t complete without its annual ball, held in historic Gerrard Hall on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. And don’t worry: Sure, some people dress in their Regency costumes — but that doesn’t mean you have to. You don’t have to dress up in Regency costumes to attend the ball, as long as you’re comfortable and can dance.

6. You’re on your own for dance lessons.

falseYou know those ball scenes you see in the Jane Austen film adaptations? You can learn those — “The Savage Dance,” “Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot,” “Duke of Kent’s Waltz” and more — at the optional dance lessons we offer. The lessons are geared toward beginners — but you’re sure to be within an arm’s reach of someone who knows the steps.

7. There’s not much to gain from the program.  

falseThe best thing about the program is the countless prisms through which we can study Austen. Past panels have included makeup and fashion (“Emma”), mourning in the Regency era (“Sense & Sensibility”), film adaptations (“Pride & Prejudice”) and even pugs in art and Regency astronomy (“Mansfield Park”). What do we have in store for “Persuasion”? We’ll release our schedule soon, but it’ll be packed with intriguing topics. Our small-group discussions are the perfect place to talk about the panels and learn from one another. Guided by graduate students and scholars, the groups are welcoming to everyone.  

8. Teachers are VIPs here.

trueIf you’re a teacher, you’re in luck! Teachers get continuing-education credits and a discount registration fee. Plus, we offer scholarships! Look for scholarship information soon.


REGISTER HERE — and we’ll see you in June!

About Jennifer Abella

Jennifer Abella is a TV/movie/pop culture/knitting/sewing/Jane Austen geek. Oh, and a total Anglophile. Follow her on Twitter: @nextjen.

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