All posts by Jennifer Abella

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.

Dressing for our masquerade ball

If you’re rooting around in your closet and fretting that you have nothing to wear to our ball, have no fear: Inger Brodey and Tobin Freid are here with dresses and accessories you can rent once arrive at JASP. *

We have more than 40 dresses in various sizes (many are handmade so traditional sizes aren’t relevant), as well as gloves, reticules, hats and a limited stock of men’s clothes. For a suggested donation, plus a $10 cleaning fee, you can be dressed to the nines for the ball. Renting a dress can be a great low-cost/low-risk way to immerse yourself in Regency fashion.

And if you haven’t heard, our Regency do is different this year: In honor of “Frankenstein” and “Northanger Abbey,” we’ll be holding a masquerade ball. Yes, you read that right.

Untitled design (6)“The gothic literature that both Jane Austen and Mary Shelley read highlighted the licentious dangers of Italian traditions such as carnival and associated masquerades,” Brodey says.

In England, public masquerades in England were waning in the 1800s, but they still occurred in private, particularly in honor of Twelfth Night.  (“There is a fun letter from Martha Lloyd describing how they dressed Jane up as a ‘Gypsy’ for a similar event,” Brodey says.)

Our masquerade ball means that, in a sense, people will be doubly in disguise: Those who are in costume will be impersonating Regency people playing dress-up in the costumes they might have chosen at the time.  (“We do hope no one will imitate Lady Chudleigh—who made all the tabloids by appearing as ‘Eve’ at a masked ball,” Brodey says.)

For the ball, we’ve acquired 10 to 15 costumes, such as jester, Roman soldier, knight, king and Renaissance lady, that might have appeared at the time. In addition, we’ll have 10 to 15 more costumes that are more ambiguous.

No masked ball is complete without, well, masks. At JASP you’ll have a chance to buy masks, or you can make your own at our mask workshop ($20 fee; spaces are still available!), where participants will work with costume historian and milliner Dannielle Perry to create their our own.

Click here to find more about the history of masquerade balls and tips for men and women on dressing for the ball.

* Costumes and Regency clothing are NOT required for the ball. Some attendees wear Regency-inspired (empire-waist) dresses, summer dresses or light clothing. Just make sure you’re comfortable: It WILL get warm as the hall gets crowded and people get moving on the dance floor.

Introducing our 2018 Jane Austen Summer Program teacher scholars

Each year we offer scholarships to  North Carolina teachers who express a desire to learn more about Jane Austen and aim to incorporate her works into their classroom. We’re happy to announce this year’s winners. Plus: This year, thanks to a partnership with Oxford University Press, we’ve expanded our scholarship program to include two out-of-state educators. Congratulations to our 2018 JASP scholars!

Brittany Bishop

School: North Rowan Middle School, Spencer
Subject: 6th- and 7th-grade English/language arts
Favorite book:  “White Oleander” by Janet Fitch
What are you hoping to get out of JASP? I expect to get chance to delve deeper into previously unknown to me aspects of Jane Austen’s writing and its connection to Gothic literature. I relish the thought of interacting with fellow enthusiasts, and more than that,  I expect to find new and innovative ways to bring my knowledge back to my classroom. I appreciate so much the chance to study and interact with my colleagues on an academic level.

Caitlin Donovan

School: Durham School of the Arts, Durham
Subject: 9th- and 10th-grade English I and II
Favorite book: “The Princess Bride” by William Goldman
What are you hoping to get out of JASP? I desire to grow as an educator with experiential learning I can emulate in my classroom; ultimately, I hope to kindle an authentic love of lady writers and prove that Goth(ic) is not a phase!

Evette Hagan

School: West Caldwell High School, Lenoir
Subject: English IV (British literature), AP English Literature, and Composition
Favorite book: I don’t think I can choose an absolute favorite book, but one that has meant a lot to me, and to which I return frequently, is “The Little Prince,” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
What are you hoping to get out of JASP? I am excited to attend JASP and have the opportunity to meet other teachers, readers, and scholars who share a love for great literature. I hope to come away from the program with renewed energy and lesson ideas for my classroom and my lessons. I am especially excited that the program focuses on works which I can teach in my senior classes.

Anita M. Rubino-Thomas

School: Currituck County High School, Barco
Subject: 9th- through 12th-grade visual arts
Favorite book: My favorite book from Jane Austen would be “Persuasion.” A couple of other favorites would be Salman Rushdie’s “Haroun and the Sea of Stories” and Neil Gaiman’s “The Ocean at the End of the Lane.”
What are you hoping to get out of JASP? My hopes for the summer program are that I am able to dig deeper into “Northanger Abbey,” incorporating ideas, concepts and themes into unit work I currently do on “Frankenstein.” I love that this year’s program is making connections between the two literary works and I believe the connections will not only reinforce current objectives, but also allow me to look at the work through another lens and create new connections with the objectives.

Kelsey Shea

School: Enloe High School, Raleigh
Subject: 11th- and 12th-grade social studies/history
Favorite book: “Pride and Prejudice”
What are you hoping to get out of JASP? I’m hoping to develop a stronger understanding of the novels and their history. I’m also looking forward to having time to develop cross-curricular lessons with the other teachers and seeing some examples of projects they’ve done in the past.

Oxford University Press scholars

Carissa Bussard

School: Happy Camp High School, Happy Camp, Calif.
Subject: 9th- through 12th-grade English/Spanish
Favorite book: “Wuthering Heights,” but my favorite Austen novel is “Sense and Sensibility” or “Persuasion.”
What are you hoping to get out of JASP? I am hoping to learn how to incorporate these texts into a modern high school setting. I love reading classic novels (well, reading as a whole), and I teach in a school that is extremely low socioeconomically. Last year I began taking students to the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Ore., and they absolutely love the experience. They are growing a love of literature, but it definitely is a struggle getting through the language and rhetoric at times. I would like to learn how I might be able to bring 200 years of horror into a modern context that they will enjoy.

Elaine Dasher

School: Sequoyah High School, Canton, Ga.
Subject: 12th-grade AP English Literature and Composition, and British Literature and Composition
Favorite book: One of my favorite books is “Anagrams” by Lorrie Moore. I also love “Written on the Body” by Jeanette Winterson.
What are you hoping to get out of JASP? I’m looking forward to encountering Jane Austen and Mary Shelley together and finding places they intersect. I’m particularly interested in how what they read impacted what they wrote.