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.

Announcing our new free library program: Jane Austen & Co.

By Garland Reiman

Starting up this summer, the Jane Austen Summer Program will offer another way to immerse local readers in the culture of Regency England: a free “Jane Austen & Co.” discussion series in partnership with Durham public libraries. The first event — titled “Austen & Co.: Games and Play in Austen’s England” — is July 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the South Regional Library, 4505 S. Alston Ave., Durham. It will include a short talk on Regency parlor games using archival materials and references to Austen’s books. Future events will focus on different texts and introduce readers to lesser-known works by Austen as well as those by other women who were writing at the time (such as Ann Radcliffe and Maria Edgeworth). The programs, held at various area libraries, will feature a discussion, followed by engagement with archival materials from the time period.

“We are really excited to start offering new programming beyond our summer symposium,” says Anne Fertig, a graduate teaching fellow at the UNC Department of English and Comparative Literature who will lead the July 15 program. “Jane Austen & Co. will increase access and engagement with important female authors and history. Hopefully through our public outreach, we can create new fans of Jane Austen and her contemporaries.”

Find more information about the program here.

This just in: The latest Jane Austen Summer Program updates

We here at the Jane Austen Summer Program are busy prepping for next month’s symposium, and we have got a lot of JASP news to share with you. So sit back and let us catch you up:

Creative writing workshop

my-post-53.jpg[UPDATE: We have a few spots open for this workshop; sign up here.] New this year, the creative writing workshop will focus on creating new content with an emphasis on writing adaptations. The workshop — led by Professor Randall Kenan of UNC’s creative writing program, Eleanor Griggs of the UNC Department of English and Comparative Literature, and guest author Soniah Kamal — will incorporate prompts and activities that correlate to adapting Austen to a modern audience. Participants do not need to bring any previous writing. No previous writing experience is required, and sharing is always optional. 

— Garland Rieman

The reticule and shoe roses Friday workshop

There are a handful of spaces left for Friday’s Reticule & Shoe Roses workshop in which participants will make their own shoe decorations and purse to go with their outfits for the Regency ball. What are shoe roses? In the 17th century, shoe roses were a popular form of ornamentation used to dress up, well, your shoes — usually considered the least exciting part of an ensemble. Typically, shoe roses were made of ribbons twisted into a rosette or gathered into a large blossom, and could be expensive, depending on the materials used to create them. A reticule is a small women’s handbag, originally netted and typically having a drawstring. Decorated with embroidery or beading, the reticule would match a woman’s shoe roses and dress. This workshop — Friday, June 21 from 12:30 to 2 p.m. — requires extra fees; sign up here. (Please note: There is a waitlist for our hair and shoe roses workshop on Saturday; join it here.)  

— Garland Rieman

Afternoon tea

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There are still spots available for our traditional English afternoon tea. Served for the second year in a row in the beautiful Old Well Room at the historic Carolina Inn, this year’s tea features four courses, including cucumber and watercress tea sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches, chicken salad phyllo cups, scones with assorted jams and clotted cream, rose orange macaroons, pie bites, tarts, sponge cake, chocolate cake, as well as earl gray and breakfast tea.

The tea is Sunday, June 23, from 2:30 to 5 p.m. To register for the tea, click here. For directions to the Carolina Inn (where our group will also receive free valet parking),  click here.

— Ashley Oldham


Please note that this year’s self-guided Austen-themed tour at the Ackland Art Museum has been canceled. However, you can still view our rare-book exhibit at Wilson Library on Thursday, June 20, from 11 to 2:30 p.m. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more information about our Wilson exhibit.

— Garland Rieman

Pub crawl

Pub Crawl (1).pngGet to know your fellow JASP-ers outside of the conference hotel during our pub crawl. Spots are still available for the event, set for Friday, June 21, beginning at 9 p.m. We’ll have special themed cocktails at three local bars, so make sure to sign up soon! One bar is $15; two, $20; three, $40.  

— Jennifer Abella

Theatrical update

Our theatrical is a highlight every year. This year, we’re presenting “Love and Friendship.” Here’s a note from writer Adam McCune: Like “Pride and Prejudice,” Austen’s “Love and Friendship” features a bold heroine who defies the older generation by pursuing a love match rather than following the conventions of rank and wealth — but unlike Lizzy, the heroine of “Love and Friendship” comes across as impractical and even unethical.

In this rollicking parody poking fun at the heroes and heroines of popular novels, young couples marry strangers, scorn the most reasonable requests of their families, go recklessly into debt (and debtor’s prison), meet with ludicrous tragedies, and faint upon the slightest provocation.

The theatrical is Friday, June 21, at 7:30 p.m. Don’t miss it!

— Jennifer Abella


Look back on your sure-to-be-awesome time at JASP with one of our souvenir T-shirts, which are locally silk-screened. They’re available for preorder ($20) on our registration page; they can be picked up on-site in June. Here’s a sneak peek at the shirts!

— Jennifer Abella

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Book giveaway winners

Congratulations to our registration giveaway winners! The following will receive the “The Jane Austen Diet” by Bryan Kozlowski: Ashley Honaker, Karen Field, Merrill Bell, Ruth Grant and Michele Beach. You’ll receive your books at JASP.

— Jennifer Abella

Five things to know about hunting in the Regency era

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Shooting, hunting and fishing regularly drew gentlemen from town to the country in Jane Austen’s day. Here are five things to know about those pursuits in the Regency era:

  1. If you wanted to go hunting with dogs or guns, here’s hoping you had money. Generally, hunting was limited to the landed gentry who owned property worth more than 100 pounds a year or leased land worth more than 150 pounds a year.
  2. By 1801, more than 8 million people in England lived on 32 million acres, according to the census. But 80 to 90 percent of that land belonged to aristocracy or landed gentry.
  3. So to hunt, you had to either own the land, or be invited to hunt on the land by the owner. Poachers beware: You could expect severe punishment if caught — including sometimes deportation or, gulp, hanging. In 1831, Britain’s hunting laws were loosened so that anyone with a permit could hunt game birds, rabbits and hares.
  4. Pheasant shooting began about Oct. 1 (British laws state hunting cannot begin on Sundays). Fox-hunting began around the same time, usually by November, depending on the weather. Most hunting was a way to control animal populations, and most hunts resulted in food (except for fox-hunting) for the owner and for neighbors. So hunting — and sharing the catch — was a good way to forge ties in the community.
  5. Two of Jane’s brothers hunted. James hunted foxes in Hampshire, and Henry did his shooting at Godmersham. There are some conflicting reports about Edward: According to niece Caroline Austen, Edward never really cared about hunting or shooting. Jane, however, once wrote that Edward is “out every morning either shooting or with the harriers.”

Sources: “Jane Austen’s England,” Roy & Lesley Adkins; “Jane Austen’s Country Life,” Deirdre Le Faye; “A Visitor’s Guide to Jane Austen’s England,” Sue Wilkes; Jane Austen Centre