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.

JASP 2019 attendees: Please fill out our survey!

If you attended the Jane Austen Summer Program last week and have not yet filled out a survey, please take a moment to tell us your thoughts. CLICK HERE FOR OUR SURVEY. Your input will help us make next year’s JASP even better. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for recaps and photographs of this year’s program (if you missed it, check out this story from UNC) — and look out later in the year for information on our 2020 program: “Jane Austen’s World,” on Austen’s letters and the Claire Tomalin biography “Jane Austen: A Life.”

Exhibit sneak peek: “Lost in Context: The Rise of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ in the Popular Imagination”

By Garland Rieman

Our rare-book exhibit at Wilson Library on Thursday, titled “Lost in Context: The Rise of Pride and Prejudice in the Popular Imagination,” aims to tell the story of “Pride and Prejudice” from a uniquely archival perspective. UNC-Chapel Hill graduate student Elizabeth Shand tackled the project at length by curating a number of firsthand sources that fill in what life was truly like during the Regency period and its reception in subsequent eras in England.

“I looked at sources that typify what we think of when we think of Austen – the dancing, the manners, the English countryside, etc.,” Shand says of her methodology. “And a number of original archival materials – such as a dancing booklet, a letter-writing manual, and a recipe book – showcase the aesthetics that are typically preserved in successive adaptations and editions.”

Shand’s collection of sources are key in showing the true nature of the gentry at the time Austen’s works were published. Shand was also able to compare the materials she found with “historical” interpretations of “Pride and Prejudice” in various adaptations over the years to see how well those adaptations stayed true to the period.

But Shand didn’t stop there; she took her research a step further, diving deep into the archives to look for any additional information about the time period that may have been overlooked in previous scholarship.

“I also wanted to look beyond the typical aesthetics of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ to remember the context that is often lost or forgotten,” Shand says. Eschewing the recycled context surrounding Austen’s novels, Shand’s collection aims to bring fresh perspectives and highlight fun new information to help bring Austen’s novel to life.

“Excitingly, we have a number of manuscript materials used by individuals from the 19th century,” Shand adds, ‘and even a doctor’s kit similar to the one that would have been used to attend to Jane Bennet when she fell ill at Netherfield!”

Items like these offer an immersive way to get a feel for the culture Austen highlights in her novels. In discussing the exhibit, Shand also notes how “Pride and Prejudice” in particular was received by the public in the years after Austen’s death, from the succeeding Victorian era to today.

“Austen’s legacy was inalterably changed in the 19th century to emphasize a sense of traditional domesticity,” Shand explains. “However, in my research, I also realized that what is typically left out of Austen’s popular image is her sardonic tone. Therefore, I included many items that are in conversation with her satirical edge.”

To fully color in how Austen’s works were received, Shand noted that several editions of “Pride and Prejudice” on display – including a first edition and a mid-20th-century edition designed for classroom use – help demonstrate how Austen’s cultural legacy has changed over 200 years.

“This year, we also purchased an item particular[ly] for the exhibit,” Shand says. “On display will be the first edition of ‘A Memoir of Jane Austen,’ published in 1870 by her nephew James Edward Austen-Leigh. This work is crucial, as the biography is typically seen as launching the modern fascination with Austen!”

Below, Shand gives us a sneak peek at a few of the items on display, along with her insight on the items she’s curated.

Jane Austen, “Pride and Prejudice.” Boston: Printed for the members of the Limited Editions Club at Merrymount Press, 1940. Rolan McClamroch Collection, The Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“This illustration from a 1940 edition of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ depicts a scene from Lydia’s imagination: multiple officers simultaneously flirting with her. I love this edition because of the odd choice in illustrations. Rather than depicting popular and well-known scenes, only passing allusions or obscure references are pictured.”

 James Beresford, The miseries of human life; or The groans of Samuel Sensitive, and Timothy Testy; with a few supplementary sighs from Mrs. Testy. In twelve dialogues; as overheard by James Beresford. London: Printed for William Miller, by J. Ballantyne, 1807. The Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

James Beresford, “The miseries of human life; or The groans of Samuel Sensitive, and Timothy Testy; with a few supplementary sighs from Mrs. Testy. In twelve dialogues; as overheard by James Beresford.” London: Printed for William Miller, by J. Ballantyne, 1807. The Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“Some past attendees may remember this item from JASP 2017 when penmanship expert Benjamin Bartgis used this hilarious work to contextualize the common annoyances of 18th-century letter writing. This year’s exhibit uses ‘The miseries of human life’ to contextualize some of the common annoyances of living in the country.”

Catherine Wood, née Hodson. “Gedge’s town and country ladies own memorandum book, or, Fashionable companion for the year 1794.” Bury St. Edmund’s: Printed by and for P. Gedge, [1793]. The Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“UNC has over 30 years of day-books with meticulous records kept by a woman named Catherine Wood. The woman lived during the same period as Austen and her heroines, and her day-books offer an incredible account of the daily life of a woman from youth through marriage and childbirth. Two of her day-books will be on display: one from her youth, concerned with tea, walks, and even a dance; and one from her adulthood that tracks the travels of her husband.”

EXHIBIT INFO: “Lost in Context: The Rise of Pride and Prejudice in the Popular Imagination” is Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Louis Round Wilson Library on the UNC campus. Find shuttle information here.

Garland Rieman is an intern with the Jane Austen Summer Program.


  1. If you still need to purchase any extras (workshops, T-shirts, etc.), you may do so on-site when you check in.
  2. If you are unable to go out for lunch on Friday or Saturday, or are in a workshop (like the shoe reticule workshop), you can purchase a boxed lunch. Click here to preorder — or you can order when you check in on-site next week.

Prepping for the JASP ball: Regency hairstyling

By Garland Rieman

PrintThe Jane Austen Summer Program is partnering with Chapel Hill’s Citrine Salon for a JASP first: a Regency hair workshop. Voted Chapel Hill Magazine’s Best of Chapel Hill salon four years in a row, Citrine aims to provide excellent service and sophisticated style no matter what look you’re going for — even if it’s one from the 1800s.

During our workshop, registered participants can have their hair styled in Regency Era fashion to wear to the ball later that evening. So what defines a hairstyle as from the Regency era? What even is that period, anyway?

The Regency era of England is a unique cultural timeframe between 1811 and 1820, when King George III was deemed unfit to rule due to illness and his son, the Prince Regent, was allowed to rule by proxy through several parliamentary acts until he eventually succeeded to the crown as King George IV.

The era was a fascinating albeit brief period in British history, and it can be seen even in the way women dressed and wore their hair. Taking place after the French Revolution and during the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo (1815), the era saw a distinct desire to avoid excessive ornamentation that could be reminiscent of the French aristocracy. As a result, thick powdered wigs, teased heights and a host of complex curls were deliberately left in the past. Instead, fashion houses looked to the simple sophistication of the Greek, Roman and Egyptian time periods for their inspiration.

Regency-portraitsHair was often worn in a full bun, which could be placed anywhere on the head as desired by the model, and could incorporate delicate braids, a bit of ribbon, or a small flower depending on the occasion. Longer hair could also be worn swept off the neck in a chic chignon, or even loosely curled over the shoulder, and kept in place with a modest silver hair comb for even more variety. A few tight ringlets placed on either side of the face were an almost guaranteed feature of any look, as they provided was an extra framing effect and a stronger association with the sought-after Greek goddess image.

regency curlers
Regency curlers

Curling hair during this time period could be somewhat of a misadventure — “curling tongs”, the antique equivalent to the modern curling iron, were in heavy use — although there was always the risk of a slight burn here and there. Curling papers were also used as an alternative, by which wet hair was coated in a gel or pomade, wrapped around paper strips, tied and secured close to the scalp until dry.

Fortunately, our stylists, while staying true to period styles, will be using modern methods throughout to achieve the perfect Regency hair.

Speaking of Citrine’s stylists, JASP is pleased to introduce Christy Combs, one of the Citrine stylists appearing during the workshop.

Christy (2)Christy is one of two junior stylists who just recently graduated from Citrine’s apprenticeship program. A huge fan of the dynamic energy that surrounds the hair industry, Christy is always looking for new ways to improve her style and technique. “I really like that the industry is constantly changing,” she notes, “and it’s nearly impossible to stay uninspired and stagnant as a stylist!” Christy is also a huge fan of literature and always has the best book recommendations, especially for summer. “I love to read,” she says, “and try to make time to relax with a book every day.”

More information about the salon can be found on its website, and photos of stylists’ work are posted to the salon’s Instagram page daily.

The hair workshop on Saturday, June 22, is FULL; join the waitlist here. For more about our ball — including DIY costumes for the ball, costume rentals and this year’s shoe policyclick here.