Jane Austen society holds yearly celebration in New York(Read article summary)
Activities at the annual gathering included a workshop on how Regency women dressed and a talk by scholar Cornel West on human misfortune in Austen's works.
More than 700 people came to the event, which lasted three days at a Marriott hotel. One session included a lecture on how women would have dressed in Austen‚Äôs day, an appropriate topic considering many of the conference participants were dressed in Regency gowns and hats.
One attendee, Goucher College associate professor Juliette Wells, said the first time she came to the meeting she was taken aback by the level of fandom exhibited by the JASNA members.
‚ÄúWhen I first came, as a graduate student, I was kind of freaked out by the level of ardor,‚ÄĚ said Wells, who wrote a study of Austen in pop culture titled ‚ÄúEverybody‚Äôs Jane,‚ÄĚ in an interview with The New York Times. ‚ÄúI wasn‚Äôt sure if I would come back.‚ÄĚ But JASNA, she said, ‚Äúhas been very good to me.‚ÄĚ
Lecturers included writer Anna Quindlen, who decried those who pigeonhole Austen as ‚Äúchick lit,‚ÄĚ and professor and writer Cornel West, who discussed Austen‚Äôs comprehension of people‚Äôs misfortunes.
West Virginia University professor Marilyn Francus, who spoke about finances in Austen‚Äôs works, said she is always impressed by the level of knowledge exhibited by Austen fans. When she brought up the question of how everyone in the neighborhood knows protagonist Fitzwilliam Darcy‚Äôs income in "Pride and Prejudice," one person in the audience informed her that inheritance information sometimes ran in newspapers at that time, while another volunteered the information that men of that era would occasionally record their income so they could get credit.
‚ÄúI learn so much from these people,‚ÄĚ Francus told The New York Times. ‚ÄúI would never dare condescend to a JASNA audience.‚ÄĚ