Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A Trip to JASNA AGM 2016 : Night 2


A Trip to JASNA AGM 2016 : Night 2

Saturday October 22: Banquet and Ball

After the breakout sessions, I returned "home" to my cousin's house to take a quick nap and get ready for the ball. I brought a costume with me. I could either afford a Regency era dress or the AGM but not both. Luckily, in my closet, I had a costume ready to go. A few years ago I purchased a boho style blouse and skirt at an Indian store nearby. The white embroidery on white cotton looked very much like a Georgian/Regency dress. I made it look more like a dress by adding a sky blue satin sash to match my reticule, shawl and ballet slipper shoes. I also replaced the modern plastic buttons with Dorset buttons from Etsy seller ASButtonsMarket. (I highly recommend these buttons. They're beautiful, well-made and really made the outfit look somewhat more authentic).
I worked hard to achieve some kind of Georgian/Regency ringlets in my hair, tied my turban over my head and headed out the door again.

I took the public stage, otherwise known as the city bus, all the way across the city. As a consequence, I missed the social hour and barely had time to take off my modern shoes and outerwear and finish dressing for the banquet and ball. 

The banquet wasn't quite what I had expected. It felt very rushed and there wasn't much time to socialize. It felt a lot like a wedding. Being the world's pickiest eater over the age of 6, I had the children's meal of chicken fingers. They were OK but not great. Dessert was a sweet little apple tart in a graham crust with crumble topping. It tasted nice and was very seasonal but a little disappointing because it was something I could have made myself with some effort. With 850 Janeites and their companions, it was difficult to see or talk to many people.

I sat with some strangers who were quite nice. The lady next to me was from Madison, Wisconsin and I told her how much I love looking at their historical society's website. I wish I could get a job there! She said there are a lot of young(er) adults just out of library school like myself competing for very few jobs in that area. She told me about some other special libraries she had visited like the Budweiser archive. Who knew there was such a thing? Too bad I don't drink beer! It did expand my knowledge of special libraries and where to look for jobs. Next to her was a fellow New Englander and librarian who went all the way to Illinois for library school. On the other side of the librarian was a name I recognized - Janet Mullany. I've only read one of her books, The Rules of Gentility, and found it very funny; and one of her short stories in Jane Austen Made Me Do It. I didn't have a chance to talk to her though.

After the banquet I joined in the promenade around the hotel lobby. We went up the escalator, around the first floor; up the next escalator and around the main lobby; down and around again. I saw some very lovely costumes and wanted pictures so I dropped out of the promenade after two trips around to photograph the other participants. The gentlemen looked very nice indeed!

More pictures of the promenade:
Promenade Part 1 and Part 2

While the ballroom was getting set up I attended a panel discussion on Jane Austen Around the World. The speakers were Susannah Fullerton of JASA (Australia), Claire Bellanti, (JASNA), Maureen Stiller from the Jane Austen Society (UK), Adriana Sales Zardini of JASBRA (Brazil) and Laaleen Sukhera-Khan of Jane Austen Pakistan; moderated by Joan Ray. 

The last two societies are quite new but very popular. The Jane Austen Society of Pakistan has a large Facebook group with occasional meetings for tea. Jane Austen's world feels very familiar to them, Pakistan being a former British colony. In contrast, Adriana had a difficult time translating Mansfield Park and Sense and Sensibility into Portuguese. In Portuguese they have only one word for carriage, but Jane Austen's text is so nuanced, the type of carriage named represents the social status and character of the owner. She consulted Spanish and Italian translations for assistance. I wonder if Jane Austen ever considered that people would be reading her novels in a time and place where the rules of society and pop culture references would be foreign to readers? 

The panel discussed patriarchy and Jane Austen readers. It was a difficult question to answer. Susannah Fullerton noted that her native New Zealand was the first country to allow women the vote and female readers there identify with Lizzie Bennet's independent spirit! There were a number of gentlemen in attendance and not just as companions. It seems more acceptable for men to read Jane Austen now. Sadly, Susannah Fullerton's sons don't share the love but they are fully well aware of their mother's work. She shared a funny anecdote about when her son was small, he had a friend over to work on a project. They needed the dining room table so her son told his friend they had to clear off his mother's Jane Austen stuff first. "Who's Jane Austen?" the friend replied. The son responded incredulously "You don't know who Jane Austen is?!" 

I peeked in the ball as the dancing was getting started. I've seen and tried Regency dancing and it's not easy. 

Health issues prevent me from trying to dance so I retreated to the card room upstairs. I met some nice ladies and together we learned to play four-handed whist, with special Jane Austen cards, of course. They also had instructions for piquet, lottery fish, backgammon and outside in the lobby area, an ongoing Jane Austen puzzle. See more pictures of the games.

Just as I was winning the card game, my too-modern phone rang with my ride announcing their arrival. Like Cinderella, I had to make a hasty early exit. I had just enough time at the ball to keep me from being bored. I was exhausted and ready to go to bed. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

A Trip to JASNA AGM 2016 : Day 2


A Trip to JASNA AGM 2016 : Day 2

Saturday October 22

JASNA North American Scholar Lecture: Dr. Susan Allen Ford "Not That You Would Think Anything Of" Robert Martin and Harriet Smith

This talk examined Emma's prejudice against Robert Martin as an appropriate husband for Harriet vs. the reality. After examining agricultural journals of the period, Dr. Ford discovered many subtle nuances in Emma that indicate Robert Martin is actually quite a well-to-do man and not a mere laborer! He was quite in love with Harriet. This was a really fascinating in-depth look at the things in Austen novels that have been lost to time. Certainly her readers would have known at least some of the subtle clues that give them a better idea of Robert Martin's character. 

Breakout Session C1: "So Prettily Done!" Illustrating Emma

Deborah Barnum, Regional Co-Coordinator, Vermont Region

From Bentley's 1833 edition to the latest Marvel comic, numerous illustrators have imagined the characters and settings of Emma. This visual journey takes listeners through the nearly 200 years of Emma's illustrated history, comparing the artists and their times, and discussing which of the many Mr. Knightley's works best.

I HAD to go to this session by my fellow New Englander and rare book collector. The various illustration styles and scenes illustrators have chosen to depict over time are quite interesting. Ms. Barnum invited the audience to interact by answering several questions:

  • What would you choose to illustrate?
  • How strictly do you need to stick to the text?
  • Do the illustrations give a true account of the times and setting of the story?
  • What of the illustration itself? Is the technique right for the action?
  • Does an illustration that does not agree with your subjective view ruin the reading of the book/or movie for you?
My personal answers are:
  • I'd have to read the book carefully. I would not have thought to include random scenes like the Perry children eating wedding cake. 
  • I'm a purist. If the text says Emma has brown hair and hazel eyes, the illustration/actress had better have brown hair and hazel eyes. For some reason Emma continues to be depicted as a blond. 
  • It depends on the illustration, obviously.
  • Yes! I can't stand it when illustrations and especially movies fail to get it right. 

The first illustrated Emma from 1833 by William Greenbatch after George Pickering.
Emma and Harriet look too much alike, the clothing styles are wrong. On the plus side, Mr. Elton is in the image.

Here we have two images from the 1870s. They are very nice for being black and white though once again the clothing styles are wrong. This Emma reminds me of Amy March in Little Women for some reason.

Now we have better clothing styles in this 1892 edition illustrated by Edmund H. Garrett. I like the action being outside and seeing the house in the background.

This is a great scene, illustrated by Hugh Thompson. It's not one I would have thought about including - Mr. Knightley tossing his nephew in the air - but it's sweet. It shows Mr. Knightley's character and Emma looking on. They could almost be a married couple with their own children. I like seeing Emma lounging and not posing stiff.

Emma and Knightley by C.E. and H.M. Brock. This is quite nice. It shows a sweet and tender scene - um is it still a spoiler of the book was written 200 years ago? The clothing looks right and the action is outside where it belongs. It looks very realistic-like the reader is right there at Hartfield with the characters.

This one by C.E. Brock from 1909 is beautiful! I love the soft colors. It's so romantic. As with the previous illustration, it's outside where it belongs and you can see Hartfield in the background. It's a little more romantic and dreamy than the previous image.

The first female illustrator, Christiana Hammond, did these drawings in 1898.
I think Emma looks rather older than her years here. It's a sweet scene but not one that I probably would have chosen to illustrate.

One more out of copyright image is from 1910 by William Sewall. I don't like this one at all. It's dark and the style is a little too modern for me. I do like the action being outside.
image from ebay
Fast forward to present day when illustrators are still giving us their own interpretation of Emma. From the super cute Cozy Classics (my personal favorite)
Emma Cozy Classics edition Jack and Holman Wang

to the bizarre Manga version
Manga Classics: Emma Softcover (Manga Classics, Jane Austen): Jane Austen, Stacy King, Crystal Chan, Po Tse

(Actually this image isn't that bad but the one shown in the presentation of Harriet Smith was strange).

Well, I like the modern sentiments expressed by Emma ...

Deborah Barnum invited people to e-mail her or comment on her blog weighing in  on their favorite illustrators and scenes. My favorite illustrator is H.M. Brock.

Breakout Session D8: One Very Superior Party: In Which Mrs. Elton Shews the Inhabitants of Highbury "How Everything Ought to be Arranged"  
Kim Wilson, Wisconsin region

What does Mrs. Elton mean when she criticizes the parties held at Highbury, and what sort of party should she give? Informative and amusing illustrations of Regency-era parties, games, foods and table settings will show participants what Mrs. Elton's evening party would have looked like and how they can easily recreate it.

Some of this was overlap from Joyce White's talk on desserts. Much of the information was known to me. What I liked was the hands-on experience of seeing, feeling and smelling things that were used at parties. We smelled orange flower water, which doesn't smell much like oranges; rosewater, which I have used before and don't like. It smells and tastes like soap. 

What I also really enjoyed was how to throw a Regency party cheaply. She threw a nice Regency party using mid-late-20th-century reproduction Regency/Victorian style table settings. Some were inherited from her mother-in-law and some were purchased at discount stores like Home Goods. Reproduction Spode can be found cheaply online too and blue and white transferware was popular in the mid-20th-century. 

Ms. Wilson also included a handout with many recipes. One side has recipes for rout cakes (little cookies or biscuits) from period cookbooks. The other side has recipes for water iceas. I want to try cinnamon ice

Recipe from The Professed Cook (1812)
Glace de Candle /Cinnamon Ice 
Infuse a proper quantity of cinnamon about an hour in hot water and boil it a moment. Add half a pound of fine sugar to a pint of water; sift it through a sieve and finish as others.

Modern interpretation:
4 3-inch cinnamon sticks
4 cups water
2 cups sugar
Bring cinnamon sticks and water to a boil, remove from heat and let sit an hour. Bring it back to a boil briefly, add sugar and stir until dissolved. Cool, chill until cold, then freeze. 
Kim Wilson gives further suggestion for what she calls the Lydia option: To a 1.5 litre carton of good vanilla ice cream mix 1-2 tablespoons of good ground cinnamon to taste, stir well and return to freezer.

You can see images of such ices on food historian Ivan Day's website