Austen Amongst World's Greatest

In the Huffington Post, Professor Kathleen Anderson explores why Dr Cornel West, a philospher who focuses on race, gender and class in the United States, considers Jane Austen one of the world's greatest writers.

JASNA Essay Contest Winners

The results of the annual JASNA Essay Contest for students have been announced. Our member Judith is a judge for the contest. She particularly recommends The Solution of Silence: The Character of Mary Crawford in Mansfield Park. This essay gives us an unusual perspective on Mary Crawford - she has more depth than we sometimes credit her.

Austen Economics

Who could doubt that Jane Austen understood the hard lessons of money, usually too little? Shannon Chamberlain, in The Atlantic magazine, expounds on The Economics of Jane Austen.

Watch Your Words!

Computers have made literary context analysis much easier. Professor Mary Forest and some students have developed an app for word origin analysis in English language literature. Her inspiration came from noticing over many years that pompous characters in Jane Austen's novels spoke with more Latinate language, showing the deliberation of Austen and other great authors in creating their works. We can use the app for analyzing our own writing, too. Read more in this Forbes article.

New Library Books

New in our library are
  • What Matters In Jane Austen?, and

  • The History of England by the young Jane Austen.

    Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid

    Recently we were treated to Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope. Now just released is Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid. These are the first two books of The Austen Project, in which international bestselling authors reimagine Jane Austen's novels for the 21 century.

    The most horrific treachery of Northanger Abbey is the lack of internet access! In Val McDermid's reimagining of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, Cat Morland is entranced by vampires and attracted by zombies. As in Austen's original, Catherine lives inside the stories she reads. However, Bath is usurped by Edinburgh, where the Fringe Festival brings together all sorts of people. Not all of them are what they seem!

    "Sense and Sensibility was written by Jane Austen, at least the 1811 original was. In 2013 Joanna Trollope's version was published, bringing the anguish of the Dashwood sisters into the 21st century. Everyone has a cell-phone, of course. Responding to emails, Facebook posts and Tweets replaces the tedium of letter writing. Gossip is still rampant in everyone's life, except it happens at the speed of electrons and shows up on YouTube. Morals have shifted, while the pain of a broken heart pierces as keenly as ever. Read more in Judith's review.
    "What if, hidden in an old attic chest, Jane Austen's memoirs were discovered after hundreds of years? What if those pages revealed the untold story of a life-changing love affair?" Author Syrie James imaginatively explores these questions in her novel, The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen.

    "Upstairs, the almost desperate Bennet family seeks husbands for five charming daughters. Downstairs, the servants scurry through endless labour and winter mud. In Longbourn, Jo Baker successfully recreates life on the other side of the kitchen door, a life secreted from the readers of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice." Read more in Judith's review.
    As we all know, Jane Austen is up-to-the-minute modern. The latest evidence is found in Jane Austen, Game Theorist by Michael Chwe, a political scientist at UCLA. He defines game theory as the mathematical study of strategic thinking and introduces his concepts in a video about his book. The author postulates that Jane Austen was part of an early expression of game theory, with characters that weigh circumstances and others who do not when they make decisions. Reviews abound on Google in many publications unused to literary critiques from Forbes to a podcast on Freakonomics.

    Our Library

    At each meeting our library is open to members to borrow materials until the next meeting, with a small fee of 25 cents. To plan your reading in advance, review the Library List. Send an email to JASNA Calgary to request particular books, as our library is now too large to bring all the books to each meeting. If you cannot wait until the next meeting, try the resources of the Calgary Public Library.

    New Media Jane Austen

    Jane Austen: Essay Contest Winners 2013

    JASNA annually sponsors an essay contest for students, from high-school to graduate studies. Our Jasna Calgary member, Judith, was a judge for the 2013 contest. The essays of all winners are on the JASNA site. Judith particularly recommends Time of the Season: Time as an Expression of the Individual in Pride and Prejudice for a fresh look at the suite of characters in the novel; and, Punctual to His Time: An Examination of Mr. Collins and Time in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice for a sympathetic analysis of Mr Collins' actions and motives.

    Local Books

    Our very own JASNA Calgary scribe, Samantha Adkins, has published another Jane Austen themed book, Suspiciously Reserved, A Twist on Jane Austen's Emma. This tantalizing novel helps us imagine the story of Jane Fairfax, who is shabbily treated by Frank Churchill and by Emma Woodhouse. Samantha invites us to imagine her tale as set in present-day Canada.
    Strathmore author, Samantha Adkins wrote Expectations, a sequel to Pride and Prejudice, for her sister's birthday. Expectations is set six months after Pride and Prejudice ends, in the style and voice of Jane Austen. It begins at Longbourn with Mrs. Bennet exhorting Mr. Bennet to write his married daughters, Elizabeth Darcy and Jane Bingley, telling them they must provide male heirs for their new husbands. Find out more about Expectations and make a purchase online.

    Contemporaries on Jane Austen

    Jane Austen Jane Austen's Family and Friends

    Sir Walter Scott Sir Walter Scott

    Charlotte Bronte Charlotte Bronte

    Obituary for Jane Austen

    The Gentleman's Magazine of July 18, 1817 carried this announcement of Jane Austen's death.

    Austen recognized as author of four novels