Members Meeting - May 12 2018
JASNA Calgary Region update
Laurie, our Regional Coordinator, brought us up-to-date on JASNA happenings, local and international. May Lee, our Librarian, introduced five books new to our library. Most are good summer reads, and one challenges our recall of Jane Austen novels and trivia. We had two speakers for our final meeting on this sunny Saturday afternoon.
Property and Inheritance in Regency England
Lindsey drew upon her legal background to speak to us about property and inheritance laws in Regency England. The goal of the presentation was to help us understand why some of female characters in Austen's novels were heiresses to estates and others were precluded from any sharing of the land they grew up on.
The short explanation involves an understanding that an entailment was established at that time by the head of a family who could choose whether to allow females to participate, a "tail general", or whether only the eldest living male heir could inherit.
Lindsey then went through several of the characters throughout the novels and summarized what she believed the legal status of the estates of their parents to have been and how this may have worked. Our members were actively engaged in asking lots of questions and rumour has it, there will be a follow up discussion regarding this topic.
After a short break for lovely cold tea punch, Amber regaled us with some of the history of Jane's earliest works, her Juvenilia.
As part of the talk, Amber briefly discussed Jane's "The History of England" and notably included some of its sketches which were painted by her sister, Cassandra.
It is hard not to feel that Mrs. Austen would have been less than pleased with the 'portrait' of herself in the guise of Elizabeth I.
For those who have read through the Juvenilia, there are some quite shocking inclusions in the subject matter, as well as the purely ridiculous.
It is surprising sometimes to understand the extent of Jane's knowledge and understanding of the world and even more so to consider that she was the daughter of a clergyman whose library was presumably the source of most of her reading.
Amber's collection of readings and her discussion of them were both entertaining and poignant.