News & Notes

“She said ‘yes’ – but was it worth it?”

(left to right) Jennifer, Marjorie, Janice and Phyllis – look at the pros and cons of two Austen marriages.

February 15 –  love was in the air (we hoped) when a panel of our members debated the pros and cons of two of Jane Austen’s most interesting marriages – that of Jane Fairfax to Frank Churchill and Charlotte Lucas to Mr. Collins.

The Churchill alliance between Jane Fairfax and her lover Frank, said panel member Marjorie, was very regrettable because the manifest deficits of Frank’s character were so evident. Jane, she said, would likely come to regret choosing a man whose selfish, even narcissistic, behaviours were revealed in the novel. It was likely, she added, that Frank’s flaws would become even more prominent in the future.

Janice (second from right) however, said she thought the marriage had good points, particularly especially that it would rescue Jane from a life of genteel poverty (like her aunt’s). Also, Frank’s stellar financial resources ensured she would not have to remain with her family or be a governess in the home of an employer who might make her life a burden.

Phyllis (standing) gave her opinion that Charlotte Lucas, in accepting Mr. Collins, took the only course that would provide her with a respectable home of her own and likely the chance to have a child who would care for her in her old age. And marriage, said Phyllis, was not only the solution to spinsterhood it was very understandable because women’s access to education was almost non-existent.

Jennifer, however, vehemently denied that such a loveless marriage between Charlotte and Mr. Collins was desirable. The union, she said, would likely prove far more difficult in the coming years than Charlotte recognized. An escape from spinsterhood it might be – but at what price?

After a spirited discussion of these conflicting views, our members voted. Suffice it to say that most showed great sympathy for young women of the period whose ability to find a suitable mate might be few if they were not as pretty or as fashionable as others or if they came from a somewhat impoverished background.

Congratulations to our panelists who came well able to argue their points of view and open the door to a thought-provoking and entertaining discussion!


On December 14th we were most fortunate to welcome Justin Newell, renown local lecturer on art history, for a lively and very humorous talk on artists who were contemporaries of Jane Austen. Mr. Newell, a graduate of York University in Toronto, drew from his great store of knowledge of art gleaned through many years of research in Europe’s finest museums and libraries to describe how William Blake, Sir Thomas Lawrence, John Constable and Joseph Mallord William Turner were influenced by artists from centuries past. We were treated to many photos of how these four produced sketches which became the finished works which today fetch enormous sums at auction and are prized by museums throughout the world.

After obtaining his educational credentials, Mr. Newell spent a significant amount of time in Italy, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, England, France and Greece researching major collections and studying current and historical events. He has taught at UBC, Capilano University, Douglas College, and many private institutions and been a guest lecturer on several cruise lines including Silversea, Celebrity, Costa. At UBC, he created and taught painting courses including Painting Techniques of the Masters and participated in the Coquitlam School Board’s “Artist in the School” program, teaching painting and lecturing on Greek myth.

As is usual in December, members enjoyed a wonderful Christmas luncheon with all the trimmings and raised a glass for a “Happy Birthday” toast to commemorate Jane Austen’s birthday. We also dug deep to buy tickets for the draw which featured members’ donated items. Thanks to all who helped with the set up and decorations, serving the meal, and volunteering for the clean-up. A special thanks to Barbara Phillips for the ham, delicious as always.

SHERLOCK HOLMES AND JANE AUSTEN: Love and Marriage Versus Crime Detection

On November 16, Dr. Sheldon Goldfarb from the Stormy Petrels of B.C. (Sherlock Holmes Society) delighted members with a very amusing presentation entitled “Conan Doyle is no Jane Austen.” The celebrated author of the Sherlock Holmes canon, said Dr. Goldfarb, wrote very few novels on the subject that most concerned Jane Austen, that of love and marriage. In fact, “the happy couple” in Conan Doyle’s stories, he said, was far more likely to refer to the relationship between Sherlock Holmes and his ever-faithful sidekick (and partner in crime detection) Dr. Watson than that of the married doctor’s own domestic partner!

Dr. Goldfarb has recently published a collection of his articles on the Great Detective which is now available through Amazon under the name “Sherlockian Musings.”

The Stormy Petrels meets locally each month to discuss and share opinions on Sherlock Holmes novels. New members are most cordially welcomed. For more information, go to


Damaris and Janice stand before a photo of two of three JASNA co-founders, the late Joan Austen Leigh and the late J. David Grey, during our celebration of the 40th anniversary of the founding of JASNA.

The late Joan Austen-Leigh, a collateral descendent of Jane Austen, was one of three co-founders of JASNA, therefore we were delighted to welcome her daughter, Damaris Brix, in October to give us many fascinating details about the launch of one of this continent’s most beloved literary societies. It all began, said Damaris, with a friendship between her mother, the late Henry O. Burke, and the late J. David Grey, and their united conviction that a North American Jane Austen Society would greatly appeal to dedicated Austen readers on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. Members were treated to a selection of Austen-Leigh’s memorabilia including her scrapbooks, files, and photo albums along with a slide show filled with historical information which brought the organization’s founding to life. We all rose to drink a toast to the 40th anniversary of JASNA which was officially founded on Oct. 5, 1979, at the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York.

Also on the program were reports by several members who attended the recent JASNA AGM in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Sept. 14 — First Fall meeting highlights Regency Card Games

The game was afoot (apologies to both William Shakespeare and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) when members returned from our Summer Break on September 14 to learn all about the card game “Whist”, a very popular pastime enjoyed in the Georgian and Regency periods. First up was a YouTube video describing how the game is played followed by everyone, according to Elspeth Flood who prepared this report, having the opportunity to play several “very noisy hands!”

Also on the agenda was an interesting report from Joan Reynolds of her summer trip to Chawton for the English Jane Austen Society AGM. Joan met our member Sheila Armstrong-Jones who was taking the JASNA tour of England and heard an account of her tour experiences which, she said, had been described by the tour guide as “the smoothest in memory!”


Another Successful Books & Berries June 15

Thanks to these members who gave informative and discerning reviews of books recently read:

  1.  Aileen Hollifield:  (1) “Jane Austen at Home” by Lucy Worsley and (2) “Jane Austen’s Diet, Austen’s Secrets to Food, Health, and Incandescent Happiness” by Bryan Kozlowski.
  2. Keiko Parker:  (1) “Victoria the Queen” by Julia Baird and (2) “Catherine the Great” by Robert K. Massie.
  3.  Joan Reynolds: “Jane Austen, the Secret Radical” by Helena Kelly.
  4.  Barbara Phillips: “The Last Attachment:  The Story of Byron and Teresa Guiccioli” by Iris Onga.
  5. Lorraine Meltzer:  “Cassandra and Jane:  A Jane Austen Novel” by Jill Pitkeathley.
  6. Nancy McLean:  “Caty:  A Biography of Catherine Littlefield Greene” by John Stegeman and Janet Stegeman.

Jane Austen Day

On April 13, Jane Austen Day 2019, we welcomed Dr. Charles Carroll who gave a thought-provoking talk entitled “An Adjustment in the Wellspring of the Booty:  Jane Austen and Emotional Self-Regulation.” Dr. Carroll, in considering a number of gentlemen in Austen’s novels, suggested that some characters such as Willoughby in “Sense and Sensibility” have fallen victim to criticism by readers for jilting the love of his life Marianne Dashwood and marrying a woman he did not love although not to do so would have meant his social and financial ruin. On the other hand, said Dr. Carroll, others such as Captain Wentworth in “Persuasion” are considered heroic though career privateers sought to capture enemy ships and kill England’s foes. A lively discussion followed with members debating the pros and cons of judging the choices of those living in earlier times by modern day standards.

After a wonderful catered luncheon, we gathered to enjoy a fascinating presentation by Melanie Talkington entitled “Corsets:  melding the body and mind in society.” Ms Talkington, proprietor of “Lace Embrace Atelier”, displayed examples of period underwear including an assortment of “stays” worn in the Regency period which required the use of whalebone baleen to provide support to undergarments. Forty of Ms. Talkington’s creations were included in a lingerie exhibition in the Louvre a few years ago and she maintains an extensive collection of corsets, bustles, underpinnings and lingerie which will soon by displayed in a museum in her shop at 219 East 16th Avenue in Vancouver. For more information, go to

Presenting Fanny Palmer: Jane Austen’s Transatlantic Sister

Sheila Johnson Kindred with her recent book: “Jane Austen’s Transatlantic Sister: The Life and Letters of Fanny Palmer Austen.”

Our March guest speaker, Sheila Johnson Kindred, treated members to a fascinating account of the very sea-worthy Fanny Palmer Austen, wife of Charles Austen, Jane’s seafaring brother. We heard, courtesy of Fanny’s prolific letter-writing, of her many adventures raising a family on the high seas and also of the anxieties of marriage to a career navy officer which necessitated hard-to-bear separations. The Bermuda-born Fanny, according to Kindred, provided an ideal model for Austen’s character Anne Elliot in “Persuasion” which features a number of men of the British Navy including the dashing Captain Frederick Wentworth. Captain Wentworth’s star-crossed wooing of Anne, a source of much unhappiness for both, reaches a happy conclusion with Anne becoming, like Fanny Austen, a wife living aboard her husband’s ship. Kindred’s book “Jane Austen’s Transatlantic Sister: The Life and Letters of Fanny Palmer Austen” includes portraits of the auburn-haired Fanny, the handsome Charles Austen along with paintings of his ships. The letters from Fanny to her sister in Bermuda are also reproduced. Sadly, Fanny died in her early twenties after the birth of her third child. Kindred, a JASNA member from Nova Scotia, spoke to our Vancouver members following her book tour to Australia and England.”

Now or Never:  The Origins and Influences of the Kilmarnock Burns


Following his delightful talk Spencer joined Margaret Wood and other JA members for lunch.

Book Historian and Collections Advisor Spencer W. Stuart, who holds a master’s degree in the History of Art from Courtauld Institute in London, England, and now resides in Vancouver, was our special guest on Feb. 9.  In his presentation entitled ‘Now or Never:  The Origins and Influences of the Kilmarnock Burns,’ Spencer gave a sweeping overview of the famed Scottish poet’s literary progress. In July, 1786, ‘Robert Burns Poems:  Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect’ was published, catapulting the 27-year-old ‘Heaven-taught Ploughman’ into Edinburgh literati stardom. Following this meteoric rise Burns’ fame became assured with the publication of the early editions of the ‘Kilmarnock Burns and Edinburgh Editions.’ Jane Austen copied out Burns’ songs for her song book so we know she was well acquainted with his work and was likely a fan. As Spencer remarked, a character in Austen’s novel ‘Sanditon’ responded to another character’s effusive praise of Burns by saying she was ‘not able to separate a Man’s poetry entirely from his character’ which may be taken as a criticism of the poet’s well-known ‘irregular’ mode of living. Burns poetry and songs, as Spencer said, have only grown in popularity and various printings are greatly sought after and have grown significantly in value since his death.


Christmas luncheon

“Jane Austen Vancouver Region members gathered on the morning of December 15th to partake in a festive Christmas luncheon and to toast our beloved author whose birthday anniversary took place the following day.

Due to popular demand we welcomed Ivan Sayers, Vancouver’s famed historical costumes expert, for an encore presentation which proved a highlight of the year. As always, Ivan delighted everyone with his charming, convivial, and humourous manner. No wonder he is one of our most enduringly popular speakers.”

Basking in the sunshine of a perfect Jane Austen Day

Miranda Burgess

Miranda Burgess on St. Patrick’s Day

We welcomed UBC Associate Professor Miranda Burgess on St. Patrick’s day to speak on Mary Shelley and her famed novel “Frankenstein” published 200 years ago. Here Miranda joins us for our pot-luck luncheon after her presentation which highlighted Shelley’s use of the scientific knowledge of the day to create her “monster hero.

Lindsey Seatter’s research fellowship at Chawton House Library

Our February speaker Lindsey Seatter (wearing JA badge) offered members a fascinating inside look at the coveted experience of being chosen to conduct a research fellowship at Chawton House Library in Hampshire last summer. Ms. Seatter, who is currently completing her doctoral dissertation at the University of Victoria, brought along friends and family including her grandmother. In addition, she showed a short film detailing her experience working with other research scholars. For more information on the Chawton House Library, go to

Christmas and Jane Austen’s 242nd birthday

Dec. 16 we celebrated Christmas and Jane Austen’s 242nd birthday with a concert entitled “Opera Comes to Highbury” featuring delightful performances from members of the UBC Opera Ensemble including Baritone Alireza Mojibian and Mezzo-Soprano Charlotte Beglinger accompanied by Professor Richard Epp on piano. Afterwards, we raised a toast to Miss Austen and then tucked into a delicious and very festive luncheon featuring ham and all the trimmings. Thanks to everyone especially Joan Reynolds who worked hard to make the day a rousing success. And thanks also to Pam Ottridge who organized the Silent Auction.

November notes

In November we welcomed (l to r) UBC student Karol Pasciano, winner of the 2015 JASNA Essay Contest, along with Chelsea Shriver, Librarian of UBC’s Rare Books and Special Collections, and UBC student Kathryn Ney who all gave a delightful and enthusiastic presentation on the planning and execution of an exhibit held earlier this year to highlight the RBSP’s recent acquisition of Austen’s novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. It proved fortuitous, said Ms. Shriver, that the exhibit held in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, should take place in 2017, the bicentennial of Austen’s death. “Ever Austen: Literary Timelessness in the Regency Period” was a great success and included displays of Austen memorabilia, a panel discussion by Austen scholars and Regency fashions courtesy of well-known fashion expert Ivan Sayers.

Translation donation

Chawton House receives a copy of “Mansfield Park” translated into Japanese from Vancouver JASNA member Keiko Parker during a tour this past October. Mrs. Parker has completed translations of “Emma” and “Persuasion” and is currently hard at work on “Pride and Prejudice.”

Books and Berries was held on June 17

Many thanks to members who reviewed a fresh batch of books for us to add to our summer reading. Also many thanks to those who organized the book sale.

Laureen McMahon reviewed “What Regency Women Did for Us” by Rachel Knowles, a look at 12 Regency women who battled the odds to pursue careers and interests ranging from astronomy to science to architecture to mountain climbing as well as the more familiar careers of acting and literature.

Mary Atkins gave us two books including author William Dersiewicz’s “A Jane Austen Education” where he concludes that, once you begin reading Austen, you simply must continue. Austen, he says, taught him about “Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter!” Then we heard of Sophie Turner’s “Constant Love” series of books, where the author reveals “what happened next” to some Austen characters. In the sequel to “Pride and Prejudice” Elizabeth, now Mrs. Darcy, has her hands full with the demands of running one of the most celebrated estates in the country and Georgiana Darcy has her hands full managing suitors.

Iris Dayson presented “Textiles The Whole Story” by Beverly Gordon. The significance of the use of fabrics throughout human history has been very much underestimated and this vibrantly illustrated book, Iris noted, enlightens the reader on the pivotal role fabrics have played from ancient times to today. “The author bridges past and present, from the Stone Age – when humans first leaned to make cordage and thread – to twenty-first century ‘smart’ fabrics which can regulate body temperature and measure the
wearer’s pulse.”

Sandy Lundy reviewed J.E. Austen-Leigh’s “A Memoir of Jane Austen by Her Nephew” and “Walking to Camelot: A Pilgrimage Along the Macmillan Way Through the Heart of Rural England” by John Cherrington.” While the first book was a family project which provoked disagreement among some Austen relatives, it had the merit of sparking interest in her works and remained the primary biographic work for over a century. In the second book, author Cherrington set out with a friend to walk through many of England’s most picturesque areas. Some of their adventures, said Sandy, such as a surprising encounter with a bull, put her in mind of the comic stories found in an Anthony Trollope novel.

Jane Austen Day

Jane Austen Day, which took place this year on May 27, proved a resounding and well-attended success. Thanks especially to our talented speakers including Timothy Erwin who came to us from the University of Nevada through the courtesy of JASNA, and Jessa Alston-O’Conner, Art Historian and lead adult and family educator at the Vancouver Art Gallery who teaches at Emily Carr College. Mr. Erwin, who spoke on “Seeing and Believing in Northanger Abbey” discussed Austen’s novels in the light of the flourishing art of caricature in the Regency period and Ms. Alston-O’Connor put Austen’s work in a historical context in her talk entitled “Canada in the Age of Jane Austen: Life and Art in Early Canada 1775-1817, as she linked the development of various art forms including portraiture in Central Canada, to the period of her writing.

Everyone enjoyed the sumptuous catered luncheon repast and a good time was had by all. Thanks to the many members who worked hard to make the day a success especially those who came early to help Joan set everything up including Jennifer, Azarm, Aileen, Susan, Jayne, Bonnie, and Lorraine and several others who took time out of their busy schedules to arrange for and/or entertain our speakers and assist with transportation.

Modes of Transportation in Jane Austen’s novels

At the March meeting, Joan Reynolds discussed various modes of transportation found in Jane Austen’s novels and others of the period. As is often true today, the kind of vehicle, or carriage, one could afford to maintain was an indication of status and bank account. Thanks Joan for your spirited and humorous talk.

Don’t miss “A Season for Friendly Meetings: Exploring Jane Austen’s Influences and Legacy”

**NOTE:  The panel discussion has been rescheduled from Feb. 3 to Thursday, March 2.**

UBC’s Rare Books and Special Collections is delighted to announce that the Feb. 3 panel discussion which was postponed due to poor weather has been rescheduled. The date is now Thursday, March 2. A warm welcome is extended to all.

This panel discussion from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at UBC (Lillooet Room, 301) will feature scholars from UBC and SFU speaking on topics ranging from “Jane Austen’s Print Trouble” to “Gothic Influence” to “Jane Austen as Popular Culture: Then and Now.” Moderated by UBC Professor Emeritus of English Dr. Herbert Rosengarten, the event is free and open to the public.
It is one of the many highlights featured in “Ever Austen: Literary Timelessness in the Regency Period’ , an exhibition mounted by UBC’s Rare Books and Special Collections on now until February 28 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the death of one of the world’s great authors.
RBSC is also celebrating the recent acquisition of First Editions of Austen’s ‘Northanger Abbey’ and ‘Persuasion’.
For more information to or call 604-822-2521.

Jane Austen Christmas luncheon

Our annual festive gathering featured a fascinating discussion on the Art of the Apothecary by Cole Benoit, proprietor of the Apothecary Bitters Company (

Michelle “mikes up” October guest speaker Dr. Herbert Rosengarten

Michelle “mikes up” October guest speaker Dr. Herbert Rosengarten, Professor Emeritus, UBC English Department, and Bronte scholar. Dr. Rosengarten gave a lively and quite fascinating presentation on the similarities and the differences in the approach to their novels of two of our favourite authors, Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. He pointed out that the plots of “Jane Eyre” and “Pride and Prejudice” really have a great deal in common although the writing styles are very different.

Michelle “mikes up” October guest speaker Dr. Herbert Rosengarten, Professor Emeritus, UBC English Department, and Bronte scholar. Dr. Rosengarten gave a lively and quite fascinating presentation on the similarities and the differences in the approach to their novels of two of our favourite authors, Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. He pointed out that the plots of “Jane Eyre” and “Pride and Prejudice” really have a great deal in common although the writing styles are very different.

2016 season

**The following books were reviewed by our members at the June Books and Berries meeting:

  1. Bonnie Herron reviewed “Jane Austen Sings the Blues” – a memorial book honouring  the late Bruce Stovel, esteemed Austen scholar.
  2. Sandy Lundy reviewed “Indigo: From Egyptian Mummies to Blue Jeans” by Jenny Balfour Paul.
  3. Elizabeth Walker reviewed “The Bronte Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects” by Deborah Lutz.
  4. Lorraine Meltzer reviewed “Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor” by Stephanie Barron.
  5. Irene Howard reviewed “Voices from the World of Jane Austen” by Malcolm Day.
  6. Aileen Hollifield reviewed “Miss Jane Austen’s Guide to Modern Life’s Dilemmas” by Rebecca Smith.
  7. Barbara Phillips reviewed “Fierce Convictions: The extraordinary life of Hannah More by Karen Swallow Prior.

FALL DATES:  Here are the dates of our fall/winter meetings. Watch for program announcements/changes here.

November 19:  “Writers in our Midst.”  We are delighted to welcome a trio of  our members to discuss how Jane Austen’s fiction has served as a source of inspiration for their own particular writing process. Bonnie Herron is the author of “My Courage Rises,” a work of historical fiction. Jennifer Bettiol has written her own completion of Austen’s “The Watsons.” Keiko Parker has recently published translations of  both “Emma” and “Persuasion” into Japanese.

Plus, we will have a review by members who attended the recent JASNA conference on “Emma at 200 – No One But Herself” which took place in Washington, DC.

December 10:  Don’t miss a fascinating discussion by Cole Benoit, proprietor of the Apothecary Bitters Company, who will delve into the art of the Apothecary.  Mr. Benoit’s company creates unique and appetizing bitters by hand using natural ingredients. These unique concoctions commonly used today in the blending of cocktails were, in Austen’s era, the basis of  tonics, medications, and various health treatments. “He had been at the pains of consulting Mr. Perry, the apothecary, on the subject.” (“Emma”)

Hycroft House presents: Garden Party at Pemberley

Sunday August 14th, 4 – 6 pm, $25.00
The University Women’s Club of Vancouver at Hycroft teams up with the Jane Austen Society of North America – Vancouver Region for an afternoon tea celebration of our favourite Regency period author. Featuring a short lecture on the author by Professor Amanda Burgess of UBC, plus other delightful activities as well as plenty of time to discuss your favourite moments from the novels. See updates at

Japanese translations of Persuasion and EmmaKeiko at Chawton

Long time JASNA Vancouver member (1981) and former chairperson Keiko Parker has recently published Japanese translations of Persuasion and Emma and both have been given pride of place in the group of Austen’s translated works in the ‘Emma at 200’ exhibit at the Chawton House Library in England.

Books and Berries – Bountiful BasketBountiful basket

At the Books and Berries meeting in June, new JASNA Vancouver member Violet Hayes (on the right) received this year’s Bountiful Basket from Aileen Hollifield. Congratulations Violet!


May Meeting Highlight

20160514_115834JASNA Vancouver president Michelle Siu (l) welcomed Ruth Williamson and her husband Ian from New Zealand to our May meeting.

Mrs. Williamson, the founder of the Jane Austen Society of New Zealand, presented a fascinating talk on Robert William (R.W.) Chapman, scholar and famed Austen editor. After graduating from Oxford with a First in Classics and Humanities, Chapman began his career at Clarendon Press where he rose to become secretary. He married Katherine Marion Metcalfe, an accomplished scholar in her own right who made significant early contributions to her husband’s work on Austen.

Chapman wrote for the Times Literary Supplement while serving in World War I. He published editions of five Austen novels in 1923. This was followed by editions of Austen’s miscellaneous work in the 1920s and ’30s which were eventually collected in a sixth volume entitled “Minor Works of the Novels of Jane Austen.” He edited Austen’s correspondence which was criticized by some critics but later published a three-volume edition of Samuel Johnson’s letters which garnered universal praise. Chapman was a contributor to the Oxford English Dictionary released during his tenure at Clarendon Press.

Chapman, according to Mrs. Williamson, was known as a most thorough and scrupulous editor; tireless in attention to correct grammatical usage and every other detail of the works which passed through his hands.



Step into history! Stand and be counted!

You are invited to take part in a Guinness World Record Challenge when the Centennial Belles stage a Jane Austen Festival in Port Alberni  this July 8 and 9. The Belles are hoping to get in the record books for ‘The most persons dressed in Regency costume at one gathering.’ To beat the current record, more than 409 costumed participants are needed and Jane Austen fans are warmly invited to join in. For all information on the festival including suggestions for nearby accommodation, go to

Christmas Entertainments:phyl-linds

Celebrating Jane Austen’s birthday with good food and good friends on Dec. 12. Phyllis and Lindsay play the parts of Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner in Shannon Winslow’s vignette “Behind the Scenes” which highlights a lively discussion of Darcy’s feelings for Elizabeth after the visit to Pemberley.

Jane Austen’s Discovery

jasna120747Thanks to Simon Fraser University Continuing Studies Professor Richard Harvey for his presentation on May 23 of “Jane Austen’s Discovery” which had us all guessing about whose “voice” Austen was using in various prose passages. More than almost any other author, Mr. Harvey said, Austen’s books bring deep satisfaction to her readers. Part of her secret, he said, was her novel way of using language to explore the emotional makeup and responses of characters. With Austen’s writing, literature took a great leap forward and later writers, such as George Eliot, studied Austen to improve their own narrative style. Mr. Harvey, a Psychotherapist in private practice, has explored the work of many great authors in SFU’s Continuing Studies program. A list of his lectures can be found at

Jane Austen Day – a grand success featuring two delightful speakers!

The fur trade in Canada during Jane Austen’s time

Pride & Prejudice at Metro Theatre


JASNA December Meeting

England expects every man (and woman) to do his (her) duty

jennifer-joanJennifer Bettiol (Lord Nelson) and Joan Reynolds (Captain Hardy) re-enacted Philip Stokes take on how regulations governing the British Navy have changed since the Battle of Trafalgar. Stokes, a former chairman of the Jane Austen Society of the U.K., gave his comedic presentation entitled Rears and Vices: the Georgian Royal Navy, at the recent JASNA AGM in Montreal. He is a direct descendent of Rear-Admiral Charles Austen, Jane’s brother, and is credited with giving her a gold chain and topaz, a scenario quite familiar to readers of Mansfield Park.

“Jane’s Bountiful Basket” Winner

JA Day Photos

Naval historian Anthony Sessions

On March 22 we welcomed naval historian Anthony Sessions who gave an overview of the British Navy during Jane Austen’s lifetime with references to her seagoing brothers Charles and Francis and their accomplishments.

Mr. Sessions, a long time collector of Lord Nelson and other naval memorabilia, discussed the remarkable career of the admiral and, during the question period, spoke about the memorable exploits of Captain James Cook. He recently donated items from his fascinating personal collection to the Vancouver Maritime Museum for their exhibit “Nelson’s Letters”. To learn more, go to

Christmas & Jane Austen’s Birthday

Many members got in the spirit to celebrate Christmas and Jane Austen’s birthday at our December meeting. We thank Bonnie for producing this excellent collection of photos showing us in our best Regency finery!

click image to view larger:

“Cosy Classics” children’s books

Holman Wang brought his “Cosy Classics” children’s books to the November meeting including “Pride and Prejudice” published last year and “Emma” which is about to appear. Holman and his brother Jack have ingeniously used just 12 words of print to describe the action in various classic tales including “Les Miserables”, “Tom Sawyer”, and “Moby Dick.” The books feature photos of fuzzy puppet dolls handcrafted by the Wang brothers to delight toddlers and their parents and introduce youngsters from babyhood up to classic literature.

Theatre at UBC Announces Pride and Prejudice

Click to see poster

Click to see poster

By Jon Jory (adapted from the novel by Jane Austen), Nov. 14 – 30, 2013 at the Frederic Wood Theatre, 6354 Crescent Rd., UBC

CURTAIN: 7:30 pm
TICKETS: Reg. $22/Senior $15/Student $10/Youth $2/Groups $2 off ~ plus service charges | $7 Preview Nov. 13
Talk Back: Wed. Nov. 20
BOX OFFICE: 604.822.2678

Jane Austen’s Families

Dr. June Sturrock

Dr. June Sturrock

Dr. June Sturrock, Professor Emeritus from Simon Fraser University, gave an entertaining presentation from her book “Jane Austen’s Families” (Anthem, 2013), focussing on mothers and daughters and fathers and daughters.



Celebration to honour the late Joan Austen-Leigh

On Sept. 14, several of our members attended a special celebration to honour the late Joan Austen-Leigh, one of three co-founders of the Jane Austen Society of North America,  hosted by the Victoria Jane Austen Society. Thanks to everyone who made our visit so enjoyable.

JASNA Vancouver June meeting: Books and Berries

The following books were reviewed by our members:

“What Happens in Jane Austen” by John Mullan and “The Chief Factor’s Daughter” by Vanessa Winn were reviewed by Mary Atkins.

“Patronage” by Maria Edgeworth was reviewed by Jackie Johnson.

“Tea with the Bennets of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: An Anthology of Recipes” by Margaret Vaughan and “The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen: A Novel” by Syrie James were reviewed by Lorraine Melzer.

“Britons” by Linda Colley”, “Jane Austen’s Juvenilia” and “Jane Austen in Style” by Susan Watkins were reviewed by Sandy Lundy

Stephanie Barron’s Jane Austen sequels: “Jane and the Man of the Cloth” and “Jane and the Wandering Eye” were reviewed by Irene Howard.

“The Best Laid Plans” by Terry Fallis was reviewed by Ron Sutherland.

“The Age of Wonder – How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science” by Richard Holmes and “Master Under Good Regulation” by Kara Louise were reviewed by Joan Reynold.


Winner of the draw for “Jane’s Bountiful Basket”

Audrey NormanAudrey Norman is this year’s winner of the draw for “Jane’s Bountiful Basket” – a cornucopia of delightful Jane Austen-related gifts which JASNA Vancouver gives away annually to some lucky new member. Audrey picked up her basket on June 15 at the conclusion of “Books and Berries”, the last meeting of the year before our summer hiatus.” See you in September.

Cultivating Sense from the Cult of Sensibility

SpoonersJane Austen Vancouver member Susan Spooner with her daughter Emma who was dressed in Regency finery for her presentation at the May 18 meeting on “Cultivating Sense from the Cult of Sensibility: The Influence of Frances Burney and Maria Edgeworth in Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.” Emma is engaged in post-graduate studies at the University of Calgary and working on her doctoral thesis which will have an Austen focus.

DSC_0070sm Special guest visitor JASNA president Iris Lutz (right) chats with a JASNA Vancouver Region member following her fascinating presentation on several houses occupied by Jane Austen and her family. Lutz gave a virtual tour of the various homes which Austen shared with her sister Cassandra, her mother, and other family members from her earliest years in Steventon Rectory to her final abode prior to her death and burial in Winchester Cathedral.
DSC_0071sm Civic Historian John Atkin (right) spoke on architecture of the Regency period on the afternoon of Vancouver’s annual Jane Austen Day and was a guest for lunch. Atkin conducts walking tours of Vancouver and also of London, England. More information on his tours is available at

Columnist explains how he was captured by wit and wisdom of Jane Austen

Vancouver Sun columnist Pete McMartin explains how he was unexpectedly captured by the wit and wisdom of Jane Austen on his first reading of Pride and Prejudice.

Thanks Mr. McMartin – the Vancouver Janeites share your views!”


  • Read the full article here


Jane Austen Day

Jane Austen Day, May 26, brought together our members to hear two excellent speakers. Dr. John Stape, adjunct professor of English, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Vancouver, spoke on Jane Austen and Mozart in the morning session while Dr. Pauline Beard, from Pacific University of Oregon, discussed Lady Bertram: Lover or Loafer? during the afternoon.

P.S., the catered lunch was delicious and the quizzes were fun. Thanks to all organizers!

“Emma” at Metro Theatre Vancouver

EmmaMetro Theatre Vancouver presents “Emma”, an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel by Michael Bloom, from May 19-June 16 at 8 p.m. For tickets call 604-266-7191 or go to The Metro Theatre is located at 1370 Southwest Marine Drive.

On April 28, a fully costumed Chris Dellinger (Mr. Knightley) and “Emma” director Joan Bryans gave a talk to JASNA Vancouver members on the process of bringing the novel to the stage.


St. Patrick’s Day brunch

Jane Austen Vancouver members enjoy a St. Patrick’s Day brunch after talks on Jane Austen’s Connections to Ireland by Joan Reynolds, Jennifer Bettiol and Laureen McMahon.

Suggested Reading List:

Jane Austen: The Parson’s Daughter by Irene Collins – Hambledon Press (1998) – available in JASNA Library:

Jane Austen and the Clergy by Irene Collins – Hambledon Press (2002) – available in JASNA Library:

Miniatures and Morals: The Christian Novels of Jane Austen by Peter J. Leithart – Canon Press (2004):

Jane Austen’s Anglicanism by Laura Moneyham White (2011) Ashgate.

(All are currently viewable on-line at Google Books).

Christ Church Cathedral Visit

Jane Austen Vancouver members visited Christ Church Cathedral to hear about Jane Austen and the Anglican Book of Common Prayer and take a tour of the refurbished cathedral.

Highlights of Forth Worth

Our JASNA Vancouver members recall highlights of Forth Worth, 2011

Dr. Rowan McMaster

Dr. Rowan McMaster consulted these works for his presentation to our region on Women on Men-of-War ships.

Consulted Works

Books and Berries books:

The following books were reviewed in June, 2011

At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson reviewed by Joan Reynolds.

Dianna Mosley by Anne de Courcy reviewed by Sandy Lundy.

Up and Down Stairs: A History of the Country House Servant by Jeremy Musson reviewed by Joan Reynolds.

The Pregnant Widow by Martin Amis reviewed by Elspeth Flood.

Mrs. Delany and Her Circle by M. Laird and A. Weisberg-Roberts reviewed by Sandy Lundy

Sugar: A Bittersweet History by Elizabeth Abbott reviewed by Joan Reynolds.

A Truth Universally Acknowledged: 33 Great Writers on Why We Read Jane Austen edited by Susannah Carson reviewed by Phyllis Bottomer.

Plus – The Paper Garden by Molly Peacock and Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier.

Little Flower Academy Regency dancing

Little Flower Academy English students demonstrate Regency dancing for the Jane Austen Vancouver Region members on May 14.

Jane Austen Christmas

Ron Richardson’s presentation

Family therapist and Jane Austen enthusiast Ron Richardson’s presentation to JASNA Vancouver on March 20/2010

The Good Marriage in Jane Austen’s Novels (PDF)

Dr. Robert Miles’ presentation

Presentation by Dr. Robert Miles, University of Victoria, on Dec. 12

Jane Austen, Happiness and Moral Luck (PDF)

Victoria Tang’s award-winning essay

UBC student Victoria Tang’s award-winning essay (PDF) presented on Nov. 14.

Chawton House

On this video, Sandy Lerner, founder of Cisco Systems discusses her plans to search out books authored by long-neglected women writers of the 18th century for the Chawton House Library.

Ann Kent talk on gardens and floral design

Our region welcomed Ann Kent, a horticultural therapist and educator from VanDusen Botanical Gardens, on June 27 to give an illuminating talk on gardens and floral design from the Regency period.

Handout from the talk (PDF)

JANE AUSTEN DAY – The Law, Lords and Ladies

Seattle lawyer Jim Nagel was the featured speaker for this year’s Jane Austen Day in Vancouver. Following a catered lunch, the afternoon was filled with games and skits in the “drawing” room.

Thanks to all who organized the wonderful event.

Fun and Frivolity at KCTS Hycroft Tea:

To highlight their Masterpiece Classics series of Jane Austen programs, KCTS Seattle hosted a tea and dance at Hycroft in Vancouver. Several JASNA Vancouver members participated in the dancing exhibition for the 120 Austen fans who attended.

Talks for our members

The following talks were presented recently to our members in Vancouver. Click to read them.

‘Strangers filling their place’: Jane Austen and the Decline of the Landed Order” (PDF) by Haymen Leong. Presentation to JASNA Vancouver May 24, 2008.

Austen Lecture & Prologue (PDF)

Dr. John Hulcoop, Professor Emeritus of the University of British Columbia, presentation to JASNA Vancouver on Jane Austen Day, April 12, 2008.

Women’s Travel in the Time of Jane Austen (PDF)

by Barbara Hodgson

A talk for the Jane Austen Society, given on 8 April 2006, on the occasion of Jane Austen Day.

Soup and Snobbery: Food in the Novels of Jane Austen

by Tanya Lewis

A talk for the Jane Austen Society, given on 8 April 2006, on the occasion of Jane Austen Day.