On Saturday, July 8, I attended the Jane Austen Society’s (JAS) Annual General Meeting (AGM). This event was held in a marquee on the Chawton House Library’s lawn on a sunny, hot day. The day began with some shopping–no joke. There was a series of stalls located on the grounds, and the vendors distributed information about their organizations and/or sold stuff! I did make some purchases. How could I resist two Jane Austen ornaments for my Christmas tree? How could I not buy some cards with Austen’s words on them, especially given that the passage comes from one of her letters and not a novel? At least I stayed away from the antique/rare books stall, right?
OK, beyond the shopping, the AGM began officially with a meeting to update members on what the JAS officers had been up to in the last year, and to share budget figures. Good news all around! (See the first picture above.) The president of JAS made an appeal to members to also help support the CHL, as it is losing funding from its primary donor this year. Let’s hope that the members decide to donate to CHL.
Then the meeting adjourned for a two-hour lunch break–how generous! I brought my lunch and ate it, relaxed on a couch…
(shout-out to Robin Runia for opening the Stables door to me!), and then headed over to the meeting once again.
The afternoon portion of the AGM consisted of an address by professor John Mullan, a prominent scholar on Austen and other long eighteenth-century writers and topics. (See the second picture at the start of this post.) His talk was about how people talk in Austen’s novels. He is a lively speaker, so he could have honestly talked about anything, and I would have been like, “Oooh! Awesome!” In fact, his address opened my eyes to some of Austen’s characters’ idiolects and self-promotion (two of his main points). I had not realized that Emma and Mrs. Elton use similar phraseology to get what they want, even though one does it to help and the other to be bossy. I didn’t realize either that Lydia and Mrs. Bennet use the same phrases when they get excited. So on and so forth was the nature of this talk. It was great!
After the talk I had some time to kill so I went to the book stall. Oh, no! I swore that I would avoid it, but then I didn’t. I bought two rare books, and what a steal for £30 combined. Here’s the vendor:
Then I visited another vendor, a company out of Winchester that adapts Austen works for the stage, and bought two more books–each of these adaptations of the juvenilia, which is my research topic. Yes, I will be writing about these plays in my book! Thanks to Cecily O’Neill for writing them!
Afterwards, I attended Evensong. This service consists of singing hymns for about 30 minutes. That was a delight! 1. I had never attended an Anglican service before. 2. I didn’t know any of the tunes but sang along anyway. (I do have a quick ear, so I picked up on the melody within one verse.) St. Nicholas, the church that is on the Chawton estate grounds, is beautiful and cozy. I felt right at home there.
Speaking of churches…I saw this flyer at the AGM.
Maybe I will go to this event. Readings, dancing, tea, cakes, and sandwiches–why not?
All in all, I enjoyed attending the AGM. It was laid back, the people were nice, and the day was beautiful.
See my joy? Yup. That’s a happy woman.