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For new attendees, Jane Austen Summer Program 101


Thinking about registering for the Jane Austen Summer Program? Here’s an FAQ just for you!

So … what exactly happens at the Jane Austen Summer Program? The facts are these: For four days, participants listen to presentations (some academic, some not) on a wide variety of topics — including history, film adaptations and period clothing — all centered on one of Jane Austen’s novels; this year we’re focusing on “Emma,” which turns 200 this year. The program also includes small-group discussions on the book and the presentations, as well as activities and, this year, outings. Oh, and a ball. Can’t forget the ball.

But I’m not a scholar or teacher or anything. The great thing about the program is that you don’t have to be any of those. The program aims to be a mix of history, literature and entertainment meant for Jane Austen fans of all backgrounds.

What if I am a teacher? Good news! You can get credit for attending the program. JASP offers 30 hours of CEU credit. There are also K-12 teacher discounts when you register online: Registration for teachers is $250 (instead of the regular $400). The program also offers scholarships for K-12 teachers. Last week we caught up with two scholarship recipients to see what they thought of the program and how they used what they learned in their classrooms.

I should probably read “Emma” before I get to Chapel Hill, right? Well, we won’t give you a pop quiz or anything, but it would help. If you’ve read “Emma” a million times, one more time won’t hurt, right? Maybe you’ll discover something new. If you’ve only read once or twice, a refresher can help you in the small discussions.

But there are SO MANY VERSIONS of the book! Which one do I read? You’re right, there are a bajillion editions — and you can get a free e-version on the Gutenberg Project site. But the program will use the Penguin Classic edition (pictured here) in its discussions for ease of reference. So if, say, someone cites a page or chapter number, we can all be on the same page, literally. But feel free to read whatever version you’re comfortable with.

emma cover

Anything else I should read? We’ve got a couple of supplementary readings. Dorrit Cohn on Free Indirect Discourse

Henry and Eliza

There’s something on the schedule called … “elevenses.” What is that? Basically, mid-morning refreshments, a chance to nibble scones, sip tea or coffee, stretch your legs and get to know your fellow attendees.

I also see there are planned trips to something called Ayr Mount and another to Replacements. What are those?

Ayr Mount is a Georgian house in nearby Hillsborough. It’ll serve as our “Donwell Abbey.” Replacements is a giant warehouse/store that specializes in china. The founder was an avid china collector, and several of his pieces are on display there. I’ve been to Replacements and it is pretty cool; if you’re looking to replace a piece of your china, they can probably help you.

And there’s a ball? Um, I don’t know how to dance like they do in “Emma” and “Pride & Prejudice”! Bring your dancing shoes anyway: There are dance lessons during program so by the time the ball rolls around you’ll be ready to hit the dance floor. It’s a great way to meet fellow participants. And don’t worry, you won’t be the only one in need of lessons. Plenty of folks will be on equal, uh, footing.

Do I have to dress up in Regency wear for the ball?

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Definitely not. While some attendees dress in Regency wear, it’s not required. A nice outfit you can move in is the best option. And if you do want to dress up, remember what costume designer and professor Jade Bettin said: “Don’t worry if every little detail isn’t historically accurate!  Just capture the essence of it and have fun.”

What’s in this silent auction? There are always fun Jane Austen items, which could include DVDs, books, tea, etc. The silent auction benefits our teacher scholarships, so make sure to bid!

Got a question not listed here? Leave it in the comments!

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