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Let the countdown to the 2019 Jane Austen Summer Program begin!

289 days. That’s how long we have to wait until the start of the 2019 Jane Austen Summer Program. It may seem like forever until then, but we here at JASP are already working on next year’s symposium. Here’s what you need to know so far:

Dates: June 20-23, 2019

Theme: “Pride and Prejudice & Its Afterlives.”

Where: Chapel Hill/Carrboro, NC

But wait! There’s more! We caught up with program co-founder Inger Brodey to learn more about the 2019 JASP. Read on:

Inger casual
JASP co-founder Inger Brodey

The Jane Austen Summer Program started in 2013 with “Pride and Prejudice.” Why revisit the novel? 

We had a great time doing P&P for our first JASP, but at that time it was the first year of our program and we were very small — around 50 participants.  Many, many people first heard of our program after this event and have bemoaned the fact to us that they missed it.  So we know that there are many people excited to see what JASP can do with P&P.  Also, now that we have finished our first round through all six of the major novels, we are excited to try out new ideas.  Our tentative plan is to alternate a JASP on a single Austen novel with a JASP that is a little more unusual.  So we will do P&P and its afterlives in 2019 and Austen’s teenage writings in 2020.  In revisiting P&P, we of course also want to do something new for those who did attend in our inaugural year.  We therefore are going to focus on the theme of adaptation.  P&P is Austen’s most broadly adapted work, so that gives us great opportunities to talk about how it has been re-envisioned in different genres — including vlogs, theater and film — as well as how it has been transported into different times and cultures.   This gives us some exciting ideas to work with.

What is it about “Pride and Prejudice” that makes it so easily translatable to other mediums and modernizations?

That’s the million-dollar question. Obviously, P&P has become the model for the romance genre, as others have written about. This has to do with the paradigm of the aristocratic landowner representing the old regime marrying the upstart egalitarian representative of democratic rebellions. In that sense, the paradigm is also a symbol of an attractive form of social progress. That’s only a small part of the picture, though. More generally, I think the scarcity of visual detail helps in the transportation of the plot and personalities to different contexts.  The echoes of Shakespeare, “Much Ado about Nothing,” for example, also point to what Austen herself is carrying forward in her novel.  It is interesting to think about the adaptation that she engages in as well.

What should participants be thinking about when reading “Pride and Prejudice”

Maybe the question you just asked me:  What IS it about the novel that makes it both so perfect and so eminently adaptable?  Why does it translate so well across cultures, and to which cultures does it translate the best?

What can participants look forward to at JASP 2019?

There are many pieces still falling into place, but I can give you a few highlights.  We have long wanted to have a dance historian talk about the symbolism and meaning behind the dances that we learn and dance at JASP.  We succeeded this year!  This is particularly appropriate since P&P is the only novel with a named dance — “La Boulangere.”  That dance is full of fun symbolism about a naughty playboy baker and his constant wife. We will also have Max Owre, a UNC historian, talk about the tension between France and England at the time of Austen’s writing and publication of P&P.  This cross-cultural tension isn’t immediately obvious in the novel, but you can find it in the novel when you start looking at the names of characters (D’arcy versus Darcy, for example, and de Bourgh) or at the contrasting styles of architecture and landscape.  We will also have three panels on afterlives instead of our usual one: There will be a panel about fictional adaptation, one on filmic adaptation, and a third on other media. And we hope to have a very special star of one of the adaptations come and join us!  I’ll keep you posted…

What’s your favorite part of P&P?

The wit and charm of the dialogue and the narrator, and maybe the odious bumbling of Mr Collins.

If you were any character in the book, who would it be?

Oh my, well, I think that my kids may sometimes view me as a bit of a Mrs. Bennet, but one can always hope to have a little bit of Elizabeth—can’t one?  The older I get, the greater is my sympathy with Charlotte Lucas.  I love the way that the novels change for us as we age.


Catching Up

Last week, the Jane Austen Summer Program received an award for excellence from the North Carolina Humanities Council.


During the program, Brodey and blogger Jennifer Abella discussed fandom, Jane Austen and JASP on the “Your Biggest Fangirl Podcast.” Check it out here!


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