Past Diversions Gallery

“Cassandra started & Maria seemed surprised; they trembled, blushed, turned pale & passed each other in a mutual silence. ”

Jane Austen Juvenilia
Tour, Tea and Talk

Dr. Marilyn Francus

Sunday, September 22, 2019
1:00 – 4:00 pm
Woodville Plantation, Bridgeville PA

We first enjoyed a thorough tour of Woodville, learning of its history.  Retiring to the still house, we savored some tea and assorted biscuits. 

Dr. Francus expertly led us through the reading and discussion of four selections from the juvenilia:  her miniature novel, The Beautiful Cassandra; the opening of her epistolary novel, Lesley Castle; a short play, The Visit; and an excerpt from The History of England.    We now have a sense of young Austen’s literary sensibilities, and the ways that they relate to her later work. 

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“And are you prepared to encounter all the horrors that a building such as ‘what one reads about’ may produce? “  

Northanger Abbey
Viewing and Discussion

Linda Troost and Sayre Greenfield

Linda and Sayre outlined the challenges filmmakers face when adapting Northanger Abbey.  The lure of the Gothic in the novel is hard for any filmmaker to resist, but Northanger Abbey is the most consciously modern of Austen’s works.  They discussed how difficult it is for a period film to capture a concept of modernity that is 200 years old.  After viewing the movie, we discussed these points as well as how the movie differs from the novel. 
We also had a visit from JASNA Ohio North Coast members who updated us on the upcoming 2020 AGM in Cleveland.

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” Oh! I am delighted with the book! I should like to spend my whole life in reading it. “

Annual Jane Austen Birthday Tea

Saturday, December 15, 2018
2:00 – 4:30 pm
Pittsburgh Friends’ Meeting House

After enjoying delightful tea with the most wonderful delicacies, we continued our celebration of the 200th anniversary of the publication of Northanger Abbey by reading the following scripted selections from the novel: Catherine & Isabella and the two young men from Chapter 6; marriage versus dancing from Chapter 10;  Blaize Castle from Chapter 11;  the walk to Beechen Cliff from Chapter 14;  and Henry Tilney’s Gothic Parody from Chapter 20.    It was excessively diverting!

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Mrs Smith, had shewn her kindness in one of those periods of her life when it had been most valuable.

Friendship in Persuasion Luncheon Michael Lewis, Speaker 

Saturday, October 27, 2018
11:30 am – 2:30 pm
Wyndham University Center
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We continued our celebration of 200 years of Persuasion and Northanger Abbey with a talk considering Anne Elliot’s relationships with Lady Russell and Mrs. Smith.  What do these ties, not based on blood or romance, tell us about Austen’s views of family, the social order, and literary art at the end of her career?  A lively discussion ensued debating the merits of the characters.

Michael Lewis is an assistant professor at Washington and Jefferson College, where he teaches and writes on nineteenth-century British literature from Austen to Dickens to Wilde.

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 Group trip to Kate Hamill’s version of  Pride and Prejudice 

Sunday,  October 14, 2018
2:00 pm
Pittsburgh Public Theater

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Regency Dancing with the Country Dance and Song Society of Pittsburgh 

Saturday, September 15, 2018
7:15 – 10 pm
Pittsburgh Friends’ Meeting House

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Northanger Abbey

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Jane Austen Festival –  March 2017

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