May 2010 Meeting: Conference presentation brainstorm

8 members attended the JASACT meeting on 15 May.

We brainstormed ideas for JASACT’s Conference presentation: Rakes, rattles and the Regency: Austen’s bad boys. Speakers are Anna (Crawford and Churchill); Marilyn (Wickham and Willoughby); and Bill (the other men of Mansfield). Sarah will give a brief overview (including definitions) in the introduction and close. There will also be time for questions.

Our discussion focused on definitions for rakes and rattles. We even pondered such questions as do young rattles become old rakes? Sue referred to Janet Todd’s chapter on Manners in Jane Austen in Context (p203), comparing the deceptively easy manners and charms of Crawford and Churchill to the true gentility of, for example, Mr Knightly. We also discussed Glenda Hudson’s recent talk on Sibling love in Jane Austen’s fiction revisited, where she suggests that Austen’s true purpose was to provide a model for safety and security within the family, protecting themselves from unwelcome outside influences and ensuring continuation of the dynasty. If we accept this premise then Fanny and Edmund must marry and Henry cannot be redeemed. It was also suggested that a comparison of the novels and films might be useful, e.g. why Willoughby’s confession is mostly ignored in the films.

Sarah reported on her participation in the 2010 Canberra Jane Austen Festival. Her talk generated some lively discussion, mash ups included.

We concluded with the usual round of quotations and a great multiple-choice quiz on Regency life and times. A few lucky guesses helped us to a good score. Many thanks to Sue for providing this entertaining and informative quiz.

Business matters included:

Sue advised that the Friends Room at the NLA is being relocated to another part of the Library and from July will no longer be available for JASACT meetings. For at least the remainder of the year the Library has offered another venue. Several members offered to investigate alternative venues. Sue will post info regarding the venue for the rest of year on the blog once it is finalised.

Topics for the next 3 meetings were decided:

  • June (last meeting in the Friends Room): Discussion on Mansfield Park from other sources.
  • July: JASACT to compile Conference quiz – thinking caps on.
  • August: Run through of JASACT’s Conference presentation.

All agreed to Cheng’s suggestion that we record talks by visiting speakers. Cheng will investigate cost of suitable recording equipment.

Sue has organised a pre-conference visit to the NLA on the Friday, from 2.30-3.30pm, to view the Austen letter and other items of interest, possibly including Dickens’ letters. Sue is the contact person. Sarah suggested we also offer transport from the hotel.


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