Twenty-one people, including our two speakers, attended the April 6, 2019 meeting of the JASNA Southwest Florida Region to hear a new take on Jane Austen’s women – our best attendance ever! We all but overflowed the small conference room at Lakes Regional Library in Fort Myers, Florida.
The Heroism of Jane Austen’s Heroines
Our main speaker was Dr. Kathleen Anderson, Professor of English at Palm Beach Atlantic University and author of the new book Jane Austen’s Women: An Introduction from SUNY Press.
Joining Dr. Anderson, (and us!) was Jordan Von Cannon, Assistant Professor of English at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, who co-wrote a chapter in Dr. Anderson’s book. Using evidence from Austen’s novels and letters, they examine the qualities that turn Jane Austen’s women into heroines.
Jane’s Concept of Women’s Health
The book is divided into three sections. Women and the Body, examines Strength, Sex, and Austenian Wellness; Women’s Natures, discusses Mood, Mind, Spirit, and Female Giftedness; and Women and Others is an exploration of The Female Self in Environmental, Social, and Imaginative Space.
Among other topics covered at the meeting, Dr. Anderson argued that moderation and civility are central to Jane’s concept of health and crucial elements of her protagonists’ heroism. Members engaged in plenty of discussion, of course, as we tried to relate these ideas to Jane Austen’s very different, very special women.
Following the meeting, one of our members, hosted an outing for our speakers and those who were able to attend, a total of 12 people, to tea, coffee, and treats at The Grind Coffee House and Roaster. It was a perfect ending to a fantastic afternoon and a great wrap-up to a successful season.
Looking Ahead to Autumn
Our next meeting will take place in November… almost time for another Jane Austen Birthday Tea!
Karen Auriti is a member of JASNA SWFL and writes Regency era novels under the pen name Kerryn Reid. Her novel, Learning to Waltz, won the Chanticleer Award for Best Regency Romance. Also look for her contemporary novella, Butterfly in a Hurricane, winner of the Royal Palm Literary Award. To find out more about Karen and her writing, please visit her website, http://kerrynreid.com.