“The Misfortune of Poetry” – One AGM presentation in preview mode

Members were honored to get a preview of “The Misfortune of Poetry: Retrenching Through Literature in Persuasion and Sanditon” by our RC (regional coordinator) Sara Dustin.

Professor Dustin gave us a preview of her presentation planned for the JASNA AGM (Annual General Meeting) in September where she will be speaking.  She discussed possible interpretations of Austen’s references to the Romantic literature of her time.

It was a beautiful spring day in Estero at the South County Regional Library where we held our May 5th meeting. Sara’s presentation began after a short video about Jane Austen’s house in Chawton. Chawton House was Jane Austen’s final home.

Literary References in Austen’s Late Work

Concentrating on the last novels, Professor Dustin drew our attention to Anne Elliot’s talk with the suffering Capt. Benwick in Persuasion, where Anne suggests that

“it was the misfortune of poetry, to be seldom safely enjoyed by those who enjoyed it completely; and that the strong feelings which alone could estimate it truly, were the very feelings which ought to taste it but sparingly.”

The next focal point was that figure of fun from Sanditon, Sir Edward Denham. He has read Scott and the other Romantic poets of the day but cannot recall who wrote what and hasn’t enough innate sense to balance their romanticism with pragmatism – unlike the book’s heroine, Charlotte, and Jane Austen herself.

Was Jane Austen Herself a Romantic?

Approximately ten of us (some snowbirds have already flown north) attended the talk. The enthusiastic discussion (and an impressive amount of knowledge) about the Romantic Poets and novelists Jane Austen read, tried to answer Dustin’s question: Should Jane be classified as one of them?  We’ll leave you to ponder that as the AGM approaches!

Plans for Our All-Day Mini-Con!

Following the presentation, we worked on plans for our winter season, beginning November 3, 2018, with a recap of the AGM and a kick-off of the Northanger Abbey theme. But the focus was on our February 2019 mini-con. Dates, cost, format and programming were all reviewed, with assignments for further action. (Hint: Dance steps and Regency-era costuming!) Stay tuned as we finalize plans.