The Jane Austen Society

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Older material

Note: This page is mainly a relic of a period when none of the Jane Austen societies had official web-sites of their own, and it was often extremely difficult to find out information about upcoming events without already being a member of the society in question. None of the information below is being actively maintained, and much of it is probably obsolete.

Information is available about the following Societies:

Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA)

JASNA's mission is to foster the study, appreciation, and understanding of Jane Austen's works, her life and times, and her genius. To this end, the society not only provides benefits for its members, but through grants and other means, seeks to broaden knowledge of and interest in Jane Austen. As a member of JASNA, you will receive the journal Persuasions, which is published once a year (and which last year ran to 216 pages); the semi-annual newsletter JASNA News; the opportunity to participate in more than 40 regional group/local chapters across the U.S. and Canada; the opportunity to attend the society's weekend long annual meeting, which is held in a different location in the U.S. or Canada each year; and the chance to connect with thousands of others who revel in this author's work.

Two things set JASNA apart from many other literary organizations. First, it is an organization for people from all walks of life. Academics and lay people exchange ideas on equal ground. Second, it is fun. Attend one of our meetings, and you won't forget that Jane Austen was a comic writer.

The 1995 conference, focusing on Mansfield Park, was held Oct 6-8 1995 in Madison, Wisconsin. Plenary speakers were Emily Auerbach, Claudia Johnson, Jay Clayton (with a talk on "Fanny Price in Cyberspace"), and Marilynne Robinson. In addition, there were 18 break-out sessions, a performance of portions of "Lovers' Vows", a period church service, a "regency fair", and a special showing of the new Persuasion movie. A program of papers on Mansfield Park delivered at the conference is available.

The 1996 conference was held in Richmond, Virginia, on October 11-13; the theme was "Jane Austen and Her Men", and the keynote address was delivered by Brian Southam on why he concludes that a young Jane Austen wrote the play Sir Charles Grandison, and assessing the degree to which her male characters fit, or fail to fit, the ideal of Sir Charles.

The 1997 conference was held in San Francisco, Calif on Oct. 3-5, on "Sanditon: The New Direction?"

The 1998 conference was held in Quebec city on Oct. 9-11, on "Northanger Abbey: Gothic and More".

A "super-regional conference" of northwestern chapters of JASNA was to be held May 14-16, 1999 in Jasper, Alberta, Canada.

Curently-planned conferences include:

"Emma: Jane Austen at Her Peak", Oct. 8-10, Colorado Springs, Colorado
"Pride and Prejudice: Past, Present, Future", Oct. 13-15, Boston
"Pleasures, Pursuits, and Passions: Entertainment and Jane Austen", October 5-7, Seattle

There is a web page for the forthcoming 1999 Colorado Springs conference.

A one-hour radio program called "Jane Austen, the Janeites, and the Jane Austen Society of North America" was made available to American and Canadian public radio stations in September 1996. The program is the first of four one-hour programs on Jane Austen that Emily Auerbach is producing as part of her award-winning "Courage to Write" series. The "Janeites" program includes interviews with 37 people -- amateurs and scholars -- talking about what draws people to Austen and what sets JASNA apart from other literary groups; dramatizations of segments of the novels; music; and more.

The entire series of "Jane Austen and the Courage to Write" programs was made available to NPR stations in April, 1997. The four parts are:

  • "Jane Austen and a Style of Her Own"
  • "For Better or Worse: Jane Austen and Marriage"
  • "Pride and Prejudice: The Legacy of Jane Austen"
  • "Jane Austen, `Janeites', and the Jane Austen Society of North America"

They were created by Emily Auerbach of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and partially funded by a grant from JASNA.

The programs are also available for purchase in audiocassette form from the Audio Store of the University of Wisconsin-Madison (phone 1-800-97AUDIO, or write The Audio Store, 821 University Ave., Madison, WI 53706). A study guide is being created to accompany the tapes.

For further info on JASNA, contact , or call 1-800-836-3911.

Back issues of the journal Persuasions can be ordered from JASNA's publications secretary, Lee Ridgeway, 329 Meadow Lane, Monrovia, CA 91016, e-mail: .

In the dues categories below, "student" membership refers to any full-time student. A "family" membership refers to two individuals living at the same address. Both hold full membership privileges, but they receive only one copy of JASNA publications and other mailings. Life and sustaining members, in addition to other benefits, receive a semi-annual president's letter with news of the society between editions of JASNA News. Membership years run from December 16th to December 16th.

Membership secretary: (Checks should be in US dollars, made out to JASNA)
Barbara Larkin
2907 Northland Drive
Columbia, MO 65202
Annual student membership:
  • US, $15
  • Canada, CDN $24
  • International, US$24
Annual individual membership:
  • US, $23
  • Canada, CDN $32
  • International, US$32
Annual family membership:
  • US, $33
  • Canada, CDN $42
  • International, US$42
Annual sustaining membership:
  • US, $50
  • Canada, CDN $59
  • International, US$59
Individual Life membership:
  • US, $300
  • Canada, CDN $345
  • International, US$345
Canadian membership secretary: (Checks should be in Canadian dollars, made out to JASNA-Canada)
Nancy Stokes
105 195 Wynford Drive
Toronto M3C 3P3

The Jane Austen Society of Australia (JASA)

JASA was founded in July 1989 to bring together admirers of Jane Austen in this part of the world. We are a serious but not stuffy group, and scholars, enthusiasts, amateurs and professionals gather on equal terms to study and celebrate the genius of Jane Austen. We are interested in Jane's life, her writings and the era that gave shape to them both. Jane Austen's interests were unlimited, and so are ours.

Members meet every two months, and conferences and workshops are held at regular intervals. Jane's birthday is celebrated in December with a party.

JASA produces a twice yearly publication Sensibilities which is sent to all members. This journal includes transcripts of presentations at the bimonthly meetings,and other items of interest to members. It has been praised for its high literary standards.

Annual Membership details:
  • Individual A$30
  • Couple/family A$45
  • Student/Pensioner A$25
  • Overseas member A$35
Professor Yasmine Gooneratne
Susannah Fullerton
Vice President:
Yvette Field
Meg Hayward
Elizabeth Budge
Membership Secretary:
Brigitte Lucey
8 Charlotte Road
Pennant Hills
NSW 2120, Australia

The Jane Austen Society (U.K.)

Mr. Richard Knight
Mr. Brian Southam
Hon. Secretary
Miss. Maggie Lane

The Society was founded in 1940 with the purpose of securing the cottage in Chawton, Hampshire, where Jane Austen lived from 1809 until her death in 1817. In 1949 the Jane Austen Memorial Trust was established, which acquired and today owns and administers the house as a museum open to the public. There she revised her three early novels for publication and wrote the three novels of her maturity -- Mansfield Park, Emma and Persuasion.

The Society is active in its wider aim of honouring Jane Austen and promoting interest in her life and works, notably in its own important series of publications and in the address given by invited speakers at the Annual General Meeting held at Chawton House. These talks appear in the Society's Annual Report, which includes historical notes and articles, an annual bibliography of Jane Austen books and articles, book reviews and short notices. Annual Newsletters include a diary of events.

Independent regional groups are active in Bath and Bristol, Cambridge, Hampshire, Kent, London, Midlands, Norfolk, Northern, Southern and the Isle of Wight.

The Society's charitable activities include the restoration of the Revd. George Austen's tombstone at St. Swithin's Walcot Church, Bath.

For secondary school students, the Jane Austen Society published a GCSE Pack on Jane Austen and her work. It includes information on novels most often studied at the GCSE level, together with helpful approaches for students, biographical details about Jane Austen, and a resource list. The study pack has not been revised for several years and is no longer available from the society. However, you may view the original contents of this pack at

Annual Membership Subscriptions:

                   U.K.      Overseas
Individual       UK£  15      UK£  18
Life             UK£ 250      UK£ 300

Cheques and sterling money orders should be made payable to the Jane Austen Society. The Society is unable to accept payment made by credit card. (Note: members resident abroad are asked to pay subscriptions in British pounds sterling.)

For further information contact the Membership Secretary;

Mrs. Rosemary Culley
22 Belmont Grove
Havant, Hants. PO9 3PU
(Voice telephone: 01705-475855
fax: 01705-788842
or e-mail

Jane Austen's House and Museum

Chawton is a village in the north-east of the county of Hampshire, about 52 miles south of London and one mile south-west of Alton (a small market town which can be reached in one hour by train from Waterloo station, London).

On July 7th 1809, Jane Austen moved to a cottage in Chawton, together with her mother, her sister Cassandra, and their friend Martha Lloyd, at the invitation of her brother Edward Knight, on whose estate it lay. Their new house was a late 17th Century brick building with two sitting rooms, five bedrooms, kitchens, garrets, outbuildings, and about two acres of grounds. It had once been an inn, and stood at the junction where the Gosport and Winchester roads met and became the main road to London. Now known as Jane Austen's House and Museum, the cottage is open to the public. Chawton Great House is five minutes' walk away and dates from Elizabethan times. It is now being restored by an American charitable trust and will become an international centre for the study of early English women's writing -- including Jane Austen. The village is set in a broad wooded valley and, since a by-pass has taken the traffic away, is now very much as Jane Austen would have known it. St. Nicholas' Church, in the grounds of Chawton House, was rebuilt in 1871. The graves of Mrs. Austen and Cassandra lie in the churchyard.

Jane Austen's House and Museum at Chawton (near Alton, Hampshire) is open from 11 a.m. - 4.30 p.m. on the following days of the week, according to season:

Jane Austen's House and Museum
March 1st to January 1st:
daily (except Christmas Day and Boxing Day)
January and February:
Saturdays and Sundays and school half-term days

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