On a visit to the New York Public Library yesterday, I became enchanted with the Penguin Classics kiosk installation adjacent to the gift shop. Among the titles with cover art by Ruben Toledo were a few by Jane Austen. Back at my computer, this is what I discovered:
Sunday, December 8, is Jane Austen’s birthday. If you are a fan of the writer who
can be called "the Candace Bushnell of her era," it’s likely that you might find a way to join the celebration, with events taking place in cities from coast to coast. Following is a sampling of
parties scheduled for this weekend and next. PS: This year is the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice.
Burlington, Vermong Champlain College, December 8, 2-5 pm. “The Annual Jane Austen Birthday Tea!! With UVM’s Rebecca McLaughlin. ‘Dear Jane: How Do I Choose the Right Spouse?’ Or, Why Does Mr. Darcy Get the Girl?’ with lots of film clips and quizzes!” Information.
Cumberland, Maryland The Bruce House Inn, December 18, 2-4 pm. “Join us for a most memorable tea to celebrate the Author's birthday! Enjoy savoury sandwiches, delectable sweets, tea, sherry and punch, while being entertained by soprano Angela Merrithew with a concert of Austen-inspired music. Bring your favorite Austen quote or excerpt to share, and enjoy the atmosphere of the historic 1840 Bruce House, beautifully decorated for the season!” Information
Salt Lake City, Utah The Peary Hotel, 1-3 pm, December 8. “A regular (and scrumptious) afternoon tea with a selection of teas, hot chocolates, sandwiches, scones and cakes, $10. Full period dress optional but very much encouraged!” Information.
Omaha, Nebraska The Omaha Public Library, Millard Branch, December 14, 2-4 pm. “Light English fare, tea and a special presentation by Jane Austen scholar Laura MooneyhamWhite. Her presentation, 'Under the Hood: Data-Mining and Austen’s Habits of Speech,' will explain how computing can help us see how Austen created thought and speech in her novels.” Information.
Sacramento, California Central Sacramento Public Library, December 8, 1:30-4 pm. “You are cordially invited to the fourth annual Jane Austen Birthday Tea. This year we celebrate 200 years of Pride and Prejudice with delicious food, beautiful music, and lively dancing. Doors will open at 1:30 to a book sale and silent auction featuring Jane Austen-inspired gifts. Dining will begin at 2:00.” Information.
Born in 1775 to George and Cassandra Austen in the English village of Steventon, Jane Austen grew up in a highly literate family. Austen's father was an Oxford-educated clergyman and her mother was a humorous, aristocratic woman. Educated only briefly outside of her home, Austen read freely in her father's library of 500 books, which left her better educated than most young girls of the time. While her family never anticipated she would be a published writer (not considered an appropriate profession for a young lady of her background), within the walls of their household she was encouraged to write. More.
Art of the Book continues through Saturday, December 14 [not Sunday December 8]. The Cooper Union School of Art, Foundation Building, 2nd Floor Lobby, 7 East 7th Street, NY, NY. Information. Directions. The course in which these artists books were made is taught by Professor Margaret Morton