27 October 2016 Susannah

Jane Austen Societies Around the World

The Jane Austen Society Australia

I’ve just returned from a long overseas trip, which ended in Washington DC where I attended a conference organised by the Jane Austen Society of North America on Emma. It was so amazing to be in a room full of 850 people who all love that novel!

White shirt worn by Colin Firth

White shirt worn by Colin Firth in the 1995 TV version of Pride and Prejudice

I gave a talk on its opening sentence, and took part in a panel discussion with representatives from the Jane Austen Society of Pakistan, the Jane Austen Society of Brazil, the Jane Austen Society of the UK and the Jane Austen Society of North America. Many people at the conference signed up to receive this newsletter, so a big welcome to all my American and Canadian readers. I also got to view an exhibition on ‘Will and Jane’ looking at the cult of celebrity concerning Austen and Shakespeare. On display was the famous white shirt worn by Colin Firth in the 1995 TV version of Pride and Prejudice. The moment when he dives into the lake has been voted the favourite TV moment of all time!

Before going to the USA I was in Italy where I had the huge pleasure of taking part in the world’s first joint meeting of JASA (the Jane Austen Society of Australia) and JASIT (the Jane Austen Society of Italy). Several members of each society were present, a certificate was created and signed to mark the historic occasion, and lots of new friendships were made. Jane Austen is truly international, and a love of her books can make you lovely friends all around the world.

PURCHASE on YouTube: BBC Pride & Prejudice 1995


Are you a member of an international society, or a member of JASA? Tell me about conferences you have attended. Share your comments below.


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Featured image credit- Banner image from https://jasa.com.au/
Body image credit- White shirt worn by Colin Firth in the 1995 TV version of Pride and Prejudice

Comments (6)

  1. María

    May I ask what is your favourite adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and your favourite Mr. Darcy on screen? Thank you.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      I think the best Mr Darcy is Colin Firth, but my favourite film version is the 1980 BBC version with Elizabeth Garvie as Elizabeth Bennet. The screenplay was by Fay Weldon and was generally very good, and for me Elizabeth Garvie was just the perfect Lizzy.

  2. Brian Doyle

    I couldn’t agree more Susannah, it should be compulsory reading for all secondary students and you of course you be required to set the examination papers

  3. Philip Holberton

    “Emma”: 850 people who all love that novel! Well-deserved exclamation mark! When I was exploring literature at University I thought I’d better sample Jane Austen and made the terrible error of starting with “Emma.” I found the heroine absolutely poisonous and I couldn’t finish the book. It put me off her other works for years; luckily I overcame my aversion there, because I love them all (with “Persuasion” top of the list). I still haven’t managed to get through “Emma” and I haven’t even been able to sit through a movie version.
    However I have Jane herself on my side. In his “Memoir” her nephew James Austen-Leigh records her own opinion: “I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.”

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Oh Philip, a life without ‘Emma’ in it is a deprived life. I’m glad you came to love some of Jane Austen’s other novels, but amongst most JA critics ‘Emma’ is known as “the book of books” because of its brilliance. And as for Emma herself, I love her so dearly. However, that does come with rereading of the novel. It should be reread at least once a year. Do give it another try??

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