JANE AUSTEN'S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION A LITTLE EARLY...
Yes, JASNA-WI pushed ahead a month or so so that we could hear the Jane Austen Society of North America's President Claire Bellanti address us. The weather cooperated and it was a sunny and warm day for our usually dreary November in Wisconsin. I guess Claire brought her California weather along for the trip.
Jane Glaser, Liz Cooper, and Clair Bellanti chat before luncheon
Carolyn Hippert, Regional Coordinator Judith Beine, and Kathleen O'Brien
Beef Wellington is always a favorite
I opted for the Walleyed Pike and it was delicious
JASNA President Claire Bellanti shows off the cake for Jane's 240th year
though her actual birthday is not until December 16
Judy Beine convenes our celebration
Liz Philosophos Cooper. JASNA Vice President for Regions
introduced our speaker
Claire Bellanti told us
"You Can Get a Parasol at Whitby's": Circulating Libraries in Jane Austen's Time
In her unfinished novel Sanditon, Jane Austen has her characters observe the many fine services offered at the local circulating library as indicative of the prospects for a happy future in the developing seaside resort. Jane and her sister Cassandra used circulating libraries, a major source of reading material for individuals of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. A fee was charged for subscriptions that could be by the year or for shorter periods of time.
Hall's Circulating Library, Margate
Ms. Bellanti discussed the forces that created the circulating libraries; of course there were no public libraries in Britain in those days. And the costs of paper, printing and binding were high. So the main impetus for the sharing of books was economic. The costs of subscriptions varied widely but were probably no more than the price of one book.
Temple of the Muses, Lackington Allen and Co., Finsbury Square, 1809