A writer, reader, and Austen lover spends a year (or more) embarking on a course of study similar to that perhaps undertaken by Marianne in Sense and Sensibility, without the benefit of Colonel Brandon’s library and with room for diversions, digressions, and (hopefully) fun fieldwork.
You all may or may not know that I'm a Goucher graduate. It was alma mater of Alberta Burke who, with her husband Henry, created an amazing collection of works by or related to Jane Austen.
If you'd like to listen to Goucher College Librarian Nancy Magnuson's lecture on this collection:
PODCAST AVAILABLE OF NANCY MAGNUSON'S LECTURE ON BURKE COLLECTION Goucher College Librarian, Nancy Magnuson, was the guest speaker at the fifth annual Jane Austen Birthday Tea at the Omaha Public Library on December 13. Her talk, "A Collector’s Love Story," tells of Alberta and Henry Burke and their travels to build one of the world’s finest library collections devoted to Jane Austen. The Burke collection is housed in the Special Collections at the Goucher College Library.
From a wide and often obscure variety of sources, the Burkes collected articles about the life and times of Jane Austen, her works, films and offshoots of her works, and the publishing and collecting of Jane Austen materials. Included are typescripts of screen adaptations and articles, some written by Henry Burke, and some unpublished writing. There is correspondence between the Burkes and other Janeites, particularly David Gilson, and some JASNA materials. Photocopies of Jane Austen's letters and a list of dissertations about her should be of use to researchers.
Alberta Burke's scrupulously kept records provide a wealth of information for bibliographers and collectors. Stuck into her heavily annotated Jane Austen: A Bibliography by Geoffrey Keynes is her handwritten list of "books not listed by Keynes in Period of Bibliography." The Burkes collected auction and exhibit catalogues as well as publishers' announcements, and much of the correspondence includes bibliographic information.
The other areas of interest to the Burkes, particularly costume and travel, are well represented in the Collection. The papers of the Burke family, such as photographs, recipes, a marriage certificate and a few other documents, are also available.
The collection also includes Bicentenary postage stamps, a doll, engraved silver plaques commemorating the novels, a cameo bisque porcelain plaque, mug and pillbox, and mementos of locations such as Chawton or places mentioned in the novels.
(Turn down your speakers, it comes on rather loud, so be ready! There is also lots of 'housekeeping' at the beginning so start around minute 5 and you should be close to the introduction of Nancy Magnuson and the start of her talk.)
The talk took place on the same day as the JASNA Maryland Chapter's celebration of Jane's birthday, so Nancy leads a toast at the end. Here is the text of the toast (also done at JASNA):
Jane lies at Winchester--
Blessed be her shade!
Praise the Lord for making her
And her for all she made!
And while the stones of Winchester,
Or Milsom Street remain,
Glory, love, and honor
Unto England’s Jane!
- Rudyard Kipling, Epigraph to "The Janeites"
If you'd like to read this short story, you can find it here: The Janeites
I'm program director for literary arts for my state arts council. I direct the state Poetry Out Loud program for the NEA. I have degrees. I teach writing. I've published my work. I write novels, poetry, and plays. I love chocolate, am talkative, a realist and idealist, prefer flannel to silk, am a real blonde, and consider books my life - reading them, writing them, smelling them, tasting them (yeah, I've licked a page or two in my time. Who hasn't?).
Jane Austen: Lady Susan/The Watsons/Sanditon, Penguin, 1974 (intro Margaret Drabble)
Claire Tomalin: Jane Austen, A Life. Vintage Books, New York, 1997.
Jane Austen: Persuasion - Penguin Classics Series, edited by Gillian Beer. April, 2003.
Ann Radcliffe: The Mysteries of Udolpho with intro by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Dover Publications, New York, 2004 (originally G.G. and J. Robinson, London, 1794 and titled: The Mysteries of Udolpho, A Romance; Interspersed with Some Pieces of Poetry.
Jane Austen: Northanger Abbey, with intro by Alfred Mac Adam, Columbia University. Barnes & Noble classic, New York, 2005. (1818)
Jane Austen: Mansfield Park, with intro by Amanda Claybaugh, Columbia University. Barnes & Noble classic, New York, 2004 (1814)
Jane Austen: Sense and Sensibility with intro and notes by Laura Engel. A Barnes and Noble Classics Book. New York, 2004. (1811)
Jane Austen: Emma, A Signet Classic with an Afterword by Graham Hough. The New American Library of Canada, Limited, 1964.
Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice -The World's Classics edition, edited by James Kinsley, with intro by Isobel Armstrong. Oxford University Press, 1990.