THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY
OF BUENOS AIRES
Welcome to JASBA, The Jane Austen Society of Buenos Aires, Argentina, a Latin American association for those who wish to share their appreciation of Jane Austen.
THE HISTORY OF “THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY”
It all began quite quietly and simply -as the nice things in this world usually do- about sixty years ago, in 1940, to be precise. Dorothy Darnell had the bright idea and it caught on. It has today about twelve branches and close on two thousand members.
Then, in 1975, Canadian-born Joan Austen-Leigh, great-great-great-niece of the novelist, met Jack Grey of New York, a fellow Janeite, at Chawton, and they decided to launch JASNA, the Jane Austen Society of North America, covering the U.S.A. and Canada. JASNA has today between four and five thousand members.
JASNA gave birth to JASA, the Jane Austen Society of Australia, with independent centres at Sidney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Nora Walker founded JASA in about 1990. They have today about four hundred and fifty members.
There are also Jane Austen Societies in Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Malaysia and Central Africa. None in China, India or Japan, which surprises me because people there are great readers and well up in European literature. Jane Austen would appeal, I am sure, to the oriental mind. That film we all liked so much, “The Remains of the Day”, was based upon a novel about English life by a Japanese. Jane Austen would have loved the book, and the author, I am sure, is consciously or unconsciously a Janeite.
Now about ourselves.
We were the first and are still the only Jane Austen Society in South America. Be proud of the fact, keep the home fires burning, organize your events, publish your proceedings, make our Centre as good as any other. But we have no money, you cry. Yes, you have. It’s in your own pockets and purses.
I founded The Buenos Aires or B.A. Jane Austen Society on August 26th, 1997, at 2934 Güemes Street, and the Act of Foundation hangs framed in my room at 2932 Güemes Street for anyone to see. In other words, we have been going, in existence for just over three years. In that short space of time we have re-read the six famous novels, read the three unfinished ones, and viewed the superb B.B.C. videograms. No mean achievement! I doubt whether as much has been done in so short a space of time by any other Jane Austen Society anywhere else in the world.
This sounds like blowing your own trumpet, which you are not supposed to do in polite society. But, as I always say, if you don’t, who else will? Perhaps, though, we shouldn’t crow too loud or think we’re the cat’s whiskers. Let us remember that Jane Austen herself, in the seven years she lived at Chawton, revised her first three novels and wrote another three. All in the parlour of the little house at Chawton, with all the interruptions you can imagine because she was a housekeeper as well as a writer, on a little rectangular writing-desk (inherited by Joan Austen-Leigh and presented by her to the British Library) with a quill pen and ink and in longhand. No shorthand for her, or secretaries, fountain or ballpoint pens or biromes, or copying agencies, or computers or any of the gadgets we pampered children of the Technological Revolution resort to!
The Jane Austen Society of Buenos Aires
Prof. Nadine Aguilar
Güemes 3758- 6th floor “A” / (1425) Buenos Aires / Argentina
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Booklet (available) with the main points made by Mr. Patrick Dudgeon in his talk to the Jane Austen Society of Buenos Aires.
Invitation to submit…
Newsletter Nº 6, 2008
THE JANE AUSTEN
OF BUENOS AIRES
Doris Thoroughgood Godward
Litty Onetti de Mora
Susana de Tezanos Pinto
March 18th, 2008