Jane Austen Society of North America, Southwest Region
“Jane Austen is the pinnacle to which all other authors aspire.”
“I am a Jane Austenite, and therefore slightly imbecile about Jane Austen. She is my favorite author! I read and reread, the mouth open and the mind closed. Shut up in measureless content, I greet her by the name of most kind hostess, while criticism slumbers.”
—E. M. Forster
“What makes a classic is not that it is praised by critics, expounded by professors and studied in college classes, but that the great mass of readers, generation after generation, have found pleasure and spiritual profit in reading it. It is difficult to decide which is the best of [Austen’s novels] because they are all so good, and each one has its devoted, and even fanatic, admirers.”
“For those of us who suspect that all the mysteries of life are contained in the microcosm of the family, that personal relationships prefigure all else, the work of Jane Austen is the Rosetta stone of literature.”
“Jane Austen seems the writer nearest to a composer of classical music, her novels well-wrought symphonies; turbulent depths coexist with ordered surfaces and the ratio of the expected to the unexpected feels just as it should. Each time I read her — and she is one of the few novelists who can be read and reread — I know I have not exhausted the books; something has again escaped me, as it does from a concert performance of a complex musical piece.”
“The wit of Jane Austen has for partner the perfection of her taste. Never did any novelist make more use of an impeccable sense of human values. It is against the disc of an unerring heart, an unfailing good taste, an almost stern morality, that she shows up those deviations from kindness, truth, and sincerity which are among the most delightful things in English literature.”
“She has made leading ladies of the sensible sisters. She created a world where dashing, if arrogant, men seem to fall madly in love with the women who have more brains than fancy ribbons.”
“The witty precision of Austen’s style has entertained readers for nearly two hundred years without losing its freshness and power to delight, a testimony to her unparalleled genius and to the enduring powers of the English language.”
“The novels’ vitality is irresistible for us. The irony has kept its bite, the reasoning is still sweet, the sparkle undiminished. Their high spirits, their wit, their celerity and harmony of motion, their symmetry of design appear still unrivaled in the English novel. Jane Austen’s work at its best seems as nearly flawless as any fiction could be.”
Left: Jane Austen’s House Museum in Chawton, Hampshire, England
Founded in 1979, the nonprofit Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) is dedicated to the enjoyment and appreciation of Jane Austen and her writing. With some 75 regional groups across the United States and Canada, JASNA engages more than 5,000 members of all ages and walks of life. Each autumn, one of JASNA’s regional groups hosts a three-day, Austen-themed conference, the Annual General Meeting (AGM), which draws between 500 and 800 members from throughout North America.
About Jane Austen
(December 16, 1775 – July 18, 1817)
Although her life was short (she died at age 41) and she only completed six full-length novels, Jane Austen remains one of the world’s most popular and revered authors. Her works are timeless and enduring thanks to her incisive wit, memorable characters and mastery of the language.
In the resources section of our website, you will find additional information and links to materials on Austen, her works, film and television adaptations, film locations, what to read when you’re not reading Austen, and much more.
Our parent organization, the Jane Austen Society of North America, maintains extensive resources on Austen, including a brief biography, essays about her life, a chronology of her works, images of Austen and a wonderful series of maps of the locations (fictional and real) mentioned in her novels.
About JASNA Southwest
JASNA-Southwest, founded the same year as our parent organization, was among the first three regional groups established (along with New York and Chicago) and remains one of the largest and most active chapters.
Our region currently spans Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and Ventura counties, and previously included Arizona and Nevada before members based in those states created their own separate regional groups.
Run by a volunteer board of directors and staffed entirely by volunteers, JASNA-Southwest activities include:
- holding three annual meetings (Spring, Fall and Winter) featuring speakers and presentations on a wide range of topics
- supporting a dozen reading groups in locations throughout the region
- participating in the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
- providing other educational outreach throughout the region
- publishing a monthly e-newsletter
- developing new events and activities
- offering members the opportunity to attend occasional free film screenings and other special events
- periodically hosting the JASNA AGM (including the upcoming 2017 AGM)