Registration is now open for our meeting at the Pasadena Central Library from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8.

Collins Hemingway will present “Persuasion and the Art and Science of Austen’s Fiction.” Erika Kotite and Lynda Hall will discuss “A Room of Anne’s Own: Homelessness and Female Spaces in Persuasion.”

Hemingway will examine the novel in terms of how Austen created, step by step, the four practical, believable storylines. He will use the personalities and actions of specific characters (Mrs. Smith, Lady Russell, Captain Wentworth, William Elliot, Mrs. Clay) to show Austen’s plan and intent as an artist.  At the conclusion of his talk, we’ll have explored the novel front to back in a new way — from the inside out — and the audience will have a much more detailed understanding of the actions and motivations of the characters, as well as a better understanding of how Austen tackled the book on both a strategic and tactical level as a writer.
In Kotite and Hall’s talk, they will focus on women in the Regency era, and the lack of space to call their own. Anne Elliot is a woman without a permanent home during most of the story, and a woman who is clearly seeking space in which to thrive. She is moved from her ancestral mansion to her sister’s cottage, to rented rooms in Lyme Regis and then in Bath. We might presume that she will eventually find her home on board her husband’s ship. Along her journey she finds places to visit and to sit — a piano bench, a snug sofa, “a dry sunny bank under a hedge-row,” a friend’s sick room, a concert and eventually standing near a window to engage in the conversation that alters the course of her life. But does Anne ever find a room of her own?
This talk will explore Anne’s journey as she moves through the various spaces in Persuasion, seeking the happy ending to her story. This talk will be a dialogue between Lynda Hall, an Austen scholar and professor, and Erika Kotite, an editor and writer with expertise in small structures and the contemporary “she shed” phenomenon. As they explore the world of Austen’s last completed novel, they will also consider how Austen was writing it within the relatively cramped quarters of Chawton Cottage, how readers over the past two centuries have found the space to read and to imagine a life like Anne Elliot’s, and how contemporary women are still seeking a “room of one’s own.”
We hope to see you there! Registration closes Thursday, Sept. 6.