The Super Regional Gala celebrated the 200th anniversary of the publication of Sense and Sensibility.

The Huntington provided a beautiful setting for day one of the conference.

Speakers Peter Graham, Joan Klingel Ray and Mary Robertson

The Huntington’s Friends Hall was packed for the Saturday presentations.

“An Evening of Frivolous Pleasure” featured English country dancing to a live band.

A break from the dancing

Decidedly un-Regency posturing

Spring 2011

Super Regional Gala

Sense and Sensibility: Jane Austen’s Problem Child?

May 14–15, 2011

The Huntington Library and Westin Hotel, Pasadena


Joan Ray — Sense and Sensibility: Jane Austen’s Most Problematic Novel
Peter Graham — Sense and Sensibility and Siblings
Mary Robertson — The Curator’s Dilemma: Displaying Jane Austen’s World at the Huntington
Alice Villaseñor and Ruth Blandon — Sense and Sensibility Masala: From Hollywood to Bollywood
Clarissa Esguerra — Sartorial Sense and Sensibility: Men’s and Women’s Fashions in the Era of Jane Austen
Melissa Hoyt-Heydon — Dressing Mr. Darcy


Janeites from all over the country gathered at the lovely Huntington Library, Art Collection and Botanical Gardens, and the Westin Pasadena Hotel, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s first published novel, Sense and Sensibility.

Friends Hall at the Huntington was packed for Saturday speakers Joan Klingel Ray, Peter Graham and Mary Robertson.

Peter Graham, professor of English at Virginia Tech and author of Jane Austen & Charles Darwin: Naturalists and Novelists, spoke about how nature and nurture interact to produce variation in the character development of the various sibling groups portrayed in Sense and Sensibility.

Joan Klingel Ray — professor of English and President’s Teaching Scholar at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, president of the North American Friends of Chawton House Library, past president of JASNA and the author of Jane Austen for Dummies — had much to say about what makes Sense and Sensibility “Jane Austen’s Most Problematic Novel.”

Mary Robertson, the William A. Moffett curator of British history at the Huntington Library, provided an inside look at the decisions and dilemmas involved in preparing the special exhibition “Revisiting the Regency: England, 1811-1820,” on display in the library’s West Hall during the symposium.

On Saturday night, after gathering in Pasadena restaurants for dinner, many reconvened at the conference hotel, the Westin Pasadena, for “An Evening of Frivolous Pleasure,” featuring English country dancing to a live band. Judee Provonost taught and called the dances.

The Westin Hotel in Pasadena was the setting for the second day of the super regional meeting.

Ruth Blandón, assistant professor of English at East Los Angeles College, and Alice Villaseñor — director of public humanities initiatives for USC’s Joint Educational Project and recent visiting fellow at the Chawton House Library — highlighted the transcultural feminist issues in Kandukodain Kandukondain, a little known Bollywood adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, and touched upon other film adaptations, such as the recently released From Prada to Nada.

Mela Hoyt-Heydon — celebrated costume designer, milliner, make-up artist, and resident designer and design instructor at Fullerton College — demonstrated how to assemble Regency rra attire that would suit even the fastidious and elegant Beau Brummell.

Clarissa Esguerra, curatorial assistant of costumes and textiles at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), discussed LACMA’s exhibit “Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700-1915,” and the sartorial sense and sensibilities of Jane Austen’s world.

Sunday speakers Alice Villaseñor (fourth from left) and Ruth Blandón (fifth from left) with local high school seniors and their teacher Jacqueline Barrios

Sunday speakers Ruth Blandón, Alice Villanseñor, Mela Hoyt-Heydon and Clarissa Esguerra

The conference ended with shopping opportunities at the Regency emporium.

Mela Hoyt-Hayden directing her team for her presentation “Dressing Mr. Darcy”

Attendees got to view the clothes up close.

Attendees learned the proper way to tie a cravat.