Celebrating all things Jane Austen

By Costa Maragos Posted: September 13, 2017 6:00 a.m.

Members of the English Students' Association celebrating Jane Austen Day
Members of the English Students' Association celebrating Jane Austen Day Photos courtesy of External Relations

200 years after her death, Jane Austen still matters.

The famed English author of Pride and Prejudice and other classics is being celebrated in a big way, on and off campus.

September 13 has been proclaimed by Regina Mayor Michael Fougere as Jane Austen Day, a celebration of the author’s contributions to literature, fashion and culture.

U of R English students are a big part of those celebrations.
“I have always loved Jane Austen,” says Tanisha Khan, a third-year English student and President of the English Students’ Association. “We have big Jane Austen fans on campus. One should never underestimate the voracity of Austen fans.”

The Jane Austen Festival got going September 6, with a Jane Austen costume display at the downtown Public Library. The festival culminates with the Regency Ball at the U of R September 23, hosted by the English Students' Association.

In the meantime, most of the events are taking place at the downtown location of Regina’s Public Library. Austen film nights feature introductions from U of R professors, Dr. Susan Johnston, Dr. Chris Bundock and Dr. Alexis McQuigge.

“The library talked to us about getting involved and it just grew from there,” says Khan, whose favourite Austen book is Pride and Prejudice.

On September 23, a Jane Austen Colloquium takes place at the Archer Library, culminating with the Jane Austen Regency Ball at the Multi-purpose room at the Riddell Centre.

People attending are encouraged to dress in period costumes and dabble in the food that Jane Austen would have enjoyed.

“They had different food back then. There was a lot of jellied food and salads with herbs and mustard greens. There were lots of great desserts such pound cakes with berries. Chef Moe Mathieu from Luther College Catering is preparing a wonderful meal and tea for us,” says Khan.

All this attention to Austen has sparked further interest into the author’s work. Khan hopes for something more.

“Even today, anytime there is a woman writer, her work gets classified as women’s literature,” says Khan. “I think Jane Austen is treated the same way, just romance. But that is not all it is. There is so much more to an Austen book than romance and a wedding at the end. Her books show the nuances of family relationships and friendships while parodying and looking critically at social norms.”

For tickets to the Jane Austen Regency Ball, please visit here.    

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