DAYTON, Ohio — A taste of 19th century England is coming to Ohio as Wright State University hosts a conference and celebration marking the 200th anniversary of publication of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.”
“Pride and Prejudice: The Bicentennial,” running Oct. 10-12, will feature presentations by scholars from around the world, theatrical performances, an English tea party and a formal Regency Ball.
The three-day event is open to the public. It also includes displays of student research, discussion groups and opportunities for workshops.
It was conceived by Crystal Lake, an assistant English professor at the university.
Lake was a visiting fellow two summers ago at the Chawton House Library in England, near the house where Austen lived while she was writing the book. Discussing the experience with faculty and students when she returned persuaded her there’s an enduring love for the story of Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy, morals, manners and marriage.
“I also realized that Wright State could join a global community, not only to celebrate Austen’s work but also to create an innovative educational experience that would benefit our students as well as others in the Dayton area,” she said in a release.
Lake said the ball is intended to immerse participants in the popular culture of Austen’s day. Period dress is optional but elegant-formal is expected.
“Guests can expect to be transported back to the year 1813,” she said, promising “some delightful surprises.”
Among visiting scholars will be Janine Barchas, author and associate professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin. She recently launched a digital humanities project called WhatJaneSaw.org that has drawn national attention.
Devoney Looser, author and associate professor of English at Arizona State University, will also participate. She’s in the midst of a book-length project on Austen and feminism and competes in roller derbies under the name “Stone Cold Jane Austen.”
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