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Jane Austen: From the Parlor to Politics

Evening Program

Thursday, October 26, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Code: 1M2928

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(National Portrait Gallery London)

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen. The passing years have increased her novels’ appeal as Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, the Dashwood sisters, and Emma Woodhouse and Mr. Knightley continue to delight us. But have you ever wondered how the real world informed Austen’s portrayals of the elegant confines of Pemberley and the social climbing of Pulteney Street in Bath? How did she introduce the reality of war and economic and social upheaval of late-18th- and early-19th-century England into the carefully crafted worlds of her novels?

Tudor and Renaissance scholar Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger takes Austen readers on a journey through the political, social, and cultural landscape of Regency England, a time of royal excesses and desperation among the lower classes. She provides context for an understanding of power and social structure as reflected in, for example, the characters Lady Catherine deBourgh and Emma Woodhouse. Lloyd-Stanger also explores the changing view of members of the military in society, the significance of the militia being quartered in the village of Meryton, and the differences displayed by such characters as Col. Brandon and Mr. Wickham. Understanding how Austen weaves subtle elements of Regency England into the lives of her characters brings a new level of appreciation for her work.

Lloyd-Stanger is a former manager of visitor education at the Folger Shakespeare Library.


S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)