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Do you wonder what married life was like for Pride and Prejudice’s most romantic couple? How might have Mr. Darcy and the former Elizabeth Bennet spent their days at Pemberley? Find out when you immerse yourself in all things Jane Austen in the company of Sandy Lerner, founder and chairman of trustees of Chawton House Library and the Centre for the Study of Early English Women’s Writing.
From an overview of Austen’s world to the details of life at a grand country house, you’ll be swept into the Regency era along with your favorite characters. How do you navigate the protocols of the dining table and the ballroom? Did Mr. and Mrs. Collins prove to be a good match? What style of undergarments did Mr. Darcy favor? All, dear readers, will be revealed. Wear your favorite Regency ensemble to add to the fun.
Lerner (as Ava Farmer) is the author of Second Impressions (Chawton House Press), a sequel to Austen’s beloved novel. The book will be available for signing.
9:30 to 10:45 a.m. Jane’s World
An overview of England in the time of Austen.
11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Downstairs at Pemberley
Take a fascinating look at food, clothing, and domestic life.
12:15 to 1:15 p.m. Lunch (Participants provide their own lunch)
1:15 to 2:30 p.m. May I Sign Your Dance Card?
Understand the steps and social graces at country dances and royal balls.
2:45 to 3:45 p.m. Who Marries Wickham?
Test your knowledge in a trivia quiz as you enjoy sherry and biscuits.
4 to 4:30 p.m. Life Ten Years Later
How do the Darcys fare in a changed post-Napoleonic world?
Light refreshments included
After a career in business that included co-founding Cisco Systems, Sandy Lerner established Chawton House Library in 2003. It houses a collection of books, some dating back more than 400 years old, whose owners included Jane Austen’s brother, Edward Austen Knight, who lived on the estate in rural Hampshire. Jane Austen, her mother, and sister once lived in the nearby village. Learn more about Chawton House Library’s role as a literary research center on its site.
Elizabeth Bennet (Jennifer Ehle) and Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth) share a dance and some frosty words in this scene from the 1995 television adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.
S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Drive, SW
Metro: Smithsonian Mall Exit (Blue/Orange)