One of the Jane Austen Society’s main aims is to foster the appreciation and study of the life, works and times of Jane Austen and the Austen family. The Society is always keen to deliver talks to meet this aim.
If you would like to arrange a speaker to come and talk to your group, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. It would be very helpful if you could include the name of your organisation, the venue, your preferred date and time of day for the talk, and the duration of your meeting.
Talks are usually illustrated and generally last from 45 to 75 minutes. There is no speaker’s fee, though reasonable travel expenses may be requested. Donations to the Society are warmly welcomed.
Our speakers are based in: Bath, Berkshire, Cambridge, Cardiff, Devon, Co Durham, Fife, Hampshire, Kent, Staffordshire, Sussex, Wiltshire and Yorkshire. Most are willing to travel, so if your area is not named, please enquire.
A diverse range of groups have enjoyed our talks. These include public and independent libraries, U3A, WEA, Local History Societies, Ladies Probus Clubs, York Museums Services, Literary Festivals, Inner Wheel, GCSE and A-level students, University Arts Cafe, Local Lecture Groups, National Trust, WI, Countrywomen’s Association and various retirement groups.
These talks can be adapted to suit individual needs. Please click on the talk title to reveal a description of its content:
Divided into two parts, covering first, Jane Austen the woman, her life and family, followed by a look at her Works, focussing on the writing and the publication, and some of the anecdotes attached to them.
This covers the development of the novel and Jane Austen’s role in it, together with the comments of 19th-century writers on Jane Austen. It offers some evidence of her influence (or lack of it) on some of these writers.
Another talk in two parts. The first takes a general look at marriage in the 18th/19th century from a woman’s standpoint, but with particular emphasis on women of Jane Austen’s own class. In the second part, the talk looks at the marriages within the six major novels; those existing at the start, those formed during and those formed at the end of the novels.
Jane Austen wrote about women: women of all ages, social status, wealth and marital status. This talk looks at representations in the novels of two types single woman – widows and unmarried ‘ladies of a certain age’ – and how Austen uses her fictional women to comment on the lives of women in reality.
This talk focuses on the fathers of the brides in the novels: what they have in common; their individual characteristics; the importance of the part each one plays in the respective novel; and which would provide the most agreeable company.
This talk looks initially at the place of women in society. From there, it moves on to representations of women in the novels Jane Austen might have read, and how her heroines were different, illustrated by an analysis of the women in Sense and Sensibility.
This talk seeks, first, to answer the question as to why Pride and Prejudice is the most popular Austen novel. It then asks whether the half-recalled Mr Bennet of popular memory – the agreeable old cove given to gentle raillery – is an accurate reflection of the Mr Bennet of Jane Austen’s creation.
This talk addresses three questions. Is it right to describe Mansfield Park as Jane Austen’s most profound novel? If it is, why does it not enjoy greater regard? Further: if it is, why do so few readers like Fanny Price?
Jane Austen created seven diverse heroines – none more than Fanny Price and Emma Woodhouse. Whereas Fanny is mostly passive, and sometimes absent from the scene in Mansfield Park, Emma dominates her novel. She is always present; she doesn’t just experience events, she shapes them.
This talk addresses three questions. What is it that makes Jane Austen’s novels so special? What is it that makes her so popular today, more than 200 years on? What of the lady herself – do we know her as well as we think we do?
This talk offers a new perspective on Emma, seeking to look at the story through the eyes of Jane Fairfax. It asks (i) why Jane should have been the heroine of a novel; why she could not be the heroine of a romantic novel; (iii) why she was not the heroine of this particular novel.
This illustrated talk follows a circular walk around the centre of Tonbridge with many associations with the Austens, including Tonbridge School where Jane’s father was both student and master, Tonbridge Parish Church where George’s parents are buried, and links with Jane’s great grandmother Elizabeth Weller, born and brought up in Tonbridge.