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Editor's note.

ON SUNDAY, 26 June 1808, Jane Austen wrote to Cassandra: "Your account of your Visitors' good Journey, voyage, & satisfaction in everything gave me the greatest pleasure. They have nice weather for their introduction to the Island, & I hope with such a disposition to be pleased, their general Enjoyment is as certain as it will be just." Indeed, Hampshire provided very nice weather for the "Homecoming" AGM in Winchester. The Visitors came with every disposition to be pleased, and there was an aura of great satisfaction in everything. What a marvelous way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of JASNA and Persuasions.

For a quarter of a century, Janeites--Visitors to Jane Austen's Island--have demonstrated their pleasure in and their curiosity about the texts and contexts of the juvenilia, the novels, the letters, and the life of "our own particular Jane." In honor of Joan Austen-Leigh, who edited Persuasions for nineteen years, we are including here in Issue No. 25 a printing of Our Own Particular Jane. Joan Austen-Leigh wrote this "piece of theatre" to commemorate the bicentenary of Jane Austen's birth, so it seems quite fitting to celebrate twenty-five years of Persuasions with this "entertainment." When Joan Austen-Leigh, J. David Grey, and Henry Burke founded the Jane Austen Society of North America in 1979, and conferees attended the first JASNA AGM in New York, did any member of that nascent literary society envision that a quarter of a century later they would meet en masse for a "Homecoming" at Jane Austen's House, Chawton, Hampshire, England? The "Homecoming" theme comes alive here with highlights from speakers at the AGM--from Joanna Trollope, Michael Wheeler, Matt Wolf, and Brian Southam. In her President's Note, which precedes this page, Joan Ray contextualizes the work of these writers.

The Miscellany offers a wide variety of papers--and it is perfectly in tune with the idea of "Homecoming" that nearly all of Jane Austen's novels are included in the discussions.

The last section of Issue No. 25 has evolved from Professor Patricia Meyer Spacks's National Humanities Center summer seminar on Emma. In her Introduction to this section, Professor Spacks describes her intellectual challenge to the students: she asked them to "think together about the novel without resort to secondary material of any kind," and to maintain "the greatest possible awareness of [our] assumptions and predispositions." The collection of essays here serves as a model for ways of teaching Emma in particular and Jane Austen's novels in general. Ironically, we now offer you these essays as "secondary material" that may prompt you to see even more layers of meaning in the novel.

Over the last quarter of a century, Persuasions itself has grown incrementally from a booklet of approximately thirty pages to a peer-reviewed compendium of all things Austen. It is an honor to bring to you in Issue No. 25 such a Variety of Ideas. I can say with Jane Austen: "And now I believe I have made all the needful replys & communications...."
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Author:Kaplan, Laurie
Publication:Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal
Date:Jan 1, 2003
Words:494
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