Had 2020 not been so – well, 2020-ish – throngs of happy Janeites from across the globe would have staggered home earlier this month from the annual Jane Austen Festival in Bath, England, phones overflowing with photos of fellow revelers in Regency costume.
Instead, Austen fans must continue to make do with virtual celebrations--even in Bath, where the venerable Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution in England is sponsoring this week’s “Rediscovering Jane Austen” series.
Events kick off tonight, at 7:30 pm British time, with a live “interactive discussion” of Persuasion. Every day through Sunday features another live talk (or recorded-talk-plus-live-Q&A) relating Austen’s life and work to such topics as marriage, feminism, spirituality, and the slave trade; additional pre-recorded videos deal with Regency fashion and dance.
And if you missed last month’s Jane Austen Quiz, sponsored by Chawton House, you’ll get another shot at Janeite trivia glory with the BRLSI’s version, on Sunday at 5 pm British time. Ticket prices for all events are modest.
The BRLSI, which traces its antecedents back to the eighteenth century, is a non-profit cultural society headquartered in Queen Square, where Austen and some of her relatives stayed during a 1799 visit to Bath. Attending its virtual Austen program isn’t the same as being there, but hey—in 2020, we take what we can get.