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Library to celebrate anniversary of 'Pride & Prejudice'

August  05, 2013

Portrait of Jane Austen, from the memoir by her nephew, J E. Austen-Leigh. All other portraits of Austen are generally based on this, which is itself based on a sketch by Cassandra Austen.

Augustana College’s Thomas Tredway Library presents a new exhibit, "Pride and Prejudice: 200 years of the Divine Jane," to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the novel. The exhibit is on display Aug. 26-Nov. 7 on the second floor of the library at 3435 9½ Ave., Rock Island. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

The exhibit features a sampling of editions of Pride and Prejudice, owned by the Augustana’s Special Collections and by private individuals, as well as a collection of Austen artifacts generated by the enormous popularity Austen holds in the general culture. The Jane Austen phenomenon also has created myriad spinoffs of her work, from movies to books, and a small selection of those is included.

Dr. Constance Walker, professor of English at Carleton College, will speak on Pride and Prejudice at 7 p.m. Sept. 5 (location is to be announced). Dr. Walker teaches courses on rhetoric, Romanticism and Austen. Her current research involves the literary culture of the Austen family.

Dr. Walker’s presentation is titled See Jane Write!: How Austen Mastered the Art of Fiction. She plans to address what makes Austen’s novels, beloved for two centuries and how Austen learned to write books that would earn enduring popular and critical acclaim.

When Jane Austen first started writing Pride and Prejudice, one of the most famous and beloved books in all of English literature, she was 21 years old. Originally titled First Impressions, the novel was rejected by a publisher. Fifteen years later, settled in the English village of Chawton with her mother and sister, Austen perched at a small round table in the dining room, took up First Impressions again, revised it, and re-titled it Pride and Prejudice. This modest woman, who lacked extensive formal education and a room of her own, had just written what many consider to be the perfect novel, a novel that would enter the minds and hearts of millions of people right down to the current day. Pride and Prejudice was published 200 years ago in 1813.

In addition the Thomas Tredway Library will host an online exhibit: 200 Years of Pride and Prejudice.

For information, email or call Sarah Horowitz, Special Collections librarian and assistant professor, (309) 794-8814.

Keri Rursch
Director of Public Relations
(309) 794-7721
kerirursch@augustana.edu