An Accomplished Woman
To date, JASNA has only one member in North Dakota, Andee Davis of Bismarck. From her driveway, Andee can be “in country in five minutes, and far from any traffic in about fifteen.” With no region of fellow Janeites to sustain her, it is just as well that Andee has “always loved our remoteness,” but Andee is far from anti-social, and she celebrates and champions Jane Austen in her own ways.
Andee’s first encounter with Jane Austen was reading Pride and Prejudice “as a very young woman, but I missed the wit the first time around. I really ‘got’ Jane Austen when I next read Emma.” Emma has remained Andee’s favorite Austen novel: “I love the humor; I love Miss Bates and her non-ending monologues. I like the fact that the heroine doesn’t quite know how self-centered she is, but as the book progresses, her understanding improves.”
The internet led Andee to JASNA when “about three years ago I ran into it somewhere online.” According to Andee, she joined JASNA because “I want to know more about the woman Jane Austen, and as much as I can glean about her times.” Andee is also a member of the Republic of Pemberley website, but she qualifies her RoP postings: “I’m more of a purist, not just a person who wants to chat online.” Andee keeps an eye out for other North Dakota Janeites, “I meet a few now and then,” and she loans her Austen film collection to the uninitiated, “people who are unlikely to read Austen and find that they like the movies.”
Andee has also “shared my love of Austen’s books with my Latin students, and one of them is thirteen and the bookworm type. She is headed in the direction of becoming a true Janeite,” so Andee may not be the only JASNA member in North Dakota for long.
Andee celebrates Jane Austen’s birthday at home every year with her grown daughters: “We watch one of Jane’s books on video.” Her favorite Austen film is the Gwyneth Paltrow Emma: “It’s full of wit and fun.” For 2008, Andee’s Austen birthday festivities included trying recipes for dishes that Jane Austen would have eaten, and Andee also has plans for her future December 16 celebrations: “One of these days I’m going to sew a Regency gown and wear it.” When you do, Andee, please share a photo with JASNA News. ••
The above article is excerpted from JASNA News
Volume 25 No. 2, Summer 2009.