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Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University
The Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) publishes both the printed Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal, and the open access title, Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal On-Line. The printed publication (ISSN 0821-0314) is published each June and mailed to all JASNA members, while the online journal is published each December 16th and made freely available as part of JASNA’s outreach mission. Both journals include articles about Jane Austen and her world, including “its literature, music, visual arts, science, politics, religion.” Both journals also include research on Austen shared at the JASNA Annual General Meetings, as well as essays by prominent Austen scholars. Both journals are aimed at being readily accessible to informed general readers and academics. The submission guidelines for authors are the same for both the print and the online versions, although the contents of the two versions are different.
At the time of this review, the most recent issue of Persuasions On-line is V.35, No.1, Winter 2014, and holds 15 essays given at the JASNA Annual General Meeting 2014 in Montreal (whose theme was Mansfield Park in Montreal: Contexts, Conventions, and Controversies) as well as 10 pieces listed under the category Miscellany. The essays range from “The “Ordination” of Fanny Price: Female Monasticism and Vocation in Mansfield Park” to “Modernizing Mansfield Park at the Millennium: Reconsidering Patricia Rozema’s Film Adaptation.” The miscellaneous pieces range from “A Treasured Possession: Jane Austen and the Chandos Letter” to a “Jane Austen Bibliography, 2013” (a superb, extensive bibliography with five sections: Austen Editions: original works, under Austen if no extensive annotation or editing is involved, otherwise under the editor’s name; Austen Circle: original works/editions by and about Austen family members and friends; Austen Studies: biographical, critical, and interpretive works; Dissertations: a select, rather than exhaustive, list of works specifically on Austen; and Popular Culture: sequels, continuations, mash-ups, films, merchandise, etc.). Authors for both essays and miscellaneous pieces include academics, school teachers, librarians, booksellers, students, and private individuals interested in Austen’s work.
Although Persuasions On-line is an annual publication, periodically a second issue is produced in a year. For example, an issue with essays centered around the theme of “Teaching Austen and Her Contemporaries” was published in Spring 2014, and in Summer 2012 JASNA published the Persuasions On-line issue, “200 Years of Sense and Sensibility: Selected Essays from the Conference at the University of St. Andrews.”
Anyone studying Austen’s work will need ready access to Persuasions On-line. Like its printed counterpart, this open access title is essential for libraries serving Austen scholars and researchers into the literature of her period.