Colloquy Downeast Blue Hill Maine

Colloquy Downeast

Spirited Conversations in Great Company

FacilitatorTyler Knowles and Judy McGeorge
Date & Time Thursdays, February 8, 15, 22, 29
1:00 pm-3:00 pm
LocationBy Zoom

Two years ago, we did a colloquy on Sense and Sensibility and Emma; a year ago, we took up Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park. In this colloquy, we will finish discussing Jane Austen’s major works, the novel she wrote first, Northanger Abbey, and the one she wrote last, shortly before she died, Persuasion. Both were published posthumously in 1817.

In Northanger Abbey one sees Austen near the start of her career yet already developing unforgettable characters, telling a gripping tale, providing a philosophy of fiction writing, and handling satire. Naturally, romance does figure in but so does the growth, emotionally and intellectually, of the heroine. Despite its gothic overtones, the novel is light and moves quickly. Persuasion comes from the pen of a more mature writer. In it the heroine is not a young woman but one who, unmarried at 27, is “on the shelf” (as my mother used to say); here, she shows the conflict between two sets of values, prudence and love, self-assertion and self-denial, a conflict that has been incipient in her other works, especially in the roles of minor characters. It is a story of second chances, of sisters, of friendships, of families, of scathing social satire, and, yes of course, of marriages. Join Tyler Knowles and Judy McGeorge for our last Austen colloquy.

See the Syllabus/Reading section below for the editions of these novels that we will use in the colloquy.

Tyler Knowles retired after 34 years of teaching English and chairing the English Department at the Winsor School, an independent school for girls in Boston. She also taught English and writing at the University of Wisconsin, Boston University, and Dartmouth College before Winsor. More recently, she served nine years on the GSA Board and is a member of the Colloquy Downeast Steering Committee.

Judy McGeorge is a member of Colloquy Downeast Steering Committee. She has a Master of Liberal Arts degree from St John’s College Graduate Institute. She lives in Ellsworth and likes to participate in colloquies reading works using the St John’s College style of learning.

  ▼ Syllabus/Reading


We recommend the following editions of the two Austen novels. They are available at Blue Hill Books. You may use other editions but during the discussions we will refer to the page references in these editions.

Jane Austen. Northanger Abbey. Penguin Classic (ISBN 978-0-141-43979-2)
(Introduction and notes by Marilyn Butler), 2003. ($8.00)
Jane Austen. Persuasion. Penguin Classic (ISBN 978-0-141-43968-6)
(Introducion by Gillian Beer), 2015. ($7.00)


Session 1: Thursday February 8 at 1:00 pm

Northanger Abbey – Volume 1

Northanger Abbey Vol One Discussion Topics – From Tyler Knowles after our first session.

Jane Austen Gets Dressed _ Kathryn Hughes _ The New York Review of Books – shared by Sian Evans

Session 2: Thursday, February 15 at 1:00 pm

Northanger Abbey – Volume II

What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew – Book recommended by Jan Eakins

Discussion Topics for Vol. II Northanger Abbey – From Tyler Knowles after our second session.


Session 3: Thursday February 22 at 1:00 pm

Persuasion – Volume I

Discussion Topics for Persuasion Vol I  – From Tyler Knowles  after our third session.


Session 4: Thursday, February 29 at 1:00 pm

Persuasion – Volume II

Cancelled Chapters of Persuasion – Link to the site sent in by Sian Evans

Persuasion – Cancelled Chapters – Link to site sent in by Jan Eakins

These are two Essays published in The Jane Austen Society of New England’s journal, Persuasions :

The Final Chapters of Persuasion   – by Marcia McClintock Folsom

Self-Delusion and Agitation in Persuasion – by John Mullan

Also in this final session we will discuss all six Austen novels—their commonalities and central differences.


Persuasion Discussion Topics for Volume II -From Tyler Knowles – Notes from our final colloquy session on Persuasion Volume II and wrapping up our three seasons of colloquies on Jane Austen’s novels.


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