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Dinner Dance

Originally uploaded by mebertolini.

Candles flickered, and tables sported green and white linens for the Jane Austen Dinner Dance. <a href=”Menu items came from foods mentioned in the six major Jane Austen novels:

  • White Soup from Pride and Prejudice
  • French Bread from Northanger Abbey
  • Salmon from the stewponds at Delaford in Sense and Sensibility
  • Asparagus, Apple Tart and Rout Cakes from Emma
  • Negus from Mansfield Park
  • “Too Many Sweet Things” from Persuasion

My students have been reading and writing and talking about Jane Austen all semester. For one night, they dined and danced like Austen too. They learned why Charles Bingley “seemed quite struck with Jane as she was going down the dance” and why Bingley was correct in chastising Darcy for ” standing about by [him]self in this stupid manner” instead of dancing. I hope they did not learn the “misery which a disagreeable partner for a couple of dances can give,” but rather like Fanny Price who although. .

pursued by the ceaseless country–dance, feverish with hopes and fears, soup and negus, sore–footed and fatigued, restless and agitated, yet [felt], in spite of everything, that a ball was indeed delightful.

My Jane Austen & Film class is a First-Year Seminar here at Middlebury where faculty may elect to have their students live in the same residential Commons (represented by Atwater green in the table linens)> In this case, two Atwater Commons First-Year Seminars (one, mostly girls; the other, mostly boys) met to combine the academic and the residential, and to learn not only by reading and writing but by dining and dancing in English Regency style.

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