Monthly General Meeting

  • When: Third Wednesday of each month
  • Where: Cooperating Church Hall, 124 Comries Road, Chartwell.

  • Time: Meeting starts at 10.00am. Coffee after lecture.



Our next meeting  will be on 16th November and the speaker will be Kirstine Moffat who will be speaking about Jane Austen.

Jane Austen and Music

‘Yes, yes, we will have a pianoforte, as good a one as can be got for thirty guineas, and I will practice country dances, that we may have some amusement for our nephews and nieces, when we have the pleasure of their company.’ (Jane Austen Letter to Cassandra Austen, 1808)

Jane Austen’s novels are rich in musical interludess, from practice sessions at home, to performances at parties, to accompaniments to dancing. This reflects the author’s own love of music. According to Austen’s niece Caroline, ‘Aunt Jane began her day with music’ and her extensive collection of music books, many of them handwritten, are on display at the Jane Austen House at Chawton. While music gave Austen daily pleasure, her depiction of music in her novels is complex, highlighting both her interest in music to express genuine feeling and provide welcome entertainment, but also her awareness that music in Regency England was also bound up with discourses about femininity and class.

My talk will begin with the place of music in Austen’s life and end with a discussion of music in her novels. Throughout I will intersperse words with sounds. All of the pieces I am going to play are from Jane Austen’s music books, music we know she was familiar with and played herself. The musical portion of the talk will feature popular dance tunes, traditional songs, and works by Joseph Haydn, Ignace Pleyel, Johann Baptist Cramer, and the Duchess of Devonshire.

Dr Kirstine Moffat is Associate Professor in the English Programme at the University of Waikato. She has published widely on nineteenth-century New Zealand literature, music, and culture and is the author of Piano Forte: Stories and Soundscapes from Colonial New Zealand. She has a lifelong love of Jane Austen’s fiction and relishes any opportunity to research, teach, write about or talk about her favourite author.