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Literary Societies of Sydney

December 19, 2010
Napoleon Sarony (1821-1896), english writer An...

Anthony Trollope. (Presumed Public Domain, by Napoleon Sarony, via Wikipedia)

Although I grew up in Queensland and New South Wales, and have spent most of my adult life in the Australian Capital Territory, it seems I have referred more in this blog to Melbourne (and Victoria), so now seems the time to balance it out a little. Why now? Because this week, in the December 2010 issue of the Jane Austen Society of Australia’s newsletter, Chronicle, I read about the Literary Societies of Sydney.

This is a new organisation, and its website describes it as follows:

The Literary Societies of Sydney is a loose federation of single-author literary societies in Sydney, formed to establish a presence online, to facilitate communication between those societies, and to encourage public contact with them. It is unfunded, and non-profit.

The single author societies it covers are (in alphabetical order by name of society):

Fascinating list, eh?  I don’t see any Australian author societies here like, say, a Miles Franklin Society, but I do love the fact that such societies as these exist. I wonder if they play the role that salons did in the past? (In fact, I sometimes wonder whether blogs operate a little like an online salon?) Certainly, for me, being a member of the Jane Austen Society of Australia provides an invaluable opportunity to share, debate and learn more about her books and ideas. Austenites, for example, can spend a lot of time arguing the case for (or against) Fanny Price, or discussing just how “bad” Frank Churchill is – not simply (or only) on the basis of personal preference, but also by looking at such things as literary traditions and social history. The society, with its wide membership, not to mention its events and publications, helps ensure that our discussions are informed ones.

Do you – or would you like to – belong to an author society (or two)? Why or why not?

14 Comments leave one →
  1. December 19, 2010 22:50

    I think I would, but only on a casual basis. Perhaps one that met only a few times a year, so I didn’t start to feel overwhelmed by the pressure.

    Oh, and I’d prefer authors whose works have been made into productions starring Colin Firth. 😉

    (Might make an exception for Dylan Thomas, as I do love Under Milk Wood…)

    • December 19, 2010 22:53

      Some of these societies only meet every 2 months – so maybe they’re the ones for you. Hmmm… I’m not sure whether choosing an author on the basis of an actor who’s played in adaptations of their works is quite in the spirit of the thing, but maybe that’s just me.

      • December 19, 2010 22:57

        I s’pose you’re right…

        P.S. I really want to call you as I’ve had an idea for the brother’s present, but it’s probably too late?

  2. December 20, 2010 08:40

    No author society for me. Ultimately this is due to a vice. I’m a dilettante, you see. Or putting a positive spin on it, I like a broad path to my reading days. Were I to make an exception, it would probably be for Whitman, because of his big broad bellowing and prophetic voice. Thanks again for your X-mas gifttitle. Cheers, K

    • December 20, 2010 09:01

      Oh yes, I suffer from dilettantism too – but I also suffer from “the eyes are too big for my stomach-ism” too so I spread myself too thinly! Consequently, I’m a good-enough member of the Jane Austen society rather than one who immerses herself in all things Jane and Regency.

      I must read more Whitman. I have The leaves of grass, and have dipped into it but my, what a big work it is!

      I look forward to your response to the gift title!

  3. December 20, 2010 09:05

    Only the Edward Whittemore Appreciation Society that was established by myself on my tribute site to Whittemore. It’s world wide and has never met in any real sense, though we used to discuss his novels on the message board.

    • December 20, 2010 09:56

      Ah yes, I remember your telling me about this and I looked at your site. Still haven’t read him though. Online societies do great work to increase understanding of an author don’t they? Quite a few of the societies in this post have a fairly basic sites, but hopefully they’ll grow too.

  4. December 21, 2010 07:55

    I don’t belong to any author societies but the United States Jane Austen Society conference is going to be in Minneapolis in 2013 and that’s a big year for Pride and Prejudice too so in order to go to the conference I’ll be joining up for that year.

    • December 21, 2010 08:45

      Oh great Stefanie … I’ll be watching our for your reports. 2011 is the 200th anniversary of Sense and sensibility. JASA’s day conference next year will be on that, and my local group will be doing it as our read for the year. There will be a lot of 200th anniversaries coming up over the next few years!

      • December 23, 2010 03:21

        S&S is 200 next year? By sheer coincidence I’ve been making my 2011 reading plans and S&S is on my list. How exciting!

        • December 23, 2010 03:39

          Yep, it is, so you’ve made a good choice … my group here is going to read it volume by volume, so I’ll be reading volume 1 for our January meeting. If I get myself organised I might review it volume by volume too. I look forward, hopefully, to sharing some thoughts with you.

  5. December 24, 2010 15:21

    I didn’t know about these societies! I knew there was one for Beatrix Potter and only because one of my lecturers last year runs it and she was always promoting it!

    I wouldn’t mind joining the Bronte society but, yes, it’s quite sad that there’s no society dedicated to some aussie writers.

    • December 24, 2010 16:10

      Now why did I suddenly have to approve your comment … is the Beatrix Potter society in Australia? maybe we Aussie bloggers should start an Aussie author society, but then we’d all have to agree on which author! Anyhow, have a lovely Christmas season Mae. Hope you receive lots of lovely book-y gifts.

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