Have you ever wished you could enter a Jane Austen novel? Students did just that.
Elegant pink roses and thin-stemmed glasses adorn the tables. Bite-sized chocolate tarts and raspberry macarons complement the sparkling pink lemonade. Young ladies in dresses can be heard chittering and chatting amongst themselves.
No, this isn’t a true Regency-era event but the BYU English Society’s Jane Austen tea party held on Oct 27, 2022. English majors and Jane Austen fans alike came together for an evening of seventeenth-century fun. Many fans of the era came wearing stunning Regency dresses complete with gloves and faltering British accents, though all were welcome to join.
The evening began with dessert and discussions of the various books. Students who attended the British study abroad last summer recounted details of visiting the famous author’s home to the spellbound audience. After everyone had become acquainted, the first game of the evening began. Picture frames around the room contained silhouettes of characters from Pride and Prejudice, and the guests went around the room guessing who was who. Hannah Christiansen (English, 2023) correctly guessed all the characters and was awarded a floral arrangement of pink roses and carnations.
Then came the big event of the evening: an all-out Jane Austen trivia contest. The prize: a coveted leather-bound copy of Pride and Prejudice. Guests’ eyes remained fixed on the monitor as the questions were presented. The trivia ranged from questions about the plot of Austen’s novels to questions about Austen’s life. Cheers and moans were heard as Kate Eliason (English, 2022) gave the winning answer and was rewarded with the leather-bound book.
Even 205 years after her death, Jane Austen’s novels are still cherished by readers. Her most popular book, Pride and Prejudice, has been adapted as a movie 17 times and has inspired over a hundred literary adaptations. The story of love and family has few equals. It is no wonder that these books live on in the hearts of fans and that those fans enjoy recreating Austen’s world for an hour or two. BYU’s College of Humanities supports these English Society events as a way for students to promote belonging and unity. As guests left the tea party for the evening many of them requested that it become an annual event. With any luck, the BYU English Society will be hosting another Jane Austen tea party like this one soon!