March 10, 2005 Joan Klingel Ray, President of Jane Austen Society of North America, to Speak April 12

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Elizabeth Jenkins-Joffe (202) 707-1658

Joan Klingel Ray, English professor and president of the Jane Austen Society of North America, will give an illustrated lecture on Jane Austen at the Library of Congress at noon on Tuesday, April 12, in the Mumford Room on the sixth floor of the Library’s James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S. E.

The event, sponsored by the Humanities and Social Sciences Division of the Library of Congress, is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

In her talk, “Jane Austen 101: Why the World Loves Jane Austen,” Ray will explore the phenomenon that is Jane Austen: a novelist whose work inspires shelves of scholarly literary criticism, but whose novels also appeal to 13-year-old girls and to Hollywood and Bollywood screenwriters in need of a good idea for a script. Illustrated by three-dozen visual images, Ray’s talk, like Austen’s work, appeals to various audience levels, from the Austen novice to the Austen specialist.

Joan Klingel Ray is professor of English at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. In recognition of her exemplary teaching and scholarship, she also holds the University of Colorado’s system-wide lifetime title as “President’s Teaching Scholar.” A native New Yorker with a Ph.D. in 18th century British literature from Brown University, Ray wrote her dissertation on Samuel Johnson, whom Jane Austen called “the first of men.” She has published essays and notes on Austen and other writers in academic and literary journals.

The Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA), founded in 1979, describes itself as comprising “professional scholars and dedicated, well-read amateurs who have joined together on equal ground in their enthusiasm and admiration for the genius of Jane Austen.” The first professional academic to serve as president of JASNA, Ray has traveled extensively in the United States and Canada to give presentations on Austen to many of the 60 regional chapters of the society and to other general and academic audiences. As Austen scholar and JASNA president, she has frequently been interviewed in the media, and on April 11 she will be a guest on The Diane Rehm Show.

The Humanities and Social Sciences Division provides reference service and collection development in the Main, Local History and Genealogy, and Microform reading rooms at the Library of Congress. It regularly sponsors programs in the arts, humanities and social sciences.


PR 05-054
ISSN 0731-3527