Plenary Speakers

“. . . and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.”

Janet Todd

Carol Medine Moss Keynote Lecture

Dr. Janet Todd is a novelist, biographer, literary critic, and scholar, known for her work on women’s writing and feminism. Her most recent books are Jane Austen and Shelley in the Garden: A Novel with Pictures; Don’t You Know There’s a War On?; Jane Austen’s Sanditon; Radiation Diaries; Aphra Behn: A Secret Life; and A Man of Genius. A former President of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge, and Emerita Professor at the University of Aberdeen, she is now an Honorary Fellow of Newnham College. Janet last spoke to JASNA on “The Anxiety of Emma” as the keynote speaker at the 2007 Vancouver AGM.

The topic of Janet’s 2023 Keynote lecture is “To Dream of Pemberley.” She will consider the enduring fascination of Darcy’s famous home. How does it stand among Jane Austen’s other great estates? Can it (and its owner) escape censure in our censorious age?

Claudia L. Johnson

JASNA North American Scholar Lecture

Dr. Claudia L. Johnson is the Murray Professor of English at Princeton University. She specializes in 18th- and 19th-century British literature and gender studies. Renowned for her works on Jane Austen and Mary Wollstonecraft, Johnson’s books include Jane Austen: Women, Politics, and the Novel; Equivocal Beings: Politics, Gender and Sentimentality in the 1790s; and Jane Austen’s Cults and Cultures, which won the Christian Gauss Award. Most recently, Claudia collaborated with Clara Tuite on 30 Great Myths About Jane Austen. Claudia last spoke to JASNA at the 2008 Chicago AGM, providing the Carol Medine Moss keynote lecture on “Can We Ever Have Enough of Jane Austen?”

In Denver, Claudia will speak on “Austen Escape.” Austenian escape has a long and dignified tradition. This talk will examine the needfulness, the transgressiveness, and the consolation of Austenian escape, with particular attention to the novel that welcomes it so smilingly: Pride and Prejudice.

Francine Mathews

Francine Barron Mathews is a member of the Denver Boulder Region and a popular mystery and spy fiction writer who publishes historical mysteries—including the Jane Austen Mysteries series— under the name Stephanie Barron. Her most recent books are Jane and the Year Without a Summer, That Churchill Woman, and Death on Tuckernuck. Francine last spoke to JASNA at the 2010 Portland AGM, providing the Carol Medine Moss Keynote lecture on “Suspicious Characters, Red Herrings, and Unreliable Detectives: Elements of Mystery in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey.”

For the 2023 AGM, Francine’s topic is “Solving The Male Mystery: The Bennet Sisters As Detective Heroines.” Driven to attract and secure a mate from among a pool of strangers, Austen’s heroines are challenged to penetrate—a peculiarly Austen term—the mystery of male motivation and intent. They employ markedly different detective strategies as they sift through conflicting evidence, buried clues, false witnesses, and red herrings, with varying success for each.