Lectures & Conferences

Twenty-third Lewis Walpole Library Lecture

Wednesday, April 4, 2018, 5:30 pm

Yale Center for British Art Lecture Hall,

1080 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT 06510

Claudia L. Johnson, Murray Professor of English Literature, Princeton University

Examining the controversial reception of the Rice Portrait of Jane Austen, by Ozias Humphry, this illustrated talk ponders the stakes of legitimacy in general  as well as the unusual acrimony this portrait in particular has often inspired.

This talk is open to the public. 

In connection with the Lecture, Professor Johnson will also lead the 18th/19th Century Colloquium for Yale graduate students on April 3.


Claudia L. Johnson joined the faculty at Princeton in 1994 and was Chair of the English Department from 2004-2012.  She specializes in 18th and early 19th-century literature, with a particular emphasis on the novel.  In addition to 18th C courses, she teaches courses on gothic fiction, sentimentality and melodrama, the history of prose style, film adaptations of novels into film, detective fiction, Samuel Johnson, and, of course, Jane Austen.  She has strong research interests in 18th Century music, in voice, in letterpress printing, in Yiddish story, and in the American Songbook of the 1930’s and 1940s.

Johnson’s most recent book, Jane Austen’s Cults and Cultures (Chicago, 2012) won the Christian Gauss Award in 2103.  Her other books include The Blackwell Companion to Jane Austen, ed. with Clara Tuite (Blackwell, 2005), The Cambridge Companion to Mary Wollstonecraft (Cambridge, 2002), Equivocal Beings: Politics, Gender and Sentimentality in the 1790s (Chicago, 1995), which won an Honorable Mention for the MLA Lowell Prize, and Jane Austen: Women, Politics, and the Novel (Chicago, 1988).  In addition she is keenly interested in textual scholarship, and has prepared editions of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey and (with Susan Wolfson) Pride and Prejudice. Her research has been supported by major fellowships such as the NEH and the Guggenheim.

Johnson is working on several book-length projects: an edition of Austen’s The Beautifull Cassandra with drawings by Leon Steinmetz, forthcoming Princeton University Press, 2018), 30 Great Myths About Jane Austen, with Clara Tuite, forthcoming from Wiley-Blackwell in 2019; and Raising the Novel, which explores key phases the history of the history of the novel in which critics have attempted to elevate them to keystones of high culture.