Plenary Speakers

Gillian Dow
Carol Medine Moss Keynote Lecture

Dr. Gillian Dow, who will be giving the Carol Medine Moss Keynote Lecture, is the Executive Director of Chawton House Library and an Associate Professor at the University of Southampton, where she has been on the faculty since 2005.  She has also taught at several Oxford colleges, and at the Université Paris XII.  In Uses of Austen: Jane’s Afterlives, which she edited with Clare Hanson in 2012, Dr. Dow shows how Austen’s life and work is being re-framed and re-imagined in 20th and 21st century literature and culture.  Her most recent edited collection, with Jennie Batchelor, is Feminisms, Fictions, Futures: Women’s Writing 1660-1830 (2016).  She has a long-standing interest in translation in the Romantic Period, and has published work on Isabelle de Montolieu, Jane Austen’s French translator, and arguably the first author of an Austen adaptation and fan-fiction in Jane’s own lifetime!

Devoney Looser
JASNA North American Scholar Lecture

Devoney Looser will be delivering the JASNA North American Scholar Lecture at the 2017 AGM.  She is Professor of English at Arizona State University, with an impressive portfolio of published works.  Looser is the author of Women Writers and Old Age in Great Britain, 1750-1850 (Johns Hopkins UP, 2008) and British Women Writers and the Writing of History, 1670-1820 (Johns Hopkins UP, 2000; paperback 2005).  She recently completed a three-year term on the PMLA Advisory Committee and serves on the advisory boards of several journals, including SEL: Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900. Known by the name Stone Cold Jane Austen, Looser is also an accomplished flat-track roller derby player; she is part of the Arizona Roller Derby League and is faculty adviser for the ASU Roller Derby Club.

Richard Knight

Richard Knight is the great, great, great grandson of Jane Austen’s brother Edward.  They both inherited the Chawton Estate in Hampshire, England—Edward in the 1780’s and Richard 200 years later in a rather dilapidated state.  Having decided that he could not afford to repair the house himself, he sold a long leasehold to the Bosack Kruger Foundation with whom he has been working to restore the house and grounds and establish a library and research center devoted to early English women’s writing.  Richard will talk about Chawton and its history with the Knight family since their ownership began in the 1580’s, freeholds, leaseholds, entails, name changes, advantageous marriages and Edward’s extraordinary inheritance which enabled him to offer his mother and two sisters, Cassandra and Jane, accommodation in Chawton village in 1809.  Richard recently retired from a lifelong career as a farmer which has given him more time to go fishing and play tennis and consider the lives and times of his family, including “Aunt Jane.”  He recently stood down after 26 years as President of the UK Jane Austen Society.

Whit Stillman

Whit Stillman is the writer-director of five films, Metropolitan, Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco, Damsels in Distress, and the recent Love & Friendship, and the author of two novels based on his movies.  He was raised in New York and currently lives in Paris.  At university, he was an editor of the Harvard Crimson, and he later worked in book publishing and journalism.  He was nominated for a Best Screenplay Oscar for Metropolitan and won France’s Prix Fitzgerald for his novel The Last Days of Disco, With Cocktails at Petrossian Afterwards.  Stillman is a long-time admirer of Jane Austen and his work often includes allusions to her work, from his first award-winning film Metropolitan, with echoes of Mansfield Park, to his latest, the award-winning film and companion novel, Love & Friendship, based on Jane Austen’s Lady Susan.  His films and novels share many of the virtues he values in Jane Austen’s work, witty dialogue, sharp observation of character and mores, as well as what he has described as “gem-like phrases.”