Plenary Speakers

“If a speech be well drawn up, I read it with pleasure, by whomsoever it may be made….”
                                                                                               —Northanger Abbey
, Chapter 14
Jocelyn Harris
Carol Medine Moss Keynote Speaker
“Magnificent Miss Morland”

Photo Credit: Reg Graham
Jocelyn Harris, professor emerita at the University of Otago, New Zealand, is well-known worldwide for her lectures on Jane Austen. She has also presented papers at conferences in the UK, Canada, Australia, and Japan, and given dramatized readings of Jane Austen with Terry MacTavish. A scholar of eighteenth-century and women’s literature, Harris has written three books on Austen: Jane Austen’s Art of Memory (1989), A Revolution Almost Beyond Expression: Jane Austen’s “Persuasion” (2007), and Satire, Celebrity, and Politics in Jane Austen (2017). All three seek to illuminate elements of Austen’s creative process, exploring her allusions to other authors and works, studying the surviving manuscript of Persuasion for clues to her real-life heroes, and following the turns of her mind by means of the newspapers she perused, the gossip she heard, the streets she walked upon, and the sights she saw. It is Harris’s quest to “always try to catch Jane Austen in the act of creation by finding out what she read, what she saw, and what she made of it all.” In her talk at our AGM, “Magnificent Miss Morland,” she plans to discuss Catherine Morland’s remarkable truthfulness and strength as qualifications for her “heroine” status.

Janine Barchas
JASNA North American Scholar
“The Lost Copies of Northanger Abbey

Photo Credit: Marsha Miller
Dr. Janine Barchas is the Louann and Larry Temple Centennial Professor of English Literature at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of the lively book Matters of Fact in Jane Austen: History, Location, and Celebrity, in which she researched the real-world history behind Austen’s choice of names and settings for her fictions. She is also the creator of What Jane Saw (, which digitally reconstructs two blockbuster museum exhibitions attended by Austen.   Barchas has also written for a variety of non-academic forums, including  The New York Times and The Washington Post, and addressed JASNA members at many an AGM.  In 2016, she co-curated the unusual exhibition “Will & Jane: Shakespeare, Austen, and the Cult of Celebrity” at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC.  She is currently working on her next book project, The Lost Books of Jane Austen, which she describes as “hard-core bibliography meets the Antiques Roadshow." For us in 2019, she will examine the neglected 19th-century reprintings of Northanger Abbey and the people who owned them in her talk, “The Lost Copies of Northanger Abbey.”

Roger Moore
Sunday Plenary Speaker
“Northanger Before the Tilneys: Austen’s Abbey and the Religious Past”

Dr. Roger Moore is Principal Senior Lecturer in English and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education at Vanderbilt University, where he has taught since 1995. A scholar of the English Renaissance and Reformation, Moore’s most recent research focuses on the responses to Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries by writers from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries, a project that led him naturally to Jane Austen. He is the author of Jane Austen and the Reformation: Remembering the Sacred Landscape (Ashgate/Routledge 2016), which investigates Austen’s attitude toward sixteenth-century religious reforms by analyzing her representation of medieval abbeys, churches, and chapels. His lecture, “Northanger Before the Tilneys: Austen’s Abbey and the Religious Past,” will speculate on the role of Northanger’s hidden history and why this history was important to Austen. Drawing upon descriptions of ecclesiastical buildings in eighteenth-century fiction, he will investigate whether Austen took a different and more positive view of England’s dissolved religious houses than many of her contemporaries.