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News Release — January 26, 2001

Janice Radway, Expert on Romance Novels and Literary Taste,
to Deliver Annual Pforzheimer Lecture

Janice A. Radway

Janice A. Radway

Noted literary scholar Janice A. Radway, will deliver the prestigious Sixth Annual Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Lecture at the Ransom Center on Monday, February 12, at 6 p.m.  Her talk is titled, "On the Sociability of Reading: Books, Self-Fashioning, and the Creation of Community."

Radway has vaulted into the academic limelight with her innovative scholarship on reading habits as signposts for community formation, gender and class divisions, and consumerism.  As author of the critically acclaimed works, A Feeling for Books: The Book-of-the-Month Club, Literary Taste and Middle Class Desire (1999) and Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy and Popular Literature (1991), she has established her acumen for interpreting the act of reading as an integral part of history.

In 1998, Radway sparked substantial controversy with her presidential address to the American Studies Association, calling for a reconsideration of that association’s name as a reflection of the new concerns and directions guiding American Studies scholarship.

Radway has written extensively on issues of gender, popular culture, ethnography, and the subjects of reading and literary consumption in the age of mass media. Her articles have appeared in publications such as American Quarterly, South Atlantic Quarterly, Cultural Studies, Reading in America, and Critical Inquiry. She is the Frances Hill Fox Professor in Humanities at Duke University, has served as President of the American Studies Association, and has received Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships.

Radway's next publication is a collection of lectures titled Books, Reading and the Fate of the Literary in the Age of Mass Distribution, to be published by University of Pennsylvania Press.

About The Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Lecture

The lecture was established to honor the Ransom Center’s Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Library, acquired in 1986.  Carl H. Pforzheimer, a New York investment banker and bibliophile who died in 1947, formed the library from acquisitions he made primarily in the 1920s and 1930s. One of the world's most important collections of English literature, it comprises over 1,100 volumes and about 250 groups of letters and manuscripts that represent the foundations of English Culture.  Past speakers in the Pforzheimer Lecture series have included Anthony Hobson, author of Great Libraries, and Nicholas Basbanes, author of A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books.

Considered one of the world’s finest cultural archives, the Ransom Center houses 30 million literary manuscripts, 1 million rare books, 5 million photographs, and over 100,000 works of art. Highlights include the Gutenberg Bible (c. 1450), the world’s first photograph (c. 1826), important paintings by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and major manuscript collections of James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, T.S. Eliot, D.H. Lawrence, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Tennessee Williams to name but a few. The Center is used extensively for research by scholars from around the world and presents numerous exhibitions and events each year showcasing its collections. Exhibitions and events are free and open to the public.



Quick Facts

    What: Sixth Annual Pforzheimer Lecture: Janice A. Radway, "On the Sociability of Reading Books, Self-Fashioning, and the Creation of Community."

    When: Monday, February 12, 2001.

    Where: Fourth Floor Auditorium, Ransom Center, 21st & Guadalupe.

    Entrance: The lecture is free and open to the public.

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Harry Ransom Center
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Austin TX 78713-7219

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