Rachel Brownstein, a prominent Jane Austen scholar, presented a public lecture on Wednesday, February 22 at 7 p.m. in Goucher College’s Merrick Lecture Hall. Titled “Dearest, Loveliest Elizabeth: Jane Austen’s Romantic Myth,” Brownstein’s presentation explored readers’ ideas about the famous 18th-century novelist and her works.
Brownstein is the author of numerous scholarly articles and reviews regarding Jane Austen, including entries on Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, and Pride and Prejudice in The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen. She is also renowned for two critically acclaimed books—Becoming a Heroine: Reading about Women in Novels, and Tragic Muse: Rachel of the Comedie-Francaise. Dividing her time between Brooklyn College and the City University of New York Graduate Center, Brownstein teaches English, liberal studies, and women’s studies at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
As Goucher College’s Burke Scholar-in-Residence for spring 2006, Brownstein was awarded a weeklong research residency, allowing her to use the Julia Rogers Library’s extensive Jane Austen collection, which includes translations, critical studies, audiovisual materials, and literature about Austen’s life and times, as well as first and early editions of the author’s novels. Brownstein’s research while at Goucher centered on Austen’s vital presence in the 21st century, both as a canonical author and a cultural icon, with particular emphasis on materials related to Pride and Prejudice.
Goucher’s connection with Jane Austen extends beyond the Burke collection—the college edits Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal, Persuasions Online, and the newsletter of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA). In 2001, Goucher was selected to house JASNA’s archives, a function that further distinguishes the college as a center for Austen studies in North America.