Deborah Knuth Klenck

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Deborah Knuth Klenck

Professor of English, Emerita

Department/Office Information

306 Lathrop Hall
  • AB Smith College 1974
  • PhD Yale University 1980

A member of the Colgate English Department since 1978, teaching an array of English courses from Shakespeare to Milton to Restoration and Eighteenth Century to Survey of British Fiction and seminars on Jane Austen, Samuel Johnson, and Charles Dickens, Professor Knuth Klenck has also taught in the Women's Studies Program and the Liberal Arts Core Curriculum, and has directed the Colgate London English Study Group and the honors program in English.

18th-century British literature, British fiction, women's studies, the drama and culture of London

  • Jane Austen and British novelists of the early nineteenth century
  • Restoration and 18th century British literature and culture
  • British radio drama and popular culture

Selected Essays

"Discourse in Emma: The Long and Short of It," in Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal, Vol. 38, No, 1: Winter, 2016.

"Samuel Johnson and the Morality of Style in Mansfield Park" in Approaches to Teaching "Mansfield Park" ed. Marcia McClintock Folsom and John Wiltshire. (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2014).

"Raptures and Rationality: Fifty Years of Reading Pride and Prejudice," in Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal, Vol. 35, No. 1: Winter, 2013.

"'You Must be a Great Comfort to Your Sister, Sir': Why Good Brothers Make Good Husbands," in Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal, Vol. 30, No. 1: Winter, 2009.

"Fun and Speculation: Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice As Revisions," in Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal, Vol. 27, No. 1: Winter, 2005. 

"'Genial' Jacob Tonson," Introduction to the Catalogue of Jacob Tonson: England's First Modern Publisher, an exhibition at Case Library, 2000.

"'Lady Susan': A Bibliographical Study" in A Companion to Jane Austen Studies, ed. Laura C. Lambdin and Robert T. Lambdin (Greenwood Press, 2000). 

"Teaching Pope and Swift: Scriblerians in Context" in Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century: Abstracts of Papers Given at the International Congress on the Enlightenment, Dublin (Voltaire Foundation, 1999).

"Friendship in Jane Austen's Juvenilia and Lady Susan" in Jane Austen's Beginnings, ed. J. David Grey (U.M.I. Research Press, 1989).

 "The Dunciad and Smart Students: Learning the Importance of Dunces" in Approaches to Teaching Alexander Pope, ed. Wallace Jackson and Paul Yoder (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1993).

Further articles in Modern Language Studies, Persuasions, The Barbara Pym Newsletter, American Notes and Queries, and elsewhere. 

Selected Contributions to Reference Books

Entries in The Dictionary of British Literary Characters (Bruccoli-Clark-Layman, 1993). 

Revisions to C. High Holman and William Harmon, A Handbook to Literature (6th ed.: Macmillan, 1991).

Book Reviews

That Old Cape Magic (2009), by Richard Russo, reviewed  in America, The Jesuit Weekly, December 7. 2009. pp. 25-26.

Additional reviews in America, The Reader (Canada), The Colgate Scene, and elsewhere.

"The Dunciad and the Old Testament," Yale University George deF. Lord and Ronald Paulson, directors (DAI, 1981 May; 41 [11]:4721A)

Professor Knuth Klenck has led seven Colgate London Study Groups, from 1985 to 2018, as well as chairing the Committee on Off-Campus Study from 2001-05.

Selected Conference Presentations

"What if Jane Austen had Written Mary Shelley's Frankenstein?" plenary talk for the Jane Austen Summer Program, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, June, 2018.

"Learning to Read with Emma," plenary address, third annual Jane Austen Summer Program, celebrating the 200th anniversary of Emma, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, June, 2015.

 "Jane Austen's School of Rhetoric: Style, Substance, and 'Delicacy of Mind,'" plenary address, second annual Jane Austen Summer Program, on Sense and Sensibility, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, June, 2014.

"Jane Austen's Brothers and Sisters in the City of Brotherly Love," Annual General Meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA), Philadelphia, October, 2009.

"Epistles and Epistolary Jokes: Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility," Annual General Meeting of JASNA, Milwaukee, October, 2005.

"Running Wild and Talking about the Weather: Margaret in Emma Thompson’s Sense and Sensibility,” for the panel “Imaging the Last Century: Film Adaptations of Nineteenth-Century Novels,” at the annual Modern Language Association (MLA) Convention, Chicago, December, 1999.

Workshop on the Cultural Significance of Radio.  “Tales of the Village: The Georgic Pleasure of Listening to The Archers” an audio-illustrated talk at the annual MLA Convention, San Francisco, 1998.

"Friendship, Gossip, and 'Real Understanding' in Persuasion," for the Annual General Meeting of JASNA, Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada, October, 1993.

Selected Guest Faculty Invitations

The Jane Austen Summer Program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill , has invited me as guest faculty since the Program was founded in 2013; in addition to a plenary lecture, I lead discussions over several days for participants, who include fellow academics, secondary-school teachers, and independent scholars.

The Southern California Chapter of JASNA has invited me to give a "Mothers' Day" talk at their spring meeting at the Huntington Library in San Marino, on June 1, 2019. The title: "'Those who chose to be idle certainly might': Mothers as Teachers in Jane Austen."

The New York Metropolitan Regional Chapter of JASNA invited me to speak at their annual Christmas celebration of Jane Austen's birthday in December, 2018, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York. The subject was "Emma: the Detective."

I have also been a guest speaker at meetings of JASNA Chapters in Halifax, Nova Scotia (2015) and Rochester, New York (2014).

Service to the Profession

I have been a graduate-school-category judge of the international Jane Austen Essay Contest since 2015, and am now on the committee of JASNA that sets the essay topic.

I have written letters for successful grant applications for the Franklin Stage Theater Company, Franklin, NY (from the New York State Council on the Arts) and for the Jane Austen Summer Program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (from the North Carolina Humanities Council).

Originator and Organizer of Five Annual "Miltonathons," Colgate University, 2015-2019.

Colgate Alumni Corporation Board of Directors Award for Distinguished Teaching, 2004 

Executive Committee of the MLA Discussion Group on Media and Literature, 1999-2004 

Evaluation Panel, National Endowment for the Humanities Younger Scholars Awards 1992 

Sears-Roebuck Foundation Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award, Colgate University 1990

Elected member, M.L.A. Delegate Assembly 1985-87

Referee for submissions to Publication of the Modern Language Association of AmericaEighteenth-Century Fiction, Studies in the Novel, and Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture