Judith Martin, author
of the “Miss Manners” newspaper column carried in more
than 200 newspapers in the United States and abroad, will speak
in the Carlos Museum reception hall, at 3 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 23.
Prior to her talk, Martin will sign copies of her latest book, Star
Spangled Manners: In Which Miss Manners Defends American Etiquette
(For Change). The book-signing is scheduled for 2 p.m. Martin’s
visit is sponsored by the Emory Center for Myth and Ritual in American
Life (MARIAL) as part of its colloquium series.
“Who better to discuss the power of everyday ritual in the
lives of Americans than Miss Manners,” said MARIAL Director
Bradd Shore. “Anyone who thinks they are going to simply get
a guide to which fork to use at dinner may well be in for an exciting
Shore said Martin’s new book, in which she examines the historical
roots of American manners, is a “powerful analysis of the
peculiarly self-conscious egalitarian context within which a distinctive
tradition of American manners developed.” He added that, in
her book, Martin discusses how “this American vision of manners”
has been shaped by the conditions of contemporary home and work
life—one of MARIAL’s prime research areas.
Miss Manners’ column, which runs Sundays in The Atlanta
Journal-Constitution, has chronicled the rise and fall of American
manners since 1978. In her columns and books, she explains the etiquette
element present in nearly every aspect of life and explores etiquette’s
A graduate of Wellesley College, Martin also is a novelist, a journalist,
and, as the nation’s leading civility expert, a frequent lecturer
and guest on national television and radio shows. As a reporter,
feature writer and critic, she spent 25 years at the Washington
Post, where she was one of the original contributors to the
style and weekend sections.
Martin has written two novels and, as her witty alter-ego Miss Manners,
has published 11 books on etiquette and society.
“Since the inception of the MARIAL Center, I have thought
that Judith Martin would be a perfect, if somewhat unusual, speaker
for our colloquium series,” said Shore, a cultural anthropologist
who has been teaching and studying ritual for 30 years. “Her
view of etiquette is actually very close to what social scientists
call ‘interaction ritual.’ It’s more reminiscent
of the French notion of moeurs—encompassing both formal manners
and tacit norms of social life—than it is a handbook of table
The event is free and open to the public. For more information call