January 21, 2003

Miss Manners coulmnist to speak sign at Carlos

By Beth Kurylo & Eric Rangus erangus@emory.edu

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 surprise.”

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 philosophical underpinnings.

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 etiquette.”

The event is free and open to the public. For more information call 404-727-3440.






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