Judith Martin, aka Miss Manners

Recorded July 18th, 2020

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Judith Martin
Saturday, July 18, 2020, 4pm pacific

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Judith Martin’s most recent book, Minding Miss Manners in an Era of Fake Etiquette, is a modern guide to modern manners in which Miss Manners guides you through these turbulent times with her timeless wisdom and archly acid wit.

Also known as Miss Manners, Judith has made tireless efforts to expand the understanding and exercise of etiquette which have not escaped official notice. During a White House ceremony In November, 2005, she was awarded the nation’s highest honor in the humanities, the National Humanities Medal, in recognition of her contributions to society as America’s foremost etiquette columnist and author.

Judith’s “Miss Manners” newspaper column — distributed thrice-weekly by the Universal UClick and carried in more than 200 newspapers in the United States and abroad — has chronicled the continuous rise and fall of American manners since 1978. Since 1996, she has been writing an additional “Miss Manners” column for the Microsoft Network, and she is a contributor to the Financial Times.

In addition to Minding Miss Manners in an Era of Fake Etiquette, Judith has also published Miss Manners’ Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding — co-authored with her daughter, Jacobina Martin — a manifesto against today’s monster weddings that explains how to plan nuptials that are charming, contemporary, affordable, and yet excruciatingly correct.

In addition, she has written No Vulgar Hotel: The Desire and Pursuit of Venice; Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior (Freshly Updated); Star-Spangled Manners: In Which Miss Manners Defends American Etiquette (For a Change); Miss Manners’ Guide to Domestic Tranquility: The Authoritative Manual for Every Civilized Household, However Harried; Miss Manners’ Basic Training™: The Right Thing to Say; Miss Manners’ Basic Training™: Communication; Miss Manners’ Basic Training™: Eating; Miss Manners Rescues Civilization from Sexual Harassment, Frivolous Lawsuits, Dissing and Other Lapses in Civility; Miss Manners On Weddings; Miss Manners’ Guide for the Turn-of-the-Millennium; Miss Manners’ Guide to Rearing Perfect Children; Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, and two novels, Style and Substance and Gilbert. She is also the author of Common Courtesy: In Which Miss Manners Solves the Problem that Baffled Mr. Jefferson.

Born in Washington, D.C., and reared there and in foreign capitals, Judith is a graduate of Wellesley College and has been awarded honorary degrees. She and her husband, Robert Martin, a scientist and playwright, live in Washington D.C. They have two perfect children, Nicholas Ivor Martin, who is Director of Operations at Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Jacobina Helen Martin, who teaches improv comedy at Second City in Chicago.

“If you can’t be kind, at least be vague.”

– Miss Manners

A personal note from Judith Martin aka “Miss Manners”.

Sent July 21st, following her Conversations with Authors session.

Dear Literati,

        It was gracious of you to join us for a polite ramble through the wilds of etiquette. I trust that you, too, are reflecting on how we can improve normal life when we return to it— in big moral ways, of course, but also in inter-personal and ceremonial ones.

        For once I am glad I never got around to weeding my over-stuffed library, because I have been re-reading my favorites from over the decades. Allow me again to say how stunned I was by Alessandro Manzoni’s The Betrothed. When I last read it, I had thought that plagues were interesting only as part of history. Now, although I still find the heroine annoying —in a crisis, you can always count on her to fall apart—  I am mesmerized by the descriptions of mob psychology in regard to both politics and a pandemic.

        I am so glad to have had this opportunity— even if it did do me out of a trip to California. I hope to see all of you in person in better days.

Yours sincerely,

Judith Martin