Dr. Kristen Pond to Deliver 2023 Benefactors Day Lecture on "Enchanting Encounters"

October 18, 2023
Benefactors Day Lecture

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WACO, Texas (Oct. 18, 2023) – Baylor University’s renowned Armstrong Browning Library and Museum will host Kristen Pond, Ph.D., associate professor of English and The Margarett Root Brown Chair in Robert Browning and Victorian Studies, as she presents the 2023 Benefactors Day lecture, “It's Okay to Talk to Strangers: Charles Dickens and Charlotte Brontë on Enchanting Encounters," at 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, in ABL’s Treasure Room. Pond’s lecture is available both in person and via Zoom webinar.

Following the lecture, attendees are invited to participate in a Q&A session and enjoy a reception. This event is free and open to the public, and CAE credit is available to Baylor University undergraduate students who attend in person.

“Strangers bring a sense of wonder into our lives,” Pond said. “In my talk, I will explore the role of strangers, even ourselves as strangers, in the writings of Dickens and Brontë. These authors help us become more aware of how strangers connected us to our communities. Through taking time to reflect on what it means to be a stranger, we can arrive at a deeper understanding of ourselves and others.”

In addition to her professorship and chair, Pond serves as Interim First-Year Writing Director and Affiliate Faculty to Women’s and Gender Studies at Baylor. Her research explores Victorian social dynamics and epistemology through novels by Harriet Martineau, George Eliot, Charlotte Bronte, William Thackeray, Elizabeth Gaskell and others. She has contributed articles for Women’s Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Victorian Literature and Culture, Nineteenth-Century Literature, and Victorian Review. Her latest publication, Strangers and the Enchantment of Space in Victorian Fiction (1830–1865), is currently available for pre-order from Routledge.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Pond as our Margarett Root Brown Chair in Robert Browning and Victorian Studies and as our Benefactors Day speaker this year,” said Jennifer Borderud, director of the Armstrong Browning Library & Museum. “We also remain grateful to the Brown Foundation for establishing an academic chair to enhance the profile of the Armstrong Browning Library & Museum as a world center for Browning and Victorian scholarship.”

More information about this year’s Benefactors Day lecture is available on the Baylor Libraries website. Support for this event comes from donations to the Armstrong Browning Library & Museum Guardian Angel Fund.


The Armstrong Browning Library & Museum is a 19th-century research center located on the campus of Baylor University that serves as a library of record for research materials related to the poets Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The library and museum welcomes more than 30,000 visitors per year, including researchers from around the world and tourists who come to admire the Italian Renaissance architecture that makes it one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. For more information, visit the Armstrong Browning Library website.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.