Provided by Wikipedia Claudia Durst Johnson is a literary scholar best known for her work on the novel ''To Kill a Mockingbird'', introducing the idea of the novel's gothicism and gothic satire. In the process of her research she befriended the author, Harper Lee. When the city of Chicago organized a One City One Book program in 2001 based on ''To Kill a Mockingbird'', Lee was unavailable to speak, so Johnson was invited to Chicago to present the book to the city.
Johnson, a native of North Carolina, earned a PhD in Literature at the University of Illinois in 1973. She is the author of nine books covering a wide range of subjects, including the influential ''To Kill a Mockingbird: Threatening Boundaries'' (1994) and ''Church and Stage: The Theatre As Target of Religious Condemnation in Nineteenth Century America'' (2007).
As a theater historian, she brought to light the scandalous “third tier” in 19th century American stage productions, an upper balcony in many theaters reserved exclusively for prostitutes.
She is a professor emeritus of English Literature at the University of Alabama, where she taught for two decades and served as chair of the English Department for twelve years until her retirement in 1996. She lives in Berkeley, California, where she continues to write, edit, and lecture.