December 4, 2014

The Duke and Miss Jane Austen



In the summer of 1980, through a combination of chutzpah and luck, I snagged a job as a college lecturer on an American travel/study program in England. This sounds more impressive than it actually was. The course was a two-week adventure, far more “travel” than “study,” with no required reading or papers and an emphasis on field trips. I was only 24 at the time, barely out of college myself, but I had enthusiasm and pluck and a natural knack for leading tours, so in that sense—if not academically—I was qualified for the job. I mention this only to explain how it was that long ago, on a sunny morning in August, I herded a flock of Americans onto a rural English bus and through the green Hampshire countryside to Jane Austen’s cottage at Chawton. (more…)