Tropical Landscape with Skaters

I may be the only person in Florida, or the southeast, or even the whole US, who researches eighteenth-century British literature and also plays ice hockey. Last semester, I taught Alexander Pope, Samuel Johnson, and Jane Austen, then a few hours later played the sport that inspired the joke: “I went to a fight, and […]

Twitter Accounts I’d Like to Make

Twitter offers clever people countless opportunities to be clever. This makes the platform both brilliant and frustrating. It’s where the Chronicle of Higher Education tweets about how Twitter has ruined academia, but it’s also where you can get both teaching tips and detailed analysis of Game of Thrones, the Great British Bake Off, or the […]

Jane Austen, On Sabbatical

“Solitary elegance”—the phrase, invoked in an 1813 letter to her sister Cassandra, is quintessentially Jane Austen’s, but I’ve adopted it as my own. How better to capture the luxurious state of a sabbatical, when I found myself detached from the sound and fury of a college campus and quietly alone at home, free to read […]

Dickinson’s Luxury

In the years before I started grad school, I worked for a time at a French bakery on the ground floor of a five-star hotel. It was essentially a fast-casual restaurant dressed up with ornate lettering and heavy marble tables, the kind of place populated mostly by hotel guests, businesspeople on their lunch breaks, and […]


Erin Severson is an aspiring eighteenth-centuryist whose heart has always belonged to Jonathan Swift. She recently graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in English Literature and a minor in the History of Science, Technology, & Medicine. A long-time devotee of the Clark Library and current intern at the Huntington, Erin spends a majority of her […]

Tourists of Eden

When I told the customs officer at Heathrow that we were heading to the Lake District, it was an inauspicious start to our journey. “The Lake District?” “Yes,” I replied. “You do realize it’s January, right?” he asked. Had we brought waterproof boots and thick coats? Did we have umbrellas at the very least? Didn’t we […]

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