BySusan Harlan

Susan Harlan is an English professor at Wake Forest University, where she specializes in Shakespeare. Her essays have appeared in venues such as The Guardian US, The Morning News, Roads & Kingdoms, Nowhere, The Awl, Public Books, and Curbed.

  1. What Friends Say: That they’re sorry, but something came up and they can’t come over after all.

  2. Devonshire is known for its rich pastures, downs, pleasant woods, and total lack of beaux.

  3. 13. Help her to curb her shopping impulse. She will no doubt want to buy a lot of wool sweaters that look like Keri Russell’s sweaters. She may also seek out a pair of high-waisted Guess jeans or a bodysuit, which she will justify by saying, “Well, it wasn’t the 1980s unless you could feel snaps in your crotch.”

  4. Name: Mary Lennox, once-bratty orphan who has rather improved in her demeanor
    Location: Yorkshire, England, where the wind is always wutherin’
    Size: Unknown, as owner Mr. Archibald Craven spends most of his time wandering the earth in a vain attempt to escape his sorrows

  5. Their Style: Georg favors a seafaring aesthetic inspired by rigid discipline, uniforms, and a lot of marching. He likes rooms to conduct themselves with the utmost order and decorum. I enjoy large fountains, tree-lined streets, extravagant home puppet theaters, and statues that remind me of the Reverend Mother’s chiseled cheekbones.

  6. Name: Constance Chatterley, a bonny Scotch trout of a lady, and Clifford Chatterley, baronet and member of the intelligentsia
    Location: In the soulless ugliness of the coal-and-iron Midlands
    Size: Massive enough for Connie to conduct an affair in her third-floor parlour without much trouble
    Years lived in together: Since the autumn of 1920, after the end of all the death and horror (the pity of war, etc.); owned

  7. Name: Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, bickering but affectionate siblings d’un certain age Location: Prince Edward Island, Canada, past Barry’s Pond (or the Lake of Shining Waters) and down the Avenue (or the White Way of Delight) Size: Appropriate and sensible Years lived in: Since their youth, which was spent nursing their dying father rather than courting When Matthew and Marilla decided to adopt a little orphan boy from the asylum in Nova Scotia, they had…

  8. Previously in this series: Great House Therapy: Elizabeth & Darcy’s Neither Formal Nor Falsely Adorned Pad of Privilege This post is generously sponsored by Kaia Dekker, who has been working on creating a comfortable, beautiful keyboard that you can learn more about here. Name: Jay Gatsby (not his real name), former bootlegger turned fantasist turned dead man floating in a pool Location: West Egg, New York; less fashionable than East Egg, though this is a…

  9. Previously in this series: Great House Therapy: Jane & Edward's Fire-Ravaged Gothic Ruin Name: Elizabeth, feisty heroine who nonetheless fully conforms to patriarchal expectations; Darcy, reformed grouch and scantily clad swimmer in lakes Location: Derbyshire, England Size: Bigger and better than all other houses in the county (ask anyone) Years lived in: Since Darcy was the sweetest-tempered, most generous-hearted boy in the world; owned One year ago, after…

  10. Susan Harlan's previous work for The Toast can be found here. When I was in Paris recently, I wondered what would happen if I just never went home. Most people wonder this in Paris. It is not novel. When I graduated from college, I was all set to move there and start an internship at The International Herald Tribune. I can’t remember how I managed to get this internship. It seems that it should…

  11. Susan Harlan's previous work for The Toast can be found here. Names: Jane, former long-suffering governess; Edward, ill-tempered member of the aristocracy Location: Yorkshire, England Size: Enormous enough to effectively represent inherited privilege Years lived in: Probably since William the Conqueror; Owned Jane and Edward’s charming ruin Thornfield Hall may no longer be their primary residence, but it persists as a reminder of the extraordinary beauty of the Great Houses of the English countryside.

  12. I had been living in North Carolina for five years before anyone told me that Dirty Dancing was filmed at Lake Lure, a summery vacation spot just a couple of hours away from me. This information was shocking, like learning that God resided quite nearby and was up for visitors. 

    I got out my atlas and circled the blue dot with a pencil. Just a small circle, so I could find