DateLine editor Claire Schroeder and contributor Mario Pellegrino have been taking English 354, Literary England, with Professors Drew Shannon and Marilyn Luecke this semester. Students in this class have read literature by British authors from Chaucer to Shakespeare, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to J. M. Barrie, Virginia Woolf to Ian McEwan. The course ends with a two-week trip to London, where students will see sites associated with these authors in addition to the many other great places that London has to offer. Claire and Mario decided to share a conversation discussing the class and their upcoming trip below.
Claire: So, have you finished your reading and paper for today's class yet?
Mario: Well... enough to write a paper. So, about 40 pages. You?
Claire: Pretty much the same. This semester has been intense; there's been a lot more work involved than I thought there would be. I really just want to get on the plane to fly to London. I'm ready to go... Except there's that whole finish-the-semester-and-graduate thing standing in my way. And, of course, the whole packing thing.
Mario: I gotcha completely! Just get on the plane and go. And I know we'll have a good time once we get there. It's just the build-up that's been killing my joy of going to London. I mean, this is vacation, isn't it? Shouldn't we have SOME joy?
Claire: No pain, no gain, Mario! Just think, at least we'll (somewhat) know what we're looking at over there, thanks to these thousands (or so it seems) of pages of reading. And I think we'll definitely enjoy ourselves once we get there; it'll start feeling like a vacation then. What are you most looking forward to seeing or doing?
Mario: Well, I like that we're going to see all the places we (supposedly) read about. I'm crazy about anything really old, but also all of the Peter Pan-related things, like Kensington Gardens and the Great Ormond Street Hospital. What about you?
Claire: I am really excited to see Westminster Abbey and all the people buried there, the Tower of London, the Portobello Road Market and Harrods. You know, the quintessential British stuff. Also, even though I know it's going to be pretty cheesy, I'm super excited to go to Stratford-upon-Avon and see Shakespeare's birthplace.
Mario: Oh man, I wasn't even thinking of all of those! I love them all. I just hope we can finally relax when we get there. So far, this class has just taken so much prep time for the trip. I hope it's all worth it in the end!
Claire: Oh, it will be. Once we're there, the stress will go away. We can sit in that little pub next to the flats we're staying in and chat with the locals. We can go around and see all sorts of historical stuff that far outdates America. And best of all, we have two whole weeks to completely immerse ourselves in a different culture. See, our vacation will be fun and educational! But mostly fun.