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Section 0: Home

Section 1: History

Section 2: Literature

Section 3: Philosophy

Section 4: Creative Writing

Professor Thornhart's Magical Literary Tour

The true university these days
is a collection of books.
Thomas Carlyle

Click to enlarge The entrance to the Dickens House.

Coming to take you away...

Does your heart no longer leap up when you behold a rainbow in the sky? Perhaps you’re having the worst of times…when you long to be having the best of times. Sometimes, though, you may need a little persuasion to go straying very far from the familiar, madding crowd. Well, weep no more, my lady…

This is an invitation to pitch those hefty trashy paperback novels - you know, the ones with Fabio on the cover - into a giant Hefty trash bag, and come join us instead on Professor Patrick Thornhart’s Magical Literary Tour.

Yes, great literature is magic - and romance and adventure, too. Professor Thornhart became a scholor in order to share his love of books and poetry with all who are willing to accept the experience. If you are, a world of reading pleasure waits for you. This Magical Literary Tour begins in the British Isles, where you will find that literary gems sparkle from every corner of this enchanted land.

Click to enlargeWelcome to Chawton, the one-time home of Jane Austen.

Charles Dickens

We embark upon our tour in London. Here, our first stop is a visit to the Dickens House on Doughty Street, where Charles Dickens lived at the beginning of his illustrious career. You may learn all about his fascinating life in this now illuminating museum. We won’t forget to stop by the tiny gift shop - copies of all of Mr. Dickens’ works are available there. 

If you are in the mood for a story featuring lovers succeeding against the odds, you might avail yourself of a copy of Our Mutual Friend, and read about the triumph of Eugene Wrayburn and Lizzie Hexham.

Jane Austen

Next, leaving London, we set our sights toward the west, and soon find ourselves arriving in peaceful Hampshire, Jane Austen’s country. Her former residence in Chawton is as quaint and delightful as if we had just stepped back in time for a cup of tea with the inimitable author. 

Click to enlargeWilliam Shakespeare was born here.

After a stroll around the picturesque village, you will want to follow the professor’s recommendation and put Jane’s Persuasion, his personal favorite Austen novel, on your reading list. (Yes, he admits to feeling a special affinity for Captain Wentworth in his struggle to win the hand of Anne Elliot.)

William Shakespeare

Our next destination leads us north, to William Shakespeare’s home tpwm, Stratford on Avon. It is time to immerse ourselves in his timeless words of love, wisdom, humor, and magic. 

Click to enlarge The atmospheric Bronte Parsonage in West Yorkshire.

Shakespeare's tale of confused lovers, Much Ado About Nothing, should be much to your liking (as it is to Professor Thornhart’s, as he is particularly fond of tales where stubborn lovers unite in the end) whenever a romantic ramble with the Bard appeals.

The Brontės

As our Magical Literary Tour heads even farther north, to Haworth in West Yorkshire, the mysterious moors stretch to the horizon, and you know that we have finally reached Brontė country. This is the final destination of our tour. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontė, daughters of another Irish Patrick, the Reverend (and author) Patrick Brontė of County Down, are waiting to transport you to the wonders of their childhood lands of Angria and Gondal.

As we know from the professor, there is something very special about Irishman, and Charlotte’s husband, the Reverend Arthur Bell Nicholls, was also Irish. Professor Thornhart feels a particular bond with him, as the Reverend Nicholls was a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, where the professor teaches poetry and literature.

We have reached the end of our travels, but don’t despair - you may conduct a magical literary tour of your own at any time you wish by merely opening one of your new treasures and allowing it to whisk you away to the worlds of wonder in reading.