Deborah Yaffe

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By Deborah Yaffe, Sep 29 2014 01:00PM

Admittedly, the only connection between the author Jane Austen and England’s new Jane Austen College is the name. But I’m so charmed by the idea of a school named for Austen (in British parlance, a “college” is a secondary school, not a university) that I can’t resist writing about it again (the previous posts are here and here), this time to note its opening this month


In American terms, Jane Austen College, located in the eastern English city of Norwich, is a charter school – a free public school that operates independently of a local school district. Its specialty is the humanities, a true breath of fresh air in our science-and-math-obsessed culture.


But students interested in what we now call STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) are not lost: Jane Austen College is affiliated with a math/science academy named for Sir Isaac Newton.


The great thing about naming British schools? You can choose from hundreds of years' worth of towering intellects.


By Deborah Yaffe, Apr 17 2014 01:00PM

Maybe it’s just me, but when I clicked this link, which came to me via my “Jane Austen” Google alert, I laughed out loud:


See, I read the headline as “Jane Austen college boys,” which immediately brought to mind images of Regency-themed keggers, or twenty-something guys wearing embroidered waistcoats with their saggy jeans and backwards-facing baseball caps.


On further inspection, I realized that what’s being marketed here are boys’ sports uniforms for the new Jane Austen College in Norwich, England, a secondary school named after Our Jane.


Naturally, I believe that it’s about time such a thing existed – in fact, why don’t we have an American version? (“Because she was British?” the hecklers suggest. Oh. Right.) I love the idea of sports fans standing on the sidelines yelling, "Go, Janeites! Get that ball in goal!" And I’m rather charmed that the school’s logo seems to be a quill pen.


In fact, I’m so charmed that I’m seriously thinking of buying myself the Jane Austen College sweatshirt, in black with fetching red accents. I’ll wear it to the next Regency-themed kegger.


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