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SUSAN HARLAN

WRITER/ENGLISH PROFESSOR

WINSTON-SALEM, NC

SUSAN HARLAN

OBJECTS. PLACES. MEMORIES. FUNNY THINGS.

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Great House Therapy: Lady Macbeth’s Murderous Mansion of Death

Name: Lady Macbeth, witchlike queen of undaunted mettle known for her strong opinions on masculinity and a fondness for murder. Years lived in: Since the Macbeths’ recent regicide; owned (at least for now) It has been a nonstop year for Lady Macbeth, whose husband’s recent promotions to Thane of Cawdor and then to King of Scotland meant a new home for them both.
The Toast Link to Story
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Great House Therapy: The Dashwoods’ Casual and Tolerably Comfortable Cottage

Consider familial and collective responsibility over individual feeling when it comes to selecting paint colors, especially if you want to paint a room a glamorous glossy black, which I really did think would work. And don’t get discouraged. Am I sometimes a wee bit melancholy about our lack of patterned poufs and marriage prospects?
The Toast Link to Story
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Great House Therapy: Mistress Mary’s Melancholic Manor and Secret Outdoor Space

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. Years lived in: Since Mary’s champagne-drenched deadbeat parents dropped dead of the cholera in India and she was unceremoniously shipped back to England; owned.
The Toast Link to Story
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Great House Therapy: Maria and Georg’s Anti-Fascist, Music-Filled Salzburg Lake House

Name: Maria, former postulant-turned-wife who now dons fabulous tweed suits, and Captain Georg von Trapp, retired officer of the Imperial Navy and handsome devil. Size: A large house with very extensive grounds, and Georg will not have anyone shouting. Years lived in together: For some time whilst Maria was the plucky governess, and now as a married couple; owned.
The Toast Link to Story
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Great House Therapy: Connie and Clifford’s War-Ravaged Family Seat

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.
The Toast Link to Story
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Great House Therapy: Marilla and Matthew’s God-Fearing Avonlea Orphan Sanctuary

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)
The Toast Link to Story
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Great House Therapy: Jay Gatsby’s Desperately Sad McMansion of Unfulfilled Dreams

Previously in this series: Great House Therapy: Elizabeth & Darcy’s Neither Formal Nor Falsely Adorned Pad of Privilege. Name: Jay Gatsby (not his real name), former bootlegger turned fantasist turned dead man floating in a pool.
The Toast Link to Story
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Great House Therapy: Elizabeth & Darcy’s Neither Formal Nor Falsely Adorned Pad of Privilege

One year ago, after their lavish boho-chic wedding to which all of the county was invited, Elizabeth moved into Darcy’s family seat of Pemberley. Their home, which is located in one of the hippest and most desired neighborhoods in England, dates so far back that no one would dare question its authenticity and awesomeness.
The Toast Link to Story
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Great House Therapy: Jane & Edward’s Fire-Ravaged Gothic Ruin

Names: Jane, former long-suffering governess; Edward, ill-tempered member of the aristocracy. Size: Enormous enough to effectively represent inherited privilege. 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.
The Toast Link to Story

About

SUSAN HARLAN

Susan Harlan is a writer based in Winston-Salem, NC, who is particularly interested in the relationship between place, memory, and objects. Her essays have appeared in publications including The Guardian US, The Paris Review Daily, Guernica, Roads & Kingdoms, The Morning News, The Awl, Curbed, Racked, Atlas Obscura, The Common, The Toast, Nowhere, Literary Hub, The Bitter Southerner, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, The Brooklyn Quarterly, Avidly, and Public Books. She also writes about feminist issues for venues such as Jezebel, Literary Mothers, The Feminist Wire, DAME, Skirt!, The Hairpin, The Establishment, Queen Mob's Tea House, The Belladonna, The South Carolina Review, and The Manifest-Station. She holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from New York University and an M.A. in English Renaissance theater history from King’s College London and teaches English at Wake Forest University. Her book Luggage was published in the Bloomsbury series Object Lessons in March 2018. Her book Decorating a Room of One's Own, a humorous mash-up of home design reportage and literary homes based on her column for The Toast, will be published by Abrams in October 2018.

She is represented by Jim McCarthy of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret Literary Management.

Photo credit Sarah Torretta Klock.

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www.susan-harlan.com

Skills

  • Teaching
  • Writing