Thursday, 24 June 2010

"Anne went to Bath . . . "

Years ago when we were doing our masters in Literature, we had a professor who taught us fiction and drama. He was quite good in his knowledge of the subject but was a funny man with an equally funny diction. Once while doing the novel, "Persuasion" by Jane Austen there were these lines which was uttered by him in the most funniest way:

The lines are:

"Anne went to Bath
Wentworth followed her
They had their own ups and downs"

Now to a common English speaking person, the above lines will not seem funny but the boys in our class completely misread the lines. I hope you get what I mean. The place Bath was mistaken to be a place for bathing. And the way our professor rendered these lines made it equally unforgettable. He would start:

Ann went to Baaaaath (looks up and smiles for two seconds)
Weeentworth foollowed her (smiles again with all the teeth shown)
They haaaaad their oooown upssssss and downssssss (smiles for an extra few seconds) and our boys start giggling thinking that Ann and Wentworth had a 'bath' together.

Now this was a couple of years ago. In the beginning of this month after Belfast, I had a chance to go to London. In the three days I had in London, the second day was devoted to Bath and Bath Spa -- both lovely places with a quaint yet modern look. I loved walking the streets and thinking of Ann, Wentworth and Jane Austen. I was even saying aloud the above quoted lines much to the amusement of my two friends who accompanied me. It seems such a wonder to visit places you have read in novels and other works of art. It seems like living a page out of a dream. Some of the pictures you see in my side-bar are from Bath.

Yesterday while reading a book (I forget the name now), the writer was talking about spaces and mentions his visit to an old castle which is supposed to have been the place of Hamlet. He wonders about the castle and thinks whether the castle would have been the same if one did not have the knowledge that Hamlet had lived there. True. Just the knowledge that the place belonged to someone whom we have read and taught, makes a great difference. I know I would have enjoyed Bath nevertheless but the memory of my post-graduate days coupled with the information of Jane Austen made the place extra wonderful.

Image courtesy: Internet


  1. The castle of Hamlet s actually called Kronborg and is located in Denmark, frequently visited by tourists because of the Shakespearean play.;) You know as the dialog goes "There is something rotten in the state of Denmark" or something like that.;)
    It is today considered UNESCO World Heritage site.;)
    Great post dear Susan about the double meaning of words, or words taken out of context.;) Particularly when one has a vivid imagination and mischievous mind.;)

  2. heyyy... Loved those line. I too had a laugh now. Guess I need to go for Bath too... :)

  3. I've been in Bath ; it was a one day trip from London to see the Roman Baths and the Termal Bath Spa. The city of Bath made a lasting impression on me, and I wish I could go there sometime for a proper visit.

  4. I love Bath, the history and romance of it almost makes me feel like some Regency lady!
    I loved Ann went to Bath, and I laughed out loud! Yes, punctuation goes a long way....especially with giggling boys!

    Big Hugs!

  5. This is so funny, Susan, because I've had English Lit teachers with odd dictions just like your teacher's. And surely enough, quite ordinary phrases are always misconstrued to the great amusement of the class :)

    But yes, visiting places you have read about is a marvellous experience. And I read a book set in Paris whilst I was actually in Paris, and it was truly magical to be right in the same place where the beautiful fiction I was reading was set.

  6. LOL!! Books.. are amazing. Can't find words to write more about it.

  7. Susan went to Bath
    Rayson and Aleena followed her

    Yes Susan, that was a beautiful place...To add to Susan's write up, the Roman Bath had a pool of water from which fumes of vapours were rising up. The water was warm, naturally warm. A wonder which connected the earth within and outside. A belief that is prevalent even today is that what you think in the bank of the pool will happen, a spiritual pool ...

  8. Isn't it such magic when we read of places, they stay embedded in our memories, and then we end up there, one day? And I can entirely relate to your classroom experiences... on so many levels. And I have to say that Bath is one of my favorite cities in England... there is a refreshing feel about being in the midst of so much history and green all at the same time. It's like a contradiction that is thrown together with perfect results!


  9. In a few words, I can kill all the magical beauty of your words and the words of those who have commented here:

    "...a loaf of bread, a jug of wine, a bar of soap, and thou..."

  10. It is a pleasure and dream of every student who has taken up English to visit London and may be Dublin, just to feel that part of the book, character feeling..

    English Profs can be so naughty with words and pronunciations, I had a whole lot of them and makes me still giggle thinking.. and now to add to that about Ann went to Bath :D

    U have made future trip to Bath memorable already :D


  11. Oh, I love that! I went to Bath too, yet no one followed me for any ups and downs. Haha. Couldn't resist.

  12. Zuzana:

    Wow! You would have seen that castle. How I wish I could see it and say aloud those immortal lines: "To be or not to be."


    Glad that this post made you laugh.

  13. DUTA:

    It's a lovely place. Please take your time and visit it. You will never regret it.


    One feels wonderful while in Bath. It was lovely to see old buildings housing new stores like M and S.

    Have a lovely Sunday!!

  14. Sam:

    Ah talk about teachers. One can always have fodder for posts, if we start. It was indeed magical, Sam.


    I am glad that you smiled dear Sameera :)

  15. Rayson:

    How nice to see a comment from you. Quite true. while reading your comment I was transported to that day when we met Greg, Axel, the running for the train to Paddington and the fight. The hot springs were indeed a marvel of nature.


    It is, it is, dear Nevine. I am glad that you have visited Bath as well. It's a quaint wee place with equally lovely historical facts and sights.

  16. Steve:

    Ah! no way, you can.


    Please go there and experience the place. I highly recommend it.

  17. Angie:

    Ha ha. Loved the way you said that. Have a lovely Sunday, dear Angie.

  18. haha rofl !!

    My sister used to live in Bath, I can relate to this funny joke cause she shifted there we used laugh..I mean the typical cousin teasing laugh that is :)

  19. Ah! A name as this will always evoke laughter among Indians. I guess its cultural.

    Finally you found your way here and I am so glad.

    Joy always and a fantabulous Sunday!

  20. that had me smiling from an ear to ear. It all reminds of the guys i my class, always getting "the wrong" meanig of things.
    I'm glad you enjoyed your stay there!

  21. that had me smiling from an ear to ear. It all reminds of the guys i my class, always getting "the wrong" meanig of things.
    I'm glad you enjoyed your stay there!

  22. Guys sometimes take the most vaguest of things and turn it into a laughter riot. The place was lovely and I am glad that I went there.

    Joy always, Maha.



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