The best way to read Jane Austen? Out loud!


Dr Ruth Wilson and her husband, Dr David Wilson, whom she met in the quadrangle, aged 16.

Dr Wilson first entered the University of Sydney at the age of 16 when she began studying for a Bachelor of Arts (English and Education) in 1949. She loved her studies in literature and was founding member of the University of Sydney Players theatrical society. She played Lady Macbeth in a Sydney University Dramatic Society production in the Great Hall and other roles at the Footbridge and Wallace Theatres.

She met her husband David in the quadrangle. He was studying for a doctorate in dentistry and was a year older. He graduated from the University of Sydney in 1970. They recently celebrated 67 years together. “We both reveled in our time at the University,” Dr. Wilson said.

In 1979, Dr. Wilson earned a Master of Arts (Hons) from Tel Aviv University. In 1981 she returned to the University of Sydney to pursue a degree in education.

In March 2021, she obtained her doctorate. “It’s an honor to receive this degree from my ‘alma mater’, and the subject matter is relevant,” she said. “Reading gave me great pleasure and helped me through some difficult life experiences – not just in terms of escapism, although that sometimes helps, but in providing insights and perceptions that have been internalized into the over the years.

“Not all readers tune into Austen’s fiction, but student-readers who are inclined or who can be induced by qualified teachers to read his novels in a way that embraces the personal and the creative as well as criticism are offered the opportunity to experience fun and learn something useful to prepare them for adult life.


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