I attended Yale-in-London in the Fall term of 1997, lured over not only by London but by the temptation of a double course in Italian influence on British Art and Architecture - featuring a 10-day trip to Italy (Venice and Rome)! In addition, on offer then were a neat course on Shakespeare and British theater and one on British literature. The Globe had just opened that summer, with Mark Rylance as its director, and we were able to catch a couple of productions there before it closed for the season at the end of September. On our own, a couple of us bought standing room tickets to Tom Stoppard's then-new play, "The Invention of Love," in preview, only to find the great playwright himself standing next to us at the intermission! I think I remember mumbling something inane and fanboy-ish, which he kindly acknowledged whilst signing our program(me)s.
But it was the course on Italy, taught in tandem by PMC Director Brian Allen and Assistant Director Steven Parissien that was the academic highlight of the term. From Palladio to Inigo, from Titian to Turner, and all those Piranesis, the course was expansive and beautiful. In retrospect it was also rather intense, but it never felt that way at the time. I refused to let go of the topic, and the following year asked Dr. Parissien to be my senior essay adviser, on British neoclassical architecture in the American colonies (I was a Humanities major). Not satisfied with my undergraduate work, or maybe just nostalgic for London, I returned three year later - this time to the Courtauld Institute of Art - where I completed an M.A. in the History of Architecture with John Newman. Returning back to British topics, I wrote my dissertation on JMW Turner's architecture and his friendship with Sir John Soane. The PMC Library, diligently supervised then as now by Emma Floyd, again became the locus of my research and studies. Perhaps someday I shall return to complete my Ph.D!
While my career path has taken me away from the topics I studied at the PMC, I still apply what I learned as a member of two preservation and architectural review boards in Boston, where I now live. And of course the appreciation and knowledge that all YiL courses - in theater, literature, as well as art and architecture - imbued in me remains to this day.