Jane Austen in Scarsdale: Or Love, Death, and the SATs

Paula Marantz Cohen

Professor of English
Department of English & Philosophy


This modern take on Persuasion is Cohen's second novel modeled after Austen's work (Jane Austen in Boca was based on Pride and Prejudice) and her third novel to date. The story centers on Anne Ehrlich, a high school guidance counselor in her mid-thirties who is extremely dedicated to her work and her family. Once wealthy, her family has fallen on hard times, and Anne, the responsible one, is forced to oversee the sale of their ancestral home. While Anne appears to have everything in control, one youthful decision still haunts her: her rejection 13 years ago of the love of her life, Ben, who had been deemed unsuitable by Anne's grandmother. Ben, however, has turned out be a successful travel writer, and when he decides to settle down so that his nephew can finish high school at the school where, unbeknown to him, Anne works, she is confronted by the past and the unhappiness she feels. Although the plot in the first part of the novel bogs down around the college application process, superb writing and the appeal of Anne and Ben's relationship eventually make this a fulfilling read. Sure to be popular with Cohen's many readers as well as Jane Austen fans.

About Dr. Cohen

Paula Marantz Cohen, Distinguished Professor of English, received her BA in English and French from Yale University and her Ph.D. in English from Columbia University. She is the author of six books and numerous essays on literature, film, and culture. Her scholarly books are The Daughter as Reader, The Daughter's Dilemma, Alfred Hitchcock: the Legacy of Victorianism, Silent Film and the Triumph of the American Myth; her novels are Jane Austen in Boca; Much Ado About Jessie Kaplan; and Jane Austen in Scarsdale or Love, Death, and the SATs. Her most recent academic book, Silent Film and the Triumph of the American Myth (Oxford UP), was selected as a Choice Outstanding Book for 2003.

Her first novel, Jane Austen in Boca (St. Martin's Press), was a Literary Guild/Book of the Month Club Featured Alternate and a Page-Turner of the Week in People Magazine. She has articles and stories in many journals, including Yale Review, Boulevard, Iowa Review, Raritan, The American Scholar, and The Hudson Review. She is the Co-Editor of the Journal of Modern Literature and a regular reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement. She is the recipient of the Lindback Teaching Award.

More about Dr. Cohen