Q&A with instructor of English Randi Pahlau


Randi Pahlau started teaching at Malone in 1989 while she was still studying for her master’s degree at Kent State University. She has been part of the Language and Literature department for 25 years.

Aviso: Tell me a little bit about your educational background.

Pahlau: I got all my education at Kent State University, and it has all been in British Literature. I’m currently specializing in Shakespeare and Jane Austen.

Aviso: What else did you do before coming to Malone? 

Randi Pahlau has been part of the Language and Literature department for 25 years.

Pahlau: I taught high school for a short time, Canton City Schools—I was at Timken High School. They’ve changed it now. I’m not sure how it is, but when I went, Timken was just a regular high school.

Aviso: Why have you chosen to specialize in Shakespeare and Jane Austen?

Pahlau: I just genuinely enjoy both of them, and when they told me I should choose between them, I just couldn’t—I could not decide which one to choose, so I went with both. So I’m writing about them together, with the same topic.

Aviso: Do you see connections there?

Pahlau: They are more alike than most people would think. They cover the same issues in different ways, and you can see influences of Shakespeare in Austen’s work—borrowing phrases . . . nothing blatant, you have to look for it. She was definitely influenced by Shakespeare. I’m writing about how they have similar attitudes toward the environment and toward religion in general—an eco-theological comparison between them.

Aviso: What’s your favorite thing about Shakespeare?

Pahlau: Watching [his work] live.

Aviso: What’s your favorite performance?

Pahlau: If you made me choose, right now I would say David Tennant and Catherine Tate doing Much Ado About Nothing.

Aviso: Tell me about your family.

Pahlau: Three brothers—so I grew up as a tomboy. But at the same time, it was always three boys and then me. I was the only one who ever had my own room . . . so it was kind of a weird way to grow up. Right now I’m married; have been for 28 years. Rick is a police officer.

Aviso: Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions?

Pahlau: We would just have big family dinners.

Aviso: What are some of your non-literary interests or hobbies?

Pahlau: I do cross stitch, which I enjoy very much. And I play the piano. I used to teach lessons, and accompany choirs, and do jazz band and all kinds of stuff. I’ve left all that behind now, but I do still play the piano.

Aviso: What is one of your favorite places to travel?

Pahlau: Norway. I’m half Norwegian, so that’s part of it. So I’ve been there three times because of family and that. Norway has a coastal cruise, they call it, because Norway’s so mountainous, and there used to not be that many roads . . . so one of the main ways to get around was by boat up the coast. So that’s how mail was delivered. Even though there are good roads now, they still have these coastal boats, and they stop in every port, even tiny little villages, big cities, whatever, and they have a coastal cruise you can take that goes all the way up to almost Russia . . . and then you can come down again. So I’ve seen every fjord in Norway.

Blaire Thompson is the editor-in-chief of The Aviso AVW.

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