Love in the Literature

Claire Solomon, OC ’98, and DeSales Harrison are united through the humanities — language and literature characterize their life together. Claire is an associate professor of Hispanic Studies and Comparative Literature while DeSales is a professor of English. While sitting in Claire’s office, they both wear beaded bracelets of contrasting colors made by DeSales’ daughter.

They met for the first time at the home of Wendy Hyman, another professor of English and Comparative Literature. They became friends then and connected with one another through humor, especially about being professors at Oberlin. At the time, they were married to other people, only to later find themselves each in similar situations out of their relationships.

Claire and DeSales coincidentally met again in New York while Claire was living there on extend- ed leave. Their first date was a walk around the Met Cloisters, only to randomly stumble across a Renaissance Faire in Washington Heights, which was composed of a vast array of Obies they both recognized.

Their first date in Oberlin was a bit less outlandish — a simple jaunt to Slow Train.

With their love of literature, the pair frequently exchange book titles, both fiction and nonfiction. Claire has read and reread a variety of poetry courtesy of DeSales. In their home, they enjoy reading together in front of their fireplace. They reread Paradise Lost — which, by pure coincidence, other Oberlin professors were reading simultaneously, as if there existed a collective consciousness among faculty.

Like so many other couples, Claire and DeSales recognize Oberlin’s intrinsic ability to unify through intentional community. There’s confidence in knowing that connection is inherent between those intensely associated with Oberlin, whether they’re alums or longtime faculty.

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