an Edwardian don with a switch

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Senior Member
But, reading Fowler’s, Laurel was surprised at how newfangled some of his old ideas were. Here was a book that she had always thought of as holding language to the highest possible standards, an Edwardian don with a switch and a sorrowful expression. She hadn’t looked at the book in years, but Fowler’s was Fowler’s, at least Fowler’s ought to have been Fowler’s.
source: The Grammarians by Cathleen Schine

What does switch mean in the phrase an Edwardian don with a switch?

The Edwardian era or Edwardian period of British history spanned the reign of King Edward VII, 1901 to 1910, and is sometimes extended to the start of the First World War. Source: wikipedia

don: (Brit.) a university teacher, especially a senior member of a college at Oxford or Cambridge.

Thank you.
Last edited:
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It’s presumably her mental image of Fowler, who in fact seems to have been a schoolmaster but not a university professor.
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