Tag Archives: Changing Places

Updated: Higher Ed by Tessa McWatt

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September 6, 2015 – The Guardian

Higher Ed by Tessa McWatt review – a thoroughly modern campus novel by Lucy Scholes

March 13, 2015 – The Globe and Mail

Higher Ed injects a dose of diversity into a tale about love, loneliness and the search for belonging by TRILBY KENT

“The campus novel isn’t traditionally notable for its multiculturalism, probably 2because until recent decades many university campuses have been fairly homogenous places. The ivory towers in Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim, David Lodge’s Changing Places and Philip Hensher’s King of the Badgers are overwhelmingly white, inside and out. Only in 2005 did Zadie Smith’s On Beauty breathe fresh life into the genre by depicting an academic rivalry complicated by ethnicity, culture and class.”

[…]

3“Recounted from the alternating perspectives of Robin, a university professor; Francine, the American administrator who admires him from afar; Robin’s student, Olivia; Olivia’s Guyanese father, Ed; and Katrin, a Polish waitress with whom Robin dreams of starting a new life, the book suffers from some irregularity.”

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Julie Schumacher’s Dear Committee Members

 

August 7, 2014 – Slate

Strongest Possible Endorsement by Rebecca Schuman

1“For Dear Committee Members isn’t really an academic novel, or even an academic satire (since most of its depictions of Payne University barely count as hyperbole). It’s a sincere exploration of the depths and breadths of human selfishness, and the contemporary American academy is simply the backdrop, precisely because nowhere else could Fitger’s particular sort of self-obsession be given the autonomy to both metastasize and self-immolate. So in the end, it is exactly Fitger’s selfishness that destructs, rather than his life—and although his semi-redemption may not redeem the rank carcass of academic culture that continues to fester around him, it’s more than enough to recommend this mischievous novel.”

August 13, 2014 – NPR

In A Funny New Novel, A Weary Professor Writes To ‘Dear Committee Members’ by Maureen Corrigan

 

August 17, 2014 – Macleans
August 19, 2014 – Inside Higher Ed
August 25, 2014 – Chronicle of Higher Education
An Academic Novel with a Twist by Jeffrey J. Williams
November 6, 2014 – The Independent
“But perhaps the challenge Schumacher and other writers face is that the university now is almost beyond parody.”

John Williams’ 1965 Stoner: An Afterlife

1“Whatever the reasons for its cooler reception in the US, I don’t agree that the novel is ‘minor’; nor do I think it is ‘great’ in the way that, say, Gatsby or Updike’s Rabbit quartet are great. I think Williams himself got it right: it is ‘substantially good.’ It is good, and it has considerable substance, and gravity, and continuation in the mind afterwards. And it is a true ‘reader’s novel,’ in the sense that its narrative reinforces the very value of reading and study. Many will be reminded of their own lectoral epiphanies, of those moments when the magic of literature first made some kind of distant sense, first suggested that this might be the best way of understanding life. And readers are also aware that this sacred inner space, in which reading and ruminating and being oneself happen, is increasingly threatened by what Stoner refers to as ‘the world’ – which is nowadays full of hectic interference with, and constant surveillance of, the individual. Perhaps something of this anxiety lies behind the renaissance of the novel. But you should – indeed must – find out for yourself.”

December 13, 2013 – The Guardian

Stoner: the must-read novel of 2013 by Julian Barnes

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/dec/13/stoner-john-williams-julian-barnes

 

January 22, 2014 – livemint

John Williams’ ‘Stoner’: A triumph of literature over common sense by G. Sampath

http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/dT7AXcGkotABxXzQveTwIL/John-Williams-Stoner-A-triumph-of-literature-over-common.html

 

June 6, 2013 – The Millions

A Forgotten Bestseller: The Saga of John Williams’s Stoner by Claire Cameron

http://www.themillions.com/2013/06/a-forgotten-bestseller-the-saga-of-john-williamss-stoner.html

 

August 23, 2013 – Die Presse

“Stoner”: Spröde, aber meisterlich by Eva Steindorfer

http://diepresse.com/home/kultur/literatur/1444883/Stoner_Sprode-aber-meisterlich

“more tragedy than comedy”

1“Is it possible to write a campus novel now? Many relied on the idea that universities were unregulated bubbles of excess, privilege and poison, populated by opportunists who abused their power in order to protect themselves from their own academic and sexual insecurities. A forgotten world, no doubt.”

August 12, 2013 – The Guardian

No laughing matter: why the university novel is now more tragedy than comedy by  Jonathan Wolff

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/aug/12/university-novels-comedy-to-tragedy

Songs of Innocence and of Experience

1“Campus novels present us with a procession of wide-eyed characters, buoyed by youthful idealism, navigating their way through protest marches, student union discos and relationship disasters – and managing to find time for lectures somewhere in between. Starring myriad characters from bumbling professors to party animals and pseudo-intellectuals, the novels sketch out the ups and downs of the years between anxious first day and eventual graduation. And I think, as we share the protagonists’ sexual explorations, drug experimentation and academic discoveries, we are helped towards understanding what we’re experiencing a little bit better.”

16 April 2013 – guardian.co.uk

Once upon a Time on a Campus Near You: Sharing the journeys of fictional students can throw a new light on what you’re going through by Tara McEvoy

http://www.theguardian.com/education/mortarboard/2013/apr/16/students-in-fiction

 

The End?

2006

http://proleartthreat.wordpress.com/2006/06/07/the-end-of-the-campus-novel/

2011

http://registrarism.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/still-the-end-of-the-campus-novel/

12013 – The Guardian

Last rites for the campus novel by John Dugdale

“Though currently very much on-trend, the campus novel is now approaching retirement age.”

http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2013/apr/01/last-rites-campus-novel

Good books, bad books

1“All writers have been students, and nowadays a sizable number are teachers, so it seems nearly unavoidable that we write about the golden groves we knew.

It’s easy to dismiss “Tom Brown’s School Days” or “Stover at Yale,” or to make fun — as Tom Wolfe did more recently in “I Am Charlotte Simmons” — of a fictionalized Duke University. But there’s a sizable shelf of books about bookishness — some of them first-rate — which take education as their subject and explore the idea of learning as initiation rite. As with any other category (the Southern novel, the Jewish novel, the on-the-road novel) there are excellent and execrable texts. It’s a question not so much of genre as of how well it’s done. […]

As suggested above, there are bad books as well that deal with the circumstance of education. The professoriate makes an easy target; so does the undergraduate. Often a writer gets tempted to make intellectual molehills into mountains; lord knows it’s easy enough to overstate the cultural significance of freshman year. The risk is that of stereotype and even caricature: the absent-minded professor, the scheming administrator, the idealistic and then disillusioned student — stock figures from English 101. But the college campus is no more and no less fertile a place to situate a story than is, say, a boxing ring or tenement or cattle barn.”

April 13, 2012, Chicago Tribune

English 101 by Nicholas Delbanco

http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-prj-0415-book-of-the-month-20120413,0,154025.story