Tag Archives: James Hynes

“The Rise of the Academic Novel” – the 2012 seminal article

1“The academic novel is usually considered a quaint genre, depicting the insular world of academe and directed toward a coterie audience. But it has become a major genre in contemporary American fiction and glimpses an important dimension of American life.”

October 17th, 2012 – Oxford University Press’ Blog

The Rise of the Academic Novel by Jeffrey J. Williams

(An excerpt from “The Rise of the Academic Novel. American Literary History. Vol. 24, No. 3. 2012. 561-589.)

http://blog.oup.com/2012/10/rise-of-academic-novel-genre-american-literary-history/

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

Ever heard of Ms. Mentor?

1

Ms. Mentor (or Emily Toth) writes an advice column in The Chronicle of Higher Education. In addition, once a year she nominates academic novels for summer reading (Ackies, i.e. Academic Novel Awards).

1. August 26, 2009 – A Novel Form of Revenge

http://chronicle.com/article/A-Novel-Form-of-Revenge/48089

2. June 3, 2010 – Is There a Cure for the Summertime Blues?

http://chronicle.com/article/Is-There-a-Cure-for-the/65746

3. June 5, 2011 – Novel Academic Novels

http://chronicle.com/article/Novel-Academic-Novels/127748

4. June 11, 2012 – Novel Academic Novels: the Sequel

5. May 27, 2013 – Adjunct or Starving Artist? Should an M.F.A. trying to make it in her field accept an adjunct teaching job or take a break from academe?

http://chronicle.com/article/Adjunct-or-Starving-Artist-/139457/

More academe-related advice by Ms. Mentor can be found here.