Tag Archives: Lucky Jim

Lydia Kiesling’s The Golden State

September 6, 2018 – Slate

The Agony of Bureaucracy

A conversation with Lydia Kiesling about The Golden State.

By 

The job Daphne drives away from is at a university that looks a lot like UC–Berkeley. How does your novel compare to other campus novels?

Some of my literary sensibility was for better or worse formed by novels like Lucky Jim, with a comic protagonist we are meant to see as Everyman. I’m amazed at how long it took me to realize not only that Lucky Jim is a terrible Everyman but that there’s a lot of harm written into that book—the casualties of the book (poor Margaret Peel) are presented as funny. I still love the book and have a soft spot for that campus-novel sensibility that is arch and judgmental and barbarously unempathetic, but it’s basically irreconcilable with the way women are socialized, and with the demands of motherhood. My book is in some ways the result of taking a Lucky Jim type of sensibility but putting it on a woman with a baby. Suddenly, the book is completely different. There are stakes.”

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Julie Schumacher’s “The Shakespeare Requirement”

August 20, 2018 – The New Republic

The New Campus Novel

Julie Schumacher’s “The Shakespeare Requirement” is a playful, sharp satire of the horrors of modern academia.

By JOSEPHINE LIVINGSTONE

“The Shakespeare Requirement takes on a department in a terrible state. English at Payne is not so much an intellectual nest of idiot vipers, as in The History Man, but rather a collection of people with very little energy left to give, trying in their semi-competent way to keep their subject alive in a hostile culture. Fitger is perhaps the least competent among them—he can barely use email, for example—but the travails of the novel end up testing his worth as a human being, not as an administrator.”

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.”

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.”

“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

Charles Nevin on the past and future of campus fiction

16 June 2013 – The Guardian

How Tom Sharpe earned his seat at high table of campus fiction by Charles Nevin 

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