DWJ: OT Books set at universities

Elizabeth Parks mep3 at st-andrews.ac.uk
Mon Feb 25 19:57:15 EST 2002

I bit back seven comments about just where that teacher was stuck/should
be stuck/could stick his 'contemporary' novels.  Seven.  I counted.  I
think I might be learning restraint--this may just be cause for a
celebration :). . . either that or I'm waiting to say it to his face.  Oh,
evil, _evil_ grin.

I think that contemporary fiction in this case referred to anything
published after, um, the prof's birth?  I really don't know--nothing in
the class was less than five years old (though to be fair the Kingsolver
was at least within the last ten years and the Lessing book, The Fifth
Child, had a sequel published around that time, which sort of makes it
contemporary).  And stuff like _White Noise_ at least had fairly recent
editions!  But it was all new to me because I'm not a big fan of, well,
Don DeLillo and John Fowles and Graham Swift and so on and so forth.  We
had to write a little list of the most recent contemporary novels we'd
read (he informed us with a condescending sneer that Harry Potter
counted if we had nothing else!) and I had to wrack
my brain.  I finally came up with a Jerzy Kosinski book I'd read months
before called _Blind Date_ and D.H. Lawrence's The Rainbow (because it's
an absolutely brilliant book-I was just coming off of a Lawrence kick and
I think that one's my favorite) and I stuck on a DWJ just to be contrary.
He then compiled a list of those books and handed it out, which I resented
because I didn't actually want to reccomend _Blind Date_ (other books of
his are soooo much better; Blind Date has an ick factor, at least to me,
related to the meaning of the title), and, as I remember, because he left
the DWJ off.  In a way, though, I should thank him, because before that
class I was always slightly embarrassed about reading novels.  Now I'm
close to belligerent about it--I'll dashed well read what I want to read,
thank you very much, and decide if it's worthwhile all on my own.



On Fri, 22 Feb 2002, Hallie O'Donovan wrote:

> Lizzie:
> >  I mean, the reason I took the class in the first
> >place was because I was sick and tired of elitest literature (after a
> >particularly horrid Contemporary Fiction class in which lots of bull was
> >praised as existential and innovative and so on and so forth while books
> >by Gloria Naylor, Doris Lessing (admittedly The Fifth Child is not my
> >favorite book) and especially especially especially Barbara Kingsovler
> >were thought less of for dealing with "women" things like mothers and
> >children and relationships
> Wow, you never told us that your uni. was doing that time-slippage 
> thing before!  Just that particular course/teacher that was stuck in 
> the '50s or its whole universe?  :)
> Hallie.
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