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Ruxandra Diaconu

Abstract

In his well-known Campus Trilogy, David Lodge deals with various issues in a gradual progression, starting from the campus world in the first novel Changing Places (1975), moving forward to intercultural relations in the conference novel Small World (1984) and eventually including the topic of the world outside academia in his final campus novel, Nice Work (1988).

This paper focuses on Nice Work and the relationship between academia and economy. The novel is built upon the contrast between university, campus, and academic life on the one hand, and companies, business and factory life on the other hand. The interrelation of these different worlds is unavoidable and the paper compares them and analyzes the manner in which the main female character belonging to the academic world interacts with factory workers as well as with company managers. The novel raises topical issues regarding the future development of academia in the context of the increasingly industrialized contemporary world.

Series:

Artur Blaim

Abstract

This paper presents a survey of academic institutions and their functions within ideal societies in early modern utopian fiction. The first utopias to introduce full-scale institutions of teaching and/or research are Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis (1627), Tomasso Campanella’s Civitas Solis (1623), Johann Valentin Andreae Christianopolis (1619), and Margaret Cavendish’s The Blazing World (1666). Like other institutions introduced in utopian fiction they serve a double purpose of co-constituting the ideal state and as a persuasive macro-sign aimed at convincing the reader of the desirability of the proposed model. Occasionally, like in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726), the academy and applied scientific research become objects of critique and ridicule. In such cases they serve as manifestations of vain attempts to control the natural world – attempts which are motivated by human pride.

Series:

Ludmiła Gruszewska-Blaim

Abstract

The article focuses on the modes of representation of the Eastern European professor in the academic (faculty-centred) American novel. Pointing to a wide spectrum of professorial-types, delineated on the one hand by, e.g. Felix Hammilenas from Jerry Klinkowitz’s Here at Ogallala State U.: The Collected Effusions (1996) and on the other, by Domna Rejnev from The Groves of Academe (1952) by Mary McCarthy, Vladimir Nabokov’s eponymous Pnin (1957), or John L’Heureux’s Olga Kominska from The Handmaid of Desire (1996), Gruszewska-Blaim discusses two most effective techniques responsible for the alienation of the ethnic Other, namely, disempowerment and empowerment through satirical estrangement.

Series:

Wojciech Klepuszewski

Abstract

Academic fiction is generally perceived as the product of the Anglo-American literary tradition. This article attempts to show how academia is represented in Polish socialist realist fiction. The comparative analysis undertaken here aims at juxtaposing two novels, Inauguracja and Lucky Jim, both published in the same year and touching upon the theme of academia, but remaining in complete contrast, not only because of the caliber of the writers in question, but, more importantly, owing to their social, political, and literary backgrounds.

Series:

Igor Maver

Abstract

The article focuses on the recent novel by the contemporary New Zealand author C.K. Stead, Talking about O’Dwyer (1999), which represents an indictment of war per se, war as a collective madness and its consequences for the destinies of every single individual caught in it. The Second World War and the independence war in Croatia in the 1990s are minutely described and juxtaposed: as all wars, both brought to the people suffering and death and have radically changed and marked their lives and relationships. C.K. Stead suggestively writes about four locales in very different time periods, Oxford University, New Zealand, and especially Croatia and Greece, where the two described wars affecting the lives of the protagonists took place. The novel is set within the framework of campus fiction, which is significant for the development of the main characters and the plotline of the book. As the plot focuses on an Oxford don who detective-like tries to reconstruct an enigmatic event in his deceased friend’s past, Talking about O’Dwyer fuses the tradition of the whodunit thriller with the campus novel.

Series:

Rudolf Weiss

Abstract

The contribution explores the German and Austrian variety of the academic novel in its distinctness from the Anglophone and in its regional specificity. Whereas the academic novel of the Lodgean mould has not been able to establish itself in the literary field of German-speaking countries, the Germanophone university novel does create a variety of fictional formats to represent the academic world and its inhabitants. The German and Austrian texts are shaped by a particular mental disposition, and, to a certain degree, by a political agenda, most notably hierarchical thinking and criticism of university legislation and politics. Some of them foreground components and features of non-academic forms, such as grotesque pastiche, existential probing, or literary and cultural history, while others recognizably emulate sub-genres of the Anglo-American variety, as, for example, the campus novel of earlier periods or the currently popular academic mystery. As we move from the fairly ‘cleansed’ German to the Austrian academic novel we find, for the most part, humour and eroticism abandoned altogether.

Series:

Ewald Mengel

Abstract

In J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace (1999), we are looking at South African university life from the perspective of a frustrated white university professor of English who, after the first democratic elections in 1994, has been “relocated” to the communications department and is only occasionally allowed to teach his favourite subject, Romantic poetry. Niq Mhlongo’s Dog Eat Dog (2004) portrays university life in 1994 from the perspective of a struggling black student who is not applying himself too hard to his studies but who believes that somehow or other he is entitled to make it in the new South Africa. Both novels begin as university novels, but comparable to David Lodge’s Nice Work (1988) they soon leave the ivory tower of academia and foreground other aspects of society: life on the farm in the first case, and life in the township in the second. Both pictures complement each other in many ways. Read together, the two novels create a lively portrait of the sea-change that South African universities underwent after the fall of apartheid. This sea-change seems to be the seedbed on which university fiction can grow, maybe not only in South Africa but also elsewhere in the world.