Reading for: The University Novel

I've just done a great long post on university novels only to have it swallowed in some bizarre black hole in cyberspace. I can't possibly write it all again. But the novels I recommended were:

Zadie Smith – On Beauty

Malcolm Bradbury – The History Man

Tom Sharpe – Porterhouse Blue

David Lodge – Thinks

Alison Lurie – The War Between the Tates

Boy, I hate computers sometimes.

4 thoughts on “Reading for: The University Novel

  1. Well essentially because they are all set in university environments. The Sharpe novel is probably the most dated, and that’s set in 60s Cambridge. The Bradbury is set in a new UK university in the 70s, Alison Lurie’s is set a little later and in the States. The Lodge and the Smith are contemporary novels, with Zadie Smith’s narrative located on both sides of the Atlantic whilst David Lodge favours the north of Britain. I’m in such a sulk! They’re all wonderful books combining big ideas with comedy of manners. I will take your wise words to heart…

  2. I actually prefer Bradbury’s “Stepping Westward” to “The History Man”: the characters aren’t quite so vile and the Middle Americana is dead-on. Not that “The History Man” doesn’t seem utterly believable…

  3. I read Porterhouse Blue in grad school and while very funny, cannot compare to university novels like A.S. Byatt’s Possession. If you are a literature major or are at least familiar with literary criticism, you’ll enjoy this book.

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