Thursday, April 29, 2010

And sophomore, junior, senior, M.A. ...

... the most exquisitely squalid hells known to middle-class man:
freshman English at a Midwestern university.
            — Tom Wolfe

Iowa State University's English department was where Stanford grads with bright, shiny new Ph.D.'s in Lit'ry Criticalism went to flush their stillborn careers down the non-tenured Assistant Professors' toilet, at least back in the early Seventies. It was dire and humorless and dreadful, once the sense of intellectual wasteland set in.

We mere undergrads watched in horror, and the saner of us (saner, as in "still losing it," not already lost it) fled in terror after graduating.

There were one or two tenured exceptions on the faculty, give or take one.



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