Selected Academic Novels
Bill Brewer 5/29/00

Allen, Edward (1992) Mustang Sally: A Novel. Norton.
(lightweight, but scene about prostitutes disrupting an academic meeting was memorable)

Amis, Kingsley (1953) Lucky Jim. Viking. (reprinted: Penguin).
(one of the very first academic satires, a classic--I haven't read)

Bernays, Annne (1989) Professor Romeo. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. (reprinted: Univ. Press of New England).
(the main character is a lecherous psychology prof at Harvard)

Bradbury, Malcolm (1975) The History Man. Secker & Warburg. (reprinted: Penguin).
(a funny & harsh view of U of Sussex as a 1960's kind of place--highpoint is a take off on a faculty meeting)

Bradbury, Malcolm (1959) Eating People is Wrong. (reprinted: Academy).
(not read, but one day the title is going sucker me in)

Bradbury, Malcolm (1983) Rates of Exchange. (reprinted: Penguin).
(this was described as David Lodge with rabies)

Byatt, A. S. (1990) Possession: A Romance. Random House. (reprinted: Vintage).
(academic bestseller, love story, two scholars on trail of an academic mystery)

Davies, Robertson (1982) The Rebel Angels. Viking Press. (reprinted: Viking).
(set at U. Toronto, Rabelais like, good reviews)

Djerassi, Carl (1989) Cantor's Dilemma. Doubleday. (reprinted: Penguin).
(fine novel with a research scientist not an Eng prof as main character, raises powerful issues of research ethics)

Djerassi, Carl (1994) The Bourbaki Gambit: A Novel. U of Georgia Press. (reprinted: Penguin).
(interesting novel about group of retired scientists who join together and publish research under a common name a ploy similar to the mathematician Nicolas Bourbaki)

Djerassi, Carl. (1997) Menachems's Seed. U of Georgia Press. (reprinted: Penguin).

Djerassi, Carl (1998) NO. U of Georgia Press.

Galbraith, John Kenneth (1990) A Tenured Professor. Houghton Mifflin.
(the economist trying his hand at a novel--not too bad)

Goldstein, Rebecca. (1983) The Mind-Body Problem: A Novel. Random House. 1983. (reprinted: Penguin).
(Princeton location, main character based on the philosopher, Saul Kripke, written by an ex-Princetion philosophy graduate student)

Grudin, Robert (1992) Book: A Novel. Random House. (reprinted: Penguin).
(mixed reviews, postmodern academic novel)

Hassler, Jon (1995) Rookery Blues. Ballantine.
(low key and gentle, also gives feel for small town life in Minn.)

Hassler, Jon (1997) Dean's List. Ballantine.
(main faculty character of Rookery Blues is now a Dean)

L'Heureux, John (1996). The Handmaid of Desire. Soho Press.
(author on Stanford faculty, mixed reviews, attack on the deconstructionists, has a following among the literary folk)

Hynes, James (1997) Publish and Perish: Three Tales of Tenure and Terror. Picador.
(said to be a mixture of humor and horror)

Irving, John (1972) The Water-Method Man. Random House. (reprinted Ballantine).
(author of Garp, main character is a graduate student)

Jacobson, Howard (1983) Coming from Behind. St. Martin's Press.

Jarrell, Randall (1954). Pictures from an Institution: A Comedy. Knopf. (reprinted: U. Chicago).
(said to be very funny, inside put down of Mary McCarthy visiting a college in order to write The Groves of Academe)

Lodge, David (1975). Changing Places. Secker & Warburg. (reprinted: Penguin).
(laugh out loud funny, the Great sabbatical satire, equal swipes at 1960's Berkeley and Red Brick UK)

Lodge, David (1984) Small World. Secker & Warburg (reprinted: Penguin).
(very funny, put down of the conference circuit & postmodern lit crit; the literary types say it contains allegories and such--I wouldn't know)

Lurie, Alison. (1974) The War Between the Tates. Random House. (reprinted: Avon).
(author on Cornell faculty and novel set there, often mentioned as exemplar of an academic novel)

Lurie, Alison. (1984) Foreign Affairs. Random House. (reprinted: Avon Books).
(Pulitzer Prize 1985, two academic researchers in England)

McCarthy, Mary (1951) The Groves of Academe. New American Library.
(reprinted: Harcourt Brace).
(one of the very first academic novels--I read it before I was an academic and plan to go back and read it again someday now that I are one)

Malamud, Bernard (1961) A New Life. Straus & Giroux (reprinted: Penguin).
(Jewish New Yorker meets Oregon St. in the 1950's, good rep among the literary folks )

Malone, Michael (1991) Foolscap: A Novel. Little Brown.
(lots of mentions as a fine academic novel, characters from U. Penn ? English Dept., set in N.C. and London)

Nabokov, Vladimir (1957) Pnin. Doubleday. (reprinted: Vintage Books).
(quality academic novel about a Prof. of Russian at an American university, there are books of criticism written about this one)

Russo, Richard (1997) Straight Man. Random House.
(extremely funny, as good as David Lodge, this is the book that started me doing my homework to try and find more as good as this--I haven't)

Roth, Philip (1962) Letting Go. Random House. (reprinted: Vintage Books).

Roth, Philip (1977) The Professor of Desire. Farrar & Straus (reprinted: Vintage).
(main character a Prof. of Literature)

Sayers, Dorothy L. (1936) Gaudy Night. (reprinted Harper).
(I have not included academic mysteries on this list since they seem to me to be an independent genre, but four people thought this one belonged here--so, bowing to opinion, here it is)

Schine, Cathleen (1993) Rameau's Niece. Ticknor & Fields. (reprinted: Plume).
(main character married to Columbia English prof)

Sharpe, Tom (1974) Porterhouse Blue. Secker & Warburg. (reprinted: Atlantic Monthly Press).
(satire of a stuffy Cambridge College, Peterhouse (?), by a guy who teaches at the local nonCambridge Univ. school of Arts and Technology; I read it in Cambridge where I had tears running down my cheeks--but some of that may have been due to its local relevance; the Brits loved it--made it into a TV miniseries--would love to have seen the scene with the explosive condoms)

Smiley, Jane (1995) Moo. Knoff (reprinted: Ballantine).
(put down of a Big 10 University, had its points, but overrated IMHO)

Snow, C. P. (1951) The Masters. Macmillan. (reprinted: Penguin).
(based on Cambridge colleges--he was at Christ's College, plan to read my next tour there)

Snow, C. P. (1934) The Search. Scribner's.

Snow, C. P. (1960) The Affair. Macmillan. (reprinted: Penguin).

Theroux, Alexander (1981) Darconville's Cat. Doubleday.
(has some good buzz among the literary folks)

Williams, John (1965) Stoner. Viking (reprinted: U Arkansas).
(a bit dark and depressing for me, could be used as a prophylaxis against going into academia)

Local Color: C-U Academic Novels

(I have not read any of these)

Hinde, Thomas (1968) High. Hodder & Stoughton.
(author a visiting lecturer at U of I. from 1965-67, novel-within-a novel, sex scene inside the whale that use to be in Lincoln Sq)

Kenyon, Michael (1967) The Trouble with Series Three. Morrow.
(author in U of I Journalism Dept. 1964-65, fun with a 400 lb. hog)

Kubly, Herbert (1963) The Whistling Zone. Simon & Schuster.
(author in U of I Speech Dept. 1949-1954, faculty politics)

Godwin, Gail (1974) The Odd Woman. Knopf. (reprinted: Penguin)
(30+ single female prof of English at a Midwestern Univ)

Powers, Richard (1991) Gold Bug Variations. Morrow. (reprinted: Harper).

Powers, Richard (1995) Galatea 2.2. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. (reprinted: Harper).
( U of I's Beckman Institute)

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Last updated June 4, 2000 by EFB