June 6, 2011

Summer Reading: The Academic Novel

Ms. Mentor (the alter ego of Emily Toth, Professor of English at Louisiana State University), gives sage advice on academic novels for summer reading here in a Chronicle of Higher Education column, and offers the chance to vote early and often on the best title listed. If you want more suggestions on higher reading, check here. Here's another list, compiled by Bill Brewer. Search Google with the phrase "academic novel" and you'll discover that making lists of academic novels is a pasttime all by itself. For more about the academic novel, and in case you want to understand the MEANING of it all, check out  The Academic Novel: New and Classic Essays (Merritt Moseley, ed., 2007), Mark Bosco and Kimberly Conner, Academic Novels as Satire  (2007), Ian Carter's Ancient Cultures of Conceit: British University Fiction in the Post-War Years (Routledge, Chapman & Hall, 1990), Elaine Showalter's Faculty Towers: The Academic Novel and Its Discontents (2005), and Kenneth Womack's Academic Satire: The Campus Novel in Context in A Companion to the British and Irish Novel 1945-2000 (Blackwell Publishing, 2005).

Some of my favorites (I have a bias toward academic mysteries):

Malcolm Bradbury, Eating People Is Wrong (1959).
Amanda Cross, An Imperfect Spy (1995).
Colin Dexter, Death Is Now My Neighbor (1996).  Oxford is the setting for a lot of films and books.
Michael G. Levin, The Socratic Method (1987).
Guillermo Martinez, The Oxford Murders (2005).
Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night (1935).
Pamela Thomas-Graham, A Darker Shade of Crimson (1998).

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