Why aren’t there any good campus novels these days?
Inspired by an article in the Guardian by David Lodge about Pnin by Nabokov I wrote a brief piece some five years ago on “The End of the Campus Novel?“. With the possible exception of Zadie Smith’s On Beauty, have there been any decent campus novels since then? If not, why not? Isn’t the whole post-Browne fees scenario ripe for comic treatment? Or is it just that universities aren’t funny or interesting enough any more?
Some of the classic and/or recent efforts (mainly Lodge):
Groves of Academe, Mary McCarthy
Lucky Jim, Kingsley Amis
The History Man, Bradbury
Changing Places, Lodge
Small World, Lodge
Nice Work, Lodge
Porterhouse Blue, Sharpe (but at the Carry on end of the spectrum)
The Human Stain, Roth
A Very Peculiar Practice, Andrew Davies
I am Charlotte Simmons, Tom Wolfe
So, where is the next great campus novel going to come from?
3 responses to “Still the End of the Campus Novel?”
I recommend The Lecturer’s Tale (2001) by James Hynes.
It’s an American, gothic horror-comedy, campus novel set in the English Lit department of “prestigious University of the Midwest”.