Studies in Literature, Film and New Media
Edited By Anna Kędra-Kardela and Andrzej Sławomir Kowalczyk
CHAPTER SEVEN: Faculty Gothic in the American College Novel of the 1990s
| 147 →
Faculty Gothic in the American College Novel of the 1990s
LUDMIŁA GRUSZEWSKA BLAIM
Campuses can be terribly scary places.
(Stephen L. Carter)
Apprehensive respect paid once to an all-powerful ecclesiastical caste of the learned: monks, clerics, and scribes, hidden behind the walls of medieval monasteries and treated as emissaries of the unknown; fear and suspicion raised by shady figures of alchemists seeking the philosophers’ stone, or by doctors selling souls to Satan for forbidden knowledge, may have lost their original appeal, but remain a potential, if not fully functional, point of reference in the cultural memory. A compound fearful spectre of priestly prerogatives and Faustian folly had hovered over the reputation of scholars and proto-scientists so relentlessly that in order to counteract this, culture produced their carnivalized doubles—college fools, whose ideas, research and lecturing could harm no-one but themselves.1 The early spectrum of possible cultural representations of the learned, with the powerful mysterious magus and the fool at its opposite ends, was at some point supplemented with a rational representative of the Enlightenment as well as his double: the distraught father of the Gothic monster.2 All the above mentioned types of men of ← 147 | 148 → learning make their appearance in contemporary literature, especially in fiction that specifically focuses on the life of academe.
The history of college fiction, with its two prominent subgenres: the academic (faculty-centred) novel and the campus (student-centred)...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.