John Dugdale

Clinton As Greek Hero

The Human Stain

By

Jonathan Cape 368pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

From the 1960s to the 1980s, campus fiction was a version of pastoral, comically recounting erotic antics, ideological squabbles and international misunderstandings peculiar to an academia depicted as a world apart, disconnected from the rest of society. In the past decade, however, the tone has become more sombre: David Mamet’s Oleanna, J M Coetzee’s Disgrace and now Philip Roth’s The Human Stain trace the downfall of male academics, ostracised when real or perceived sexual transgressions come to light. And these stories are clearly conceived as having wider resonance, mirroring or foreshadowing the loss of authority of other father figures, including political leaders.

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