Elaine Showalter’s subject isn’t any old campus fiction – novels about universities in general or student life at large: that mass of fiction beginning, it might be, when Thomas Hughes’s hero left Rugby and ‘went up’ to Oxford in Tom Brown at Oxford, the genre coming of age in Evelyn Waugh’s deliciously malicious Decline and Fall. Professor Showalter’s concern is, rather, that much smaller corner of this unforeign field which academics have dubbed the Professorroman – novels about university teachers, the doings of lecturers and professors in their departments and faculties, in particular those written from the Fifties to the present day.
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