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The Lecturer's Tale

by

The Lecturer's Tale Cover

ISBN13: 9780312287719
ISBN10: 0312287712
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $4.95!

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Nelson Humboldt is a visiting adjunct English lecturer at prestigious Midwest University, until he is unceremoniously fired one autumn morning. Minutes after the axe falls, his right index finger is severed in a freak accident. Doctors manage to reattach the finger, but when the bandages come off, Nelson realizes that he has acquired a strange power—he can force his will onto others with a touch of his finger. And so he obtains an extension on the lease of his university-owned townhouse and picks up two sections of freshman composition, saving his career from utter ruin. But soon these victories seem inconsequential, and Nelson's finger burns for even greater glory. Now the Midas of academia wonders if he can attain what every struggling assistant professor and visiting lecturer covets—tenure. The Lecturer's Tale is a pitch-perfect blend of satire and horror.

Review:

"An academic thriller that skewers a wide range of literary theories and the academics who hold them dear, The Lecturer's Tale is nothing if not ambitious. And although Hynes's reach ultimately falls slightly short of his grasp, parts of his superdark satiric novel are, if not heavenly, certainly impressively evocative of the hellish halls of academe....Hynes has brought us into the insular world of academia, introduced us to its nutty denizens (many of them, I understand, are parodies of real academics, familiar to some, though not to me), made us kinda love them and their wacky theoretical squabbles, and then stripped them of their personalities and made them dance. It's dizzying — and something of a betrayal....But his heavenly ambitions — and passages of glittering satire, shining here and there like stars — are admirable nonetheless." Amy Reiter, Salon.com

Review:

"Hynes paints a good picture of the paranoia of the junior faculty as well as the pomposity of New Critics, postmodernists, deconstructionists, and various types of gender benders. The book spins a little out of control by the conclusion, but by then he's achieved his goal of turning a likable character into a megalomaniac while still maintaining the reader's sympathy." Frank Caso, Booklist

Review:

"[Hynes] writes so brilliantly, inventively, and lovingly about the sins of academe that the reader ends up, like Milton's Satan, even more eager to serve in Hell." Elaine Showalter, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Review:

"The most devastating satirical portrait of contemporary academic life I've ever read." Michael Dirda, The Washington Post Book World

Review:

"A daring comic [novel]...that will leave readers happy." Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"Though this sounds like a Jim Carrey plot device, it sets in motion a sequence of events as intelligent as it is farcical, providing Hynes a vehicle for a wicked, satiric look at contemporary academe." Steven Fidel, The Willamette Week (Portland, OR.)

Review:

"A full-blown academic farce, a portrait-of-a-community set piece that takes place in as ludicrous a community as one could imagine....Hynes has hit on a brilliant ploy in weaving Gothic horror with contemporary lit crit." Tobin Harshaw, New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Splicing a demonic strain into the usual elements of academic comedy, Hynes's novel...reads like David Lodge rewritten by Mikhail Bulgakov....In Hynes's ferocious parable, partial power corrupts absolutely." Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Review:

"Beginning on Halloween and ending on Easter, the novel is taken over by a Shakespearean-style magic until a final hallucinatory climax that reinvents the university. Strong characterizations and an imaginative narrative make this highly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"A withering and erudite dark comedy, The Lecturer's Tale will do doubt become a favorite among disgruntled students at universities far and wide....While Hynes's plot contains sufficient twisting and turning to carry the reader along fairly smoothly, it's his brilliantly realized assembly of theory obsessed, acid-tongued literati that make The Lecturer's Tale such a wickedly funny and dead on parody....[T]he biggest weakness in Hynes's work is the extent to which he blames popular culturalists for the downfall of critical theory, while sympathizing with the poor, white, male traditionalists. His point may be partially valid, but for his argument to be as convincing as his comic portrayals, it needs to be a little less one-sided." Lazarus Penultimate, Bookreporter.com

Review:

"A wild, laugh-out-loud ride." Cary Harrison, San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"[The author] illustrates an impressive, at times overwhelming, knowledge of the canon....Hynes quotes or references everyone from Shakespeare and Milton, to Lewis Carroll and Virginia Wolfe, to Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault. But all this erudition is ultimately just sound and fury....Hynes consistently goes too far, overdoing the absurdity at every turn, so that we neither believe the world of Midwest nor find it particularly amusing....[T]he author is so busy being self-consciously clever — having fun with baroque literary theories or creating a wildly absurd devils'n demons climax — that he never takes the time to bring Nelson fully alive as a human being. We can't forgive him his inhumanity to his fellow man when we never believe him to be a real man in the first place." Ben Winters, Newcity Chicago

Review:

"Wicked virtuoso humor...a superb supernatural farce." Maureen Corrigan, "Fresh Air," National Public Radio

Review:

"More than just a ribald tale of modern misbehavior among the learned class, The Lecturer's Tale sings a song of fervent love for the English language....A bawdy and bravura farce." The Austin Chronicle

About the Author

James Hynes is the author of The Wild Colonial Boy and Publish and Perish, both New York Times Notable Books of the Year. He lives in Austin, Texas.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Baltimoress, August 6, 2012 (view all comments by Baltimoress)
This incredibly funny satire of academia and the populations thereof was listed in Book Lust years ago. I keep going back to it whenever I need a wry laugh. A lecturer loses his finger in a biking accident, and his post-re-attachment adventures put his personal and professional trials into a sardonic perspective that remains long after the last page.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312287719
Author:
Hynes, James
Publisher:
St. Martins Press-3pl
Author:
Hynes, James, Ma
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Humorous Stories
Subject:
Control (psychology)
Subject:
College teachers
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Horror
Copyright:
Edition Description:
First
Publication Date:
20020231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.5 x 0.894 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Lecturer's Tale Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.95 In Stock
Product details 400 pages Picador USA - English 9780312287719 Reviews:
"Review" by , "An academic thriller that skewers a wide range of literary theories and the academics who hold them dear, The Lecturer's Tale is nothing if not ambitious. And although Hynes's reach ultimately falls slightly short of his grasp, parts of his superdark satiric novel are, if not heavenly, certainly impressively evocative of the hellish halls of academe....Hynes has brought us into the insular world of academia, introduced us to its nutty denizens (many of them, I understand, are parodies of real academics, familiar to some, though not to me), made us kinda love them and their wacky theoretical squabbles, and then stripped them of their personalities and made them dance. It's dizzying — and something of a betrayal....But his heavenly ambitions — and passages of glittering satire, shining here and there like stars — are admirable nonetheless."
"Review" by , "Hynes paints a good picture of the paranoia of the junior faculty as well as the pomposity of New Critics, postmodernists, deconstructionists, and various types of gender benders. The book spins a little out of control by the conclusion, but by then he's achieved his goal of turning a likable character into a megalomaniac while still maintaining the reader's sympathy."
"Review" by , "[Hynes] writes so brilliantly, inventively, and lovingly about the sins of academe that the reader ends up, like Milton's Satan, even more eager to serve in Hell."
"Review" by , "The most devastating satirical portrait of contemporary academic life I've ever read."
"Review" by , "A daring comic [novel]...that will leave readers happy."
"Review" by , "Though this sounds like a Jim Carrey plot device, it sets in motion a sequence of events as intelligent as it is farcical, providing Hynes a vehicle for a wicked, satiric look at contemporary academe."
"Review" by , "A full-blown academic farce, a portrait-of-a-community set piece that takes place in as ludicrous a community as one could imagine....Hynes has hit on a brilliant ploy in weaving Gothic horror with contemporary lit crit."
"Review" by , "Splicing a demonic strain into the usual elements of academic comedy, Hynes's novel...reads like David Lodge rewritten by Mikhail Bulgakov....In Hynes's ferocious parable, partial power corrupts absolutely."
"Review" by , "Beginning on Halloween and ending on Easter, the novel is taken over by a Shakespearean-style magic until a final hallucinatory climax that reinvents the university. Strong characterizations and an imaginative narrative make this highly recommended."
"Review" by , "A withering and erudite dark comedy, The Lecturer's Tale will do doubt become a favorite among disgruntled students at universities far and wide....While Hynes's plot contains sufficient twisting and turning to carry the reader along fairly smoothly, it's his brilliantly realized assembly of theory obsessed, acid-tongued literati that make The Lecturer's Tale such a wickedly funny and dead on parody....[T]he biggest weakness in Hynes's work is the extent to which he blames popular culturalists for the downfall of critical theory, while sympathizing with the poor, white, male traditionalists. His point may be partially valid, but for his argument to be as convincing as his comic portrayals, it needs to be a little less one-sided."
"Review" by , "A wild, laugh-out-loud ride."
"Review" by , "[The author] illustrates an impressive, at times overwhelming, knowledge of the canon....Hynes quotes or references everyone from Shakespeare and Milton, to Lewis Carroll and Virginia Wolfe, to Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault. But all this erudition is ultimately just sound and fury....Hynes consistently goes too far, overdoing the absurdity at every turn, so that we neither believe the world of Midwest nor find it particularly amusing....[T]he author is so busy being self-consciously clever — having fun with baroque literary theories or creating a wildly absurd devils'n demons climax — that he never takes the time to bring Nelson fully alive as a human being. We can't forgive him his inhumanity to his fellow man when we never believe him to be a real man in the first place."
"Review" by , "Wicked virtuoso humor...a superb supernatural farce."
"Review" by , "More than just a ribald tale of modern misbehavior among the learned class, The Lecturer's Tale sings a song of fervent love for the English language....A bawdy and bravura farce."
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