Alma Mater: A College Homecoming

3.93 avg rating
( 175 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780201489354: Alma Mater: A College Homecoming

The author returns to Kenyon, the liberal arts college where he was a student and later a professor, and examines the role of college in modern America

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Kluge (The Edge of Paradise, 1991) brings his personable manner, pellucid style, and sharp eye to recounting a year spent living at his alma mater of Kenyon College, juxtaposing the illusions about academic life with the reality. Here, reality- -however untidy--wins. Kenyon--small (under 1400); expensive ($20,000+ per year); elitist and WASP by reputation; until recently all-male; and situated in Gambier, Ohio--becomes for Kluge a microcosm of contemporary academic life. It boasts a president who alternates between ceremonial greetings and fund-raising (and, occasionally, teaching); alumni who withhold money while demanding that nothing change; parents of prospective students who, Kluge says, choose a college with less care than they would a kennel; and an admissions office trying to select 400+ students who can pay the bill while luring others to diversify the student body. At a college with a reputation of being ``not that hard,'' where grade inflation has made ``every kid a winner,'' the students, Kluge shows, are manipulative, silly, vulgar, and lazy, and protest too often while drinking too much. Meanwhile, the faculty--selected through a mysterious but brutally competitive process--are restive, bored, talented, and high-minded, required to teach but not to publish, and are challenged by a radical lesbian biologist who teaches Women's Studies by recounting her own sexual ``herstory.'' Kluge enjoys living in the freshman dorm; hates grading papers for the one course he teaches; entertains a visiting poet; meditates on the ideal syllabus; and argues for more writing skills--without them, he says, using his powerful talent for metaphor, students are being forced to eat a gourmet dinner without utensils, stuffing their faces with their hands. Rueful, tender, eloquent: an evenhanded view of the allure and penalties of academic life that should be required reading for everyone connected with a liberal-arts college. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Booklist:

One-hundred-fifty-year-old Kenyon College does not compete as vigorously with Haverford, Williams, and Amherst as it did when it housed John Crowe Ransom and Randall Jarrell's venerated Kenyon Review. Novelist Kluge's account of a year in the life of a part-time teacher (himself--his literary succ{Š}es must be more d'estime than d'argent) canvasses the small, isolated liberal arts college's social relations, intramural wars, politics, class systems, roles, traditions, and status exigencies. It is attentive to the bottom line: Tuition is $20,000 a year and rising, and the president makes a hundred-and-some thousand plus benefits, including a home that money alone couldn't buy. The institutional depiction that emerges, though unbolstered by explicit social-science theory, is everything the most ambitious anthropologist, or a realistic novelist determined to portray the universal in the specific, might desire. It includes only a few surprises for toilers in academe's groves, but for others--say, prospective undergrads or curious graduates--it is wholly fresh, the very first account of faculty work that turns away from mid-life crises and adultery to classroom scenes, students dropping by to manipulate grades, and "the mind-numbing, migraine-making reading and grading of one, two, and three War and Peace-size piles of student prose." Kluge set out to write what would be in one circumscribed sense the best extant book on faculty life--and that's just what he has done. Roland Wulbert

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Kluge, P. F.
Published by Addison-Wesley
ISBN 10: 020148935X ISBN 13: 9780201489354
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
WCC Corp.
(Moorpark, CA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Addison-Wesley. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 020148935X New book. Bookseller Inventory # B7-543

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 29.95
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.69
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

P. F. Kluge
Published by Addison-Wesley (1995)
ISBN 10: 020148935X ISBN 13: 9780201489354
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Irish Booksellers
(Rumford, ME, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Addison-Wesley, 1995. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M020148935X

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 41.70
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Kluge, P. F.
Published by Addison-Wesley (1995)
ISBN 10: 020148935X ISBN 13: 9780201489354
New Paperback Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Addison-Wesley, 1995. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P11020148935X

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 42.31
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 1.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds