Thursday, September 11, 2008

Showalter, Elaine. "'Changing Places' in Changed Times." CHRONICLE REVIEW September 12, 2008.

Thirty years ago, every American academic going on a research trip or a sabbatical to England carried a copy of David Lodge's comic classic, Changing Places (1975), which told a tale of two 40-year-old professors of English literature and two embattled campuses in the eventful spring of 1969. An ineffectual British academic, Philip Swallow, from the University of Rummidge (think Birmingham), and a hotshot American star, Morris Zapp, from the State University of Euphoria (a fictional state between Northern and Southern California), in Plotinus (Berkeley), switch places for a six-month exchange of offices, courses, and even wives. Both are transformed by the experience, and since the women's-liberation movement is just beginning (the Plotinus Gazette announces its first demonstration, for free child-care centers), the wives are changing, too, in ways none of the characters can foresee or control. . . . Read the rest here: See also Showalter's Faculty Towers: the Academic Novel and its Discontents (Pennsylvania: U of Pennsylvania P, 2005).

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