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Lucky Jim / Confession

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Lucky_jimAnyone else feel it’s vastly overrated?

(Felt like I should stick one up that’s on topic, my topic, for once).

(But here’s the thing. The business of being a young academic, finishing a Ph.d., on the job market for the first time, links up with blogging only awkwardly, guardedly, half-heartedly. For a few reasons. First of all – there’s the anonymity thing. I used to have a site that wasn’t anonymous, but then I pretty much panicked for fear that one of the places I’m applying to for a job would see my posts. Not that anything’s too controversial – but being almost hard-left, resolutely anti-Christian in my web persona might give the impression (the wrong impression, I guess) that I’m a polemicist in the classroom, intolerant, brow-beating the younguns into the one, true, holy, and apostolic church of secular socialism when I’m supposed to be teaching them Yeats or Shakespeare or how to come up with a "true but arguable" thesis. Secondly, there’s the intellectual property thing. My sole commodity for sale are the ideas that I produce about literature. Rather good ones from time to time, I’d like to think. And even to give the faintest hint of what I’m on to would send me into spirals of paranoia that someone else would pick up on it, type up the very article that I’m working on, and submit it to ELH, PMLA, Critical Inquiry… Maybe one day, when I’m well tenured, tired of writing out these rather good thoughts, I’ll drop them into the ether stream for popular consumption and reuse. But I just can’t afford it right now. So I keep my ideas to myself – and post of Frank Rich, the Marine killing the "insurgent," and Carol Lin…)

Back to Amis, now that I’ve got that out of my system. Interesting look, I guess, at British academia circa-1950. Things haven’t changed in some ways – in other ways the world’s been turned upside down. (First of all, no one could get a job who’s completely incompetent. Jim does and is. It’s utterly impossible nowadays. Just degrees of over-competancy, all the way down the line. And I guess I’m mildly interested which girl he ends up with – I’ve got 30 or so pages left. But otherwise, the humor no longer works… And it’s built on the humor, doncha think?

Written by adswithoutproducts

November 21, 2004 at 1:26 am

Posted in literature

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