“Cash Is Better than Tenure”: (De)Constructing the “Posthistorical University” in James Hynes’s Gothic Academic Satire The Lecturer’s Tale Cover Image
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“Cash Is Better than Tenure”: (De)Constructing the “Posthistorical University” in James Hynes’s Gothic Academic Satire The Lecturer’s Tale
“Cash Is Better than Tenure”: (De)Constructing the “Posthistorical University” in James Hynes’s Gothic Academic Satire The Lecturer’s Tale

Author(s): Raluca Andreescu
Subject(s): Studies of Literature, Novel, Higher Education , History of Education
Published by: Editura Universitatii LUCIAN BLAGA din Sibiu
Keywords: academic satire; the Gothic; university of excellence; literary trends; academic superstars; privatization of universities;

Summary/Abstract: This article analyzes the manner in which James Hynes’s novel The Lecturer’s Tale (2001) can be read as a satire of what Bill Readings identified in his influential The University in Ruins (1996) as the “posthistorical university.” I argue that, in the contemporary context in which higher education establishments are becoming more like corporations and the idea of culture is replaced by the “discourse of excellence,” Hynes’s novel offers an insightful discussion of universities‟ negotiation of the Scylla of the pursuit of profit and the Charybdis of selfabsorbed literary theorizing and its association with political correctness, the exploitation of junior and non-tenured faculty, and the quest for academic stardom. At the same time, I discuss the way in which the Gothic elements that permeate the novel fittingly double and deepen the critique of contemporary educational establishments and professors.

  • Issue Year: 2016
  • Issue No: 26
  • Page Range: 87-107
  • Page Count: 21
  • Language: English