Alma Mater: A College Homecoming

Alma Mater: A College Homecoming

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by P. F. Kluge
     
 

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An alumnus of Kenyon College as well as a faculty member, Kluge presents a knowledgeable examination of the dynamics, character, traditions, tensions, and pretensions of the small, private, and costly school. Famous teachers include John Crowe Ransom, and famous students include E.L. Doctorow.

“I love islands. Micronesia — Saipan, Palau, Pohnpei

Overview

An alumnus of Kenyon College as well as a faculty member, Kluge presents a knowledgeable examination of the dynamics, character, traditions, tensions, and pretensions of the small, private, and costly school. Famous teachers include John Crowe Ransom, and famous students include E.L. Doctorow.

“I love islands. Micronesia — Saipan, Palau, Pohnpei — is full of them. Gambier, Ohio is another kind of island, a small, surrounded place where I live and teach. My alma mater, my current employer. If you live in a place, you write about it. Alma Mater is a loving, scathing, funny account of a year in the life of Kenyon College. No names have been changed. And I put myself in the way of as much experience as I could bear: trustees, hiring searches, fraternity life, dormitory grotesquerie, departmental meetings — I even moved back into the same dorm I’d occupied as a college freshman in 1960-61. For that alone I deserve Nobel Prize consideration.”

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
An alumnus of Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, as well as a faculty member, Kluge (also a writer) presents a top-to-bottom examination of the dynamics, character, traditions, tensions, and pretensions of a certain kind of college--small, private, costly, rural. The view is personal and anecdotal, and Kluge makes his points without scholarly trappings. No bibliography or index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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 forcedto 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780962325014
Publisher:
Kenyon College Book Store
Publication date:
10/01/1998
Pages:
258
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

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Alma Mater: A College Homecoming 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Donna1959 More than 1 year ago
First off....it's sooo outdated had I known it was written 16 years ago I would of Never bought this book! Examples.... Kenyon is not 20K a year it's closer to 50K! Rates for ACT and SAT are SO WRONG! Obviously Kenyon has really moved up in the world. People with the 1993 Fiske guide ACT SAT scores that they state in the first pages of the book...would Not even be considered now! The acceptance rate in this book shows 68% ah NO try the Low 30 percentile. Now lets get to the writer....BORING....NEGATIVE and CHOPPY!!! This book has no flow.... to it.... it's just so out-dated... and has very little value to anyone whose son or daughter my be considering Kenyon College!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read Alma Mater becaue my son was considering Kenyon College. What I found, in addition to some critical info about Kenyon, was a writer's return to his youth, replete with memories and a comic encounter with the present. I liked it.