Fall Quarter

Fall Quarter

by Weldon Kees
     
 

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Written in the late 1930s but never before published, Kees's deliciously amusing spoof of scholarly life can also be read as an ominous portrait of prewar isolationist America. William Clay, disillusioned instructor of English at a Midwestern college, finds the idyllic groves of learning crowded by indifferent or moronic students, ludicrously eccentric colleagues, social-climbing snobs, stuffed-shirt administrators and dipsomaniacs. Forgetting his hometown fiancee, Clay nearly derails as he falls for a flighty ex-Hollywood actress-singer who plays fast and loose with his affections. The characters are cardboard stereotypes--the young scholar, the society girl, the drunk, etc.--but Kees animates them with artistry and gimlet intelligence, crafting a satire on academia, pseudobohemia and Americans with their heads in the sand. Kees, a poet/jazz composer/painter who disappeared in 1955, a presumed suicide, deserves a wider audience, which this tart tale may win for him. (Sept.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Written in the Thirties, and rejected by Knopf in the Forties, Fall Quarter is the only published novel by Kees--painter, poet, critic, composer, and photographer who mysteriously disappeared in 1955. (A suicide? Or did he take on a hidden identity?) Reidel explains in his 44-page introduction that in preparing the final copy (two manuscripts exist) he made ``salient corrections.'' The plot is meager, the contrived episodes slopwork. Main character William Clay, age 25, with a new M.A. in English, begins his first teaching job at a Midwestern college. The story mostly concerns Clay's social life, including his unbelievable love affair with a so-called singer, a demimondaine who is physically striking, mentally shallow, ethically defective, and sexually promiscuous. As Clay weaves/staggers (he's often drunk) through this tale, we encounter murder, stabbings, and non-stop sex, drinking, and drugs. Kees seemingly was successful in his other occupations, but this hybrid novel by Kees and Reidel is grossly deficient as either humor or satire, with Clay's preposterous innocence further weakening the story.-- Glenn O. Carey, Eastern Kentucky Univ., Richmond

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780934257435
Publisher:
Story Line Press
Publication date:
09/28/1990
Pages:
244
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.30(d)

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