A Lower-Middle-Class Education

Robert Murrary Davis, Author University of Oklahoma Press $27.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-8061-2848-1
The University of Oklahoma English professor describes his boyhood and undergraduate education with irony and scholarly scrupulousness, but not in the revelatory and touching mode of this book's impressive 1992 companion volume, Mid-Lands: A Family Album. In his ""A Postscript and a Preface,"" Davis writes: ""Mid-Lands is about where some of us came from. This book is about how we started going somewhere else."" ""Somewhere else"" is, unfortunately, no odyssey; it's only academia. Perhaps so as not to repeat the glories of the previous book, Davis skims over how his family, friends, town and hobbies affected his real education and instead focuses with wearying persistence on the minute particulars of the Missouri Catholic schools he danced through. Accounting for his schoolboy cynicism, he writes: ""As far as I could tell, anything described as education consisted of embalmed facts, conventional pieties, and flowery language to cover stale emotions."" Yet too many details here are expertly culled from the ""embalmed facts""--official records and publications of Davis's schools and Jesuit college (Rockhurst). In the best chapters, Davis efficiently outlines the popular culture of the 1950s he was discovering as a boy and young man. Photos. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
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