Fall Quarter

Weldon Kees, Author, James Reidel, Editor, Dana Gioia, Designed by Story Line Press $18.95 (244p) ISBN 978-0-934257-43-5
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.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1990
Release date: 09/01/1990
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