Two Schools of Thought

John Espey, Author, Carolyn See, With John Daniel & Company Books $8.95 (120p) ISBN 978-0-936784-88-5
In this esoteric collection, two professors who taught at UCLA compare notes about their experiences as graduate students. In a dryly witty, formal tone, Espey ( Strong Drink, Strong Language ) describes life as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford during the 1930s. He delights in telling how his worldliness and literary knowledge (he had lived in Shanghai and studied English literature at Occidental College in California) surprised and annoyed his Oxford dons. ``I imagine you have read some Chaucer?'' a professor asks condescendingly. ``Yes, sir,'' Espey replies. ``At my American college I completed a course that covered the entire works in Robinson's edition.'' By contrast, See ( Rhine Maidens ), who studied at UCLA in the early '60s, is less proud when depicting her struggle to fit into a conservative institution run by a male hierarchy that frowned upon the hiring of women and open-mindedness. See parodies the double standard that permitted professors to carry on affairs while their wives were warned to remain invisible. Despite funny lines (``I sure wish I'd read Betty Friedan back when it counted, instead of `Mythomystes'!'' admits See), the book is weakened by its stiff style. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1991
Release date: 03/01/1991
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