Although these two ‘titles’ are dependent on subject rather than genre, I have merged them into one. As you can see the definitions are very alike.
In a varsity or campus novel, the main action is set in and around the campus of a university. The varsity novel focuses on the students rather than faculty, while the campus novel centers on the faculty. The novels are told from the viewpoint of a faculty member or, of course from a student’s point of view. The novels can be comic or satirical and often counterpoint intellectual pretensions and human weaknesses. These narrative are also called academic novels. The novels exploit the fictional possibilities created by the closed environment of the university, with idiosyncratic characters inhabiting unambiguous hierarchies. They may describe the reaction of a fixed socio-cultural perspective (the academic staff) to new social attitudes (the new student intake).
This genre is largely an Anglophone tradition. Mary McCarthy’s The Groves of Academe (1952) is usually thought to be the first campus novel. However there are others predating that. Examples include Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, Tom Sharpe’s Porterhouse Blue and Stephen Fry’s The Liar and Making History.
Although the genre may seem limited because of the location, there are numerous characters to utilize with their backgrounds, personalities and ambitions enabling an author to create dozens of possibilities.
Do you have a varsity novel favorite?
Brideshead Revisited is mine by far, with it’s social expectations and damaging secrets.
It’s National Library Week (April 13 – 19) in America – not a global celebration run simultaneously unfortunately but let’s take it to our corner of the world, shall we? Libraries have changed from the ‘quiet, echoing halls’ of bygone days into spaces enjoyed by all ages, classes and cultures. There is investment in new city libraries and fierce support for numerous small libraries in towns and small hamlets alike. As you can read in this article – libraries are well loved around the globe and have adapted to the needs of their visitors. The range of traditional and modern buildings is striking.
I have included images of our new library, which my community is extremely proud of. The original looked like this. It served it’s community well and there is still a fondness for the ‘old’ building.
The interior of the new one is spectacular – as you can see here. With numerous specialized spaces it caters to all.
What is your library like? Do you love spending time there? Does it have a unique feature?
I enjoyed this article and thought we should write our own love letter to our library. So that is the fun prompt for this week. Mine is below.
Love Letter to Strathcona County library, Sherwood Park, Alberta.
With gleaming glass panels reflecting the light and spectacular artwork adorning your walls, you are a vision to behold. A comfortable chair nestled into an alcove embraces the solitary reader while communal study rooms and computer desks cater to the young and senior alike. Your glowing fireplace makes for a cozy reading nook or a place for conversation sitting on low sofas. The story tree changes with the seasons as children read and listen to fascinating words under its branches. You embrace all who enter and feed their minds. It is a privilege to call you my own and I love the hours I spend within your walls.
Share your library love letter below.