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Description - Pictures from an Institution by Randall Jarrell

Beneath the unassuming surface of a progressive women s college lurks a world of intellectual pride and pomposity awaiting devastation by the pens of two brilliant and appalling wits. Randall Jarrell s classic novel was originally published to overwhelming critical acclaim in 1954, forging a new standard for campus satire and instantly yielding comparisons to Dorothy Parker s razor-sharp barbs. Like his fictional nemesis, Jarrell cuts through the earnest conversations at Benton College mischievously, but with mischief nowhere more wicked than when crusading against the vitriolic heroine herself. A most literate account of a group of most literate people by a writer of power. . . . A delight of true understanding. Wallace Stevens I m greatly impressed by the real fun, the incisive satire, the closeness of observation, and in the end by a kind of sympathy and human warmth. It s a remarkable book. Robert Penn Warren Move over Dorothy Parker. "Pictures ." . . is less a novel than a series of poisonous portraits, set pieces, and endlessly quotable put-downs. Read it less for plot than sharp satire, Jarrell s forte. Mary Welp One of the wittiest books of modern times. "New York Times" [T]he father of the modern campus novel, and the wittiest of them all. Extraordinary to think that political correctness was so deliciously dissected 50 years ago. Noel Malcolm, "Sunday Telegraph" A sustained exhibition of wit in the great tradition. . . . Immensely and very devastatingly shrewd. Edmund Fuller, "Saturday Review" [A] work of fiction, and a dizzying and brilliant work of social and literary criticism. Not only a unique and serious joke-book, as Lowell called it, but also a meditation made up of epigrams. Michael Wood"

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780226393742
ISBN-10: 0226393747
Format: Paperback
(278mm x 154mm x 14mm)
Pages: 286
Imprint: University of Chicago Press
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Publish Date: 1-Apr-1986
Country of Publication: United States

Book Reviews - Pictures from an Institution by Randall Jarrell

US Kirkus Review » An unquiet academic report from a poet-critic, this parades the educational zoo of the very expensive, progressive Benton College as the short tenure of the novelist, Gertrude Johnson, stings and immobilizes President down to secretary. Gertrude, temporarily teaching creative writing, exposes herself, her husband and the staff with her arid, unrestrained condemnations; roils the infinite monotony and instigates an excessive chaos. The first person narration, by a member of the English department, indicates the caste that does not believe in caste, the striation of the lives of President and Mrs. Robbins, the Whittakers, the Rosenbaums, Constance Morgan, Gertrude and her omnipresent husband, Sidney Bacon, and the novel that is forming through the dissection of the collection before her. Her virtuoso performance carry their poison and the stripping of the shams, the pretensions, mirror, the pitiful self-deceptions and an enclosed, almost secret world. There are faculty with their social gestures, faculty with their intimate feelings, faculty with their classroom facade, as the double vision of Gertrude and her narrator pick away at their thin covering of self protection. A spiked broth in which headiness comes close to a headache but which does have the leaven of a discriminating and uncompromising humor. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Randall Jarrell

Randall Jarrell (1914 1965) was the author of six volumes of poetry and the recipient of theNational Book Award for Poetry in 1961." Pictures from an Institution "is his only novel."

Books By Randall Jarrell

Pictures from an Institution by Randall Jarrell
Paperback, May 2010
Man Who Loved Children by Randall Jarrell
Paperback / softback, March 2006
Randall Jarrell on W. H. Auden by Randall Jarrell
Hardback, April 2005