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This first novel touches on and touches off some incidents which take place at a small, provincial, Protestant (and possibly identifiable) New England college, and while perhaps not quite as winterkilling as Mary McCarthy's scrutiny of the academic life, it also manages some revealing and diverting moments. These vary from the pretentious iconoclasm of the classroom (in particular a deliberately cryptic course known as Humanities C) to the domestic conditions and extra curricular pursuits of the faculty, among them Emmy and Holman Turner, who seem ideally suited to Convers and each other; their friends, surprisingly, the Fenns, whose ""shiftless, picturesque"" household is too eccentric for Convers; and Will Thomas, a philanderer, from the Music Department, whom Miranda Fenn introduces to Emmy at a time of marital stasis- the five year mark. While Emmy has a classic beauty, she also has a conventional morality which impedes Will's seduction; still it finally progresses, from his MG to Holman's bed, and the excitement of adultery withstands the inconveniences. As the year reaches its end, Emmy thinks of leaving Holman; Will, serious for almost the first time about a woman, also becomes serious about his work and gets a Fellowship; and the Fenns find their disorderly ways rewarded- with a better offer from Princeton.... Not for the prim, this is definitely adult education, as well as a bright entertainment.

Pub Date: March 12th, 1962
Publisher: Macmillan