LEARNER'S PERMIT by Laurence Lafore


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A hasty bet precipitates a swap in identities and Nick Torrente -- ex-gigolo, ex-ex-patriot -- comes from Rome, Italy, to Acopolis, New York, to teach English literature at Parthenon College, ""a third-choice alma mater for the hopelessly degraded and inexorably stupid"". Parthenon or Oxford, Nick is still the holder of no degree at all, not even a high school diploma... And the going is somewhat rough for a while. Native intelligence, however, and the ability to quickly master academic jargon- i.e. ""organistic coherence"", ""human condition"", ""feud motif"", ""shamanistic"", and ""metamorphic identity transfer""- bring not only acceptance but accolade. At the end of a year -- the bet was that he wouldn't last a term -- Nick is voted ""most popular instructor"" and just misses the majority yea-say's for ""most learned"". Mr. Lafore treats professional patois, interdepartmental throat-cutting, the ""publish or perish"" dictum, and the peculiar contradictions of campus morality amusingly. His observations of the student body, the classroom behavior of the ""cognoscenti"" and the illiterates, are particularly keen. It's a pointed, satirical novel, but unfortunately a badly developed one.

Pub Date: June 22nd, 1962
Publisher: Doubleday