CLASS PORN by Molly Hite

CLASS PORN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This first novel by Cornell professor Hite (Ideas of Order in The Novels of Thomas Pynchon) delivers a funny, deft jab at the insular ""Boy's Club"" atmosphere of the university, circa 1965. A young female instructor struggles to free herself from a prison of blind attitudes; thanks to a loony imaginative effort at ""class"" female pornography, she's able to strike out on her own. Eleanor Nyland, a young instructor of ""Bonehead English"" at a university in Middle America, has been dumped by her husband--a flashy academic star who left for a bigger post and a willowy graduate student. Painfully aware that the smugly superior men of the English Department feel stuck with her, Eleanor's self-image is further scarred by a mother who made her wear saddle shoes and spouted clichÉs about being well-rounded (""We don't want you turning into one of those girls who think they're so smart""). Nonetheless, Eleanor has a secret life--she is writing a hilariously purple pornographic novel for a fly-by-night publisher in New York. Desperately lonely, she tries to fan the faint attentions of a conceited young English professor by giggling like a sorority girl. She even takes solace in the obscene notes and phone calls of a mystery admirer, but that too goes flat. In order to fit in with the department, she tries to be nurturing; she types for an academic committee that plans to replace her. Finally, through a gorgeous student and his equally gorgeous black roommate, Eleanor discovers pot, the anti-war movement, and her own spirit--leading to a publishing contract and a new life in New York. Hite writes with confidence, evoking that innocent era when the times they were a-changin' in a way that makes it fresh and funny. This novel should tickle the funny bone of anyone who has suffered the pompous side of academia, and anyone who has felt less than beautiful, less than appreciated for the fire and intelligence within.

Pub Date: June 30th, 1987
Publisher: Crossing Press