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United States: Essays 1952-1992 - "The Hacks of Academe" (1976) Summary & Analysis

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In this essay, Vidal applies his rapier wit to The Theory of the Novel: New Essays, edited by John Halperin, associate professor in the English Department of the University of Southern California. It's a collection of 19 essays written by as many professors of English, most of them American creative writing teachers. Vidal begins by noting a major historical gaffe by the author when he asserts that "the gestation period of the novel" did not begin until 1,500 years after the birth of Christ. "This is sweet innocence; also, ignorance. Two very good novels (Satyricon, Golden Ass) were written by near-contemporaries of the gentle Nazarene [Jesus]," Vidal says.

In the first essay, "What is Exposition," author Professor Meir Sternberg resorts to a "Cheopsean" set of diagrams and graphics with...

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This section contains 490 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the United States: Essays 1952-1992 Study Guide
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