Sense and Nonsensibility: Lampoons of Learning and Literature

Sense and Nonsensibility: Lampoons of Learning and Literature

by Lawrence Douglas, Alexander George

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Two widely published humor columnists and "bad boys" of academia take their wit and wisdom to dazzling new lows in this irreverent send-up of highbrow literary culture.

At last, the thinking person's take on the life of the mind in today's increasingly mindless age. Sense and Nonsensibility pokes fun at everyone from spoof-proof scholars to pompous professors; from anal-retentive authors to plagiarizing poets; from snake-oil therapists to bestselling illiterati.
This singular collection by Professors Lawrence Douglas and Alexander George brings together their most popular pieces, along with many brand-new ones, including:

• The Academy Awards for novels -- with categories for "Best Female Protagonist -- Doomed," "Best Narrator -- Unreliable," and "Best Novel -- Unfinishable by Reader"
• Home Shopping University -- offering the greatest ideas in Western history at rock-bottom prices
I'm Okay, I'm Okay: Accepting Narcissism -- the best in "Self-helplessness books"
The Penis Orations -- Iron Man's answer to The Vagina Monologues
• "Ask the Academic Ethicist" -- their notorious advice column, which has shocked higher education

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416584827
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 11/01/2007
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 192
File size: 517 KB

Read an Excerpt


This book is for people who, like ourselves, believe in culture -- in its existence and commercial value. It is for people who still believe in the "canon," that great body of learning and literature that has guided study and cultural debate for the last couple of thousand years. The canon has come under fire recently as the tired legacy of a small clique of dead white European males, most of whom rarely bathed and suffered from terrible gum disease. This is a book for those who disagree, those who strongly believe that Hegel remains as incomprehensible today as he was two centuries ago, and that Shakespeare is still as rewarding and relevant as SpongeBob.

This is also a book for scholars, students, and all those who have chosen to dedicate their existence to intellectual pursuits in a deeply anti-intellectual age. As professors writing about the rewards of learning, we hope to show that there is more to life than generous remuneration, social prestige, political power, erotic adventure, and basic happiness.

And yet, this is a book of modest ambition. Long ago we realized that we could not single-handedly reverse civilization's inexorable decline. We could, though, contribute to it. This is the path we have chosen. If we cannot revive the life of the mind from its increasingly vegetative state, then at least we could put a smile on the patient's face.

Copyright © 2004 by Lawrence Douglas and Alexander George

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Part I


Literary Mergers

How to Write a Crossover Bestseller

Novel Awards

Happiness: A Personal Ordeal

Poetry Olympiad

Curing the Classics

Dear Literary Ethicist...

Literary Home Pages

Writer's Colony Embed

"A Funerall Elegie" Reconsidered

Sniff This Book!

Part II


Teaching to Win

Dear Academic Car Consultant...

Affected Accent Summer Camp

Dear Academic Ethicist...

Saving the SAT

Class Notes

Graduate Students Anonymous

Acme Tenure, Inc.

Iron Prof

Further Tips to Tenure

Home Shopping U.

Dear Academic Therapist...

The OSHA Report on Academia

Interview with the President

Dear Academic Therapist...(again)

A Footnote to the History of the Footnote

Part III



The Omnist

The Philosopher Is In

The Penis Orations

Talk Bad to Me

Self-Helplessness: Some Recent Titles

The Divine Merger

It Kant Be Done. Not So, Say Fox and Warner

Adventure Spas

Freud's Phonographic Memory and the Case of the Missing Kiddush Cups


Interview with Ourselves



What People are Saying About This

William H. Pritchard

These "Lampoons of Learning and Literature" are both learned and extremely funny. The authors are thoroughly, indeed obsessively, in touch with the technology, sociology, and general weirdness of contemporary life (especially its academic aspects) and they provide us with original takes on crucial matters like Home Shopping, Footnotes, SAT scores, Crossover Bestsellers, and many others. The literary firm of Douglas and George should receive a medal for these satiric correctives of current foibles.

Melvin Jules Bukiet

Tired of reading about war crimes and the semiotics of quilting bees? Then perhaps Sense and Nonsensibility by Lawrence Douglas and Alexander George is for you. Biting any benign hand that has fed them and their progeny for years, Douglas and George chew upon the idiocies (as well as the idiohypnoglossia) of contemporary academics and publishers. This makes one ponder three fascinating questions: 1. how the hell did they get tenure? 2. how did any sane publisher accept this manuscript? 3. how can the rest of us continue to exist in a universe that also contains them? Simply put, they are curs and infidels and their work ought to appeal to same.

Anders Henriksson

Monty Python meets Immanuel Kant. Douglas and George have a delicious sense of the absurd.

Anne Fadiman

Most humor writing is either smart but not funny or funny but not smart. In Sense and Nonsensibility, you have -- at long last -- a book that will not only make you laugh out loud but persuade those who see you reading it that your SAT scores were at least fifty points higher than they really were.

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