The Professor and Other Writings by Terry Castle

Have you ever started to read a book and realized that it brought you a bit out of your comfort zone and frankly, was a bit over your head? This was one of those for me. I stuck with it though and it provoked many thoughts, feelings, and useful tidbits.

Terry Castle was once described by Susan Sontag as “the most expressive, most enlightening literary critic at large today.” She is the author of seven books of criticism, including The Apparitional Lesbian: Female Homosexuality and Modern Culture (1993) and Boss Ladies, Watch Out! Essays on Women and Sex (2002). Her anthology, The Literature of Lesbianism, won the Lambda Literary Editor’s Choice Award in 2003. She lives in San Francisco and is Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University.

The Professor and Other Writings is a collection of autobiographical essays that while I found often entertaining, came off at times as incredibly pretentious to me. I get that she is a well-known literary critic, but her constantly using French words and her naivety at the times she is writing about, hardly made me want to respect her. Or even like her for that matter.

I mentioned the nuggets of wisdom & entertainment….

“I’ve come to believe more and more about both writing and music making: that in order to succeed at either you have to stop trying to disguise who you are. The veils and pretenses of everyday life won’t work; a certain minimum truth-to-self is required. “ (in the essay, My Heroin Christmas)

Simply said, be who you are or you are going to fail. A lot of us, even in blogland, try to emulate other successful people as opposed to being ourselves. It is tough work and you can’t keep it up.

The essay, Home Alone, was a hilarious introspective on why we are all obsessed with shelter magazines. Castle refers to is as “house porn” and it kind of is.

I wouldn’t recommend The Professor and Other Writings by Terry Castle unless you are way more cultured and cooler than I am.

The Professor and Other Writings by Terry Castle

Hardcover: 352 pages

Publisher: Harper (January 19, 2010)

ISBN-10: 0061670901

ISBN-13: 978-0061670909

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