Archive for January 21st, 2010

“Hapless target of satire”? We think not.

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

castleFun interview with Terry Castle, author of HarperCollin’s just-released The Professor and Other Writings, in the New York Times here.

James Wolcott of Vanity Fair, calls Terry Castle a “Jedi knight of literary exploration and lesbian scholarship,” and The castle2Professor “a greatest-hits package of show-stopping monologues and offhand-genius riffs.”  Terry, who describes herself in the New York Times as an erstwhile “hapless target of satire” during the time she was “an unpopular child growing up in San Diego and London,” is best known as the author of Literature of Lesbianism.

Apparently, interviewer Deborah Solomon was surprised that a lit prof would write “sparkling and witty prose.” Most writers are herded onto campuses nowadays, aren’t they? Terry’s chum Susan Sontag was a notable exception — and disses academia in “Desperately Seeking Susan,” a key essay in the book (the London Review of Books has the 2005 essay here).

Solomon’s defeated expectation notwithstanding, it’s a rather lively interview.  Sample exchange:

Solomon: Camille Paglia has written that gay men are much livelier company than lesbians, whom she associates with “resentment or ideology.” Do you agree that lesbians suffer from a paucity of wit?
Castle: Well, those who drank the Kool-Aid in the ’70s in the heyday of lesbian separatism — a lot of them have ended up in the academic world as historians or sociologists. And so there is a kind of earnest and stylistically impaired lesbian who is still in existence, like a stegosaurus.

More on Terry’s latest book later…