This essay presents an analysis of narratives of contingency in the contemporary academic novel, particularly the mode of the “adjunctroman.” It contends that adjunct protagonists frustrate the most recognizable mode of academic fiction—the “Professorroman”—with sagas of a Sisyphean lack of progress, unsympathetic or abjectified antiheroes, and tales of instructional drudgery and intellectual woe. Such recent academic fiction may be self-published and may feature protagonists who are adjuncts, non-tenure-track faculty, or workers just passing through the ivory tower on their way to better employment elsewhere. Providing readings of novels by well-known writers of academic fiction such as James Hynes and Alex Kudera alongside lesser known authors such as Geoff Cebula, Gordon Haber, J. Hayes Hurley, and Julia Keefer, the essay ultimately argues that the adjunctroman reveals and at its best revels in the “crises” of higher education to begin imagining the twenty-first-century professoriat anew.
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Research Article| July 01 2019
Kristina Quynn; Drudgery Tales, Abjectified Protagonists, and Speculative Modes in the Adjunctroman of Contemporary Academic Fiction. Genre 1 July 2019; 52 (2): 85–108. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00166928-7585854
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