Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




These excerpts from the comedic novel The Demon Syllabus, narrated by the protagonist, Professor Kim Van Vimishtechten, surround the events at a college where members of the administration have been arrested for running a campus prostitution ring. The effects of the scandal on the college community are intercut with events from Van Vimishtechten's personal life. The narrative is extremely digressive; past and present are intertwined to such an extent that they become difficult to separate- both for the characters and the reader. Running parallel to the public scandal at the college are Van Vimishtechten's obsession with a course syllabus. Despite the fact that the course has ended, he cannot stop working on the syllabus, to the detriment of his marriage and his sanity. There are a large number of characters who appear briefly and contribute to the novel's humor. Episodic in structure, these excerpts form a mosaic of contemporary academic life with an accent on the absurd, the sad, and the frailties of human nature.

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