Tuesday, December 1, 2020


I was teaching a novel, an enormous novel, at least four inches thick, by a Latin-American writer whose name I had picked up from reading Jorge Luis Borges. Do you like this novel? I asked my students. Oh yes, everyone really liked it. I explained that I had decided to teach the novel before reading it and that I too was now reading it for the first time. The list price: $69.95.

I knew that I would have to “use” this novel for at least two more semesters — a condition of the university’s textbook rental system — and I had no idea how I might manage that. Perhaps I could just add the novel to future book orders and have students hold on to their copies.

The novel had a reference to the Marx Brothers, so I was looking forward to showing a clip from one of their movies.

Related reading
All OCA teaching dreams (Pinboard)

[This is the twentieth teaching-related dream I’ve had since retiring, and it’s the rare dream in which the work goes well, even if improbably. I taught at a university with a textbook rental system (a hangover from “normal school” days and an anti-intellectual selling point: rent your books, then turn them in at semester’s end). The three-semester rule was grounded in reality, not my dream life.]

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