Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Terry Castle is Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University. She's also the author of several books that you might have assigned to your students: The Apparitional Lesbian: Female Homosexuality and Modern Culture and the anthology The Literature of Lesbianism--winner of the Lamda Literary Editor's Choice in 2003.

She's a longtime contributor to the London Review of Books, the Atlantic, the New Republic, and Slate--and she's widely admired for the wit, panache, intellectual breadth, and emotional honesty of her writings on literature and art. She's the kind of person you want to know more about--and in her new book, The Professor and Other Writings, she brings together some of the more personal of her recent essays in a single volume.

Several pieces in The Professor and Other Writings are already acknowledged classics: "Desperately Seeking Susan," her celebrated account of her somewhat bittersweet friendship with Susan Sontag; "My Heroin Christmas," a darkly humorous examination of addiction and the late, great jazz saxophonist Art Pepper; and the picaresque "Travels with My Mother," a rollicking travelogue that brings together Castle's complicated relationship with her mother, lesbianism, art, and the difficult yet transcendent work of the painter Agnes Martin.

At the center of the collection is the title work--published for the first time. It is a candid exploration of Castle's relationship, during her graduate schools years, with a female professor. Hilarious and rueful, it is a pitch-perfect recollection of the fiascoes of youth.

If you'd like to meet Professor Castle, she'll be making the following bookstore appearances:

Photo by Brigitte Carnochan

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