Pictures from an Institution
Cover of the first Phoenix Fiction edition (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1986)
|Cover artist||John Sandford|
|Publisher||Alfred A. Knopf, University of Chicago Press|
Pictures from an Institution is a 1954 novel by American poet Randall Jarrell. It is an academic satire, focusing on the oddities of academic life, in particular the interpersonal relationships among the characters and their private lives. The nameless narrator, a Jarrell-like figure who teaches at a women's college called Benton, makes humorous observations about his students and, especially, his fellow academics, in particular the offensively tactless novelist Gertrude, modeled on Mary McCarthy.
Some believe Benton was modeled after Sarah Lawrence College, where Jarrell taught. However in an interview with the New York Times, Jarrell stated that "Benton is supposed to be just a type ... I've taken things from real places, but mostly have made them up."
- Unnamed narrator, a professor of literature
- Gertrude Johnson, a visiting novelist
- President Robbins, a former Olympic diver
- Gottfried Rosenbaum, composer in residence
Pictures from an Institution was a finalist for the National Book Award.
- An excerpt from the book at the University of Chicago Press.
- New York Times review by Orville Prescott (1954)
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