Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Two Graduate Students In English Meet On A Bench

Two graduate students in English met on a bench. One was drinking a coffee, the other eating a saltine. The coffee-drinker looked at the saltine-eater. He wondered what her bedroom looked like. Were her sheets stained? what did she keep in her night-table drawer? where were the batteries? how many bookshelves did she have.

The saltine-eater looked at the coffee-drinker. She wondered whether he could lift her over his head; wondered whether she needed to buy more crackers.

Both were Foucauldian but didn’t know it yet.

“Have you ever read The Awakening? By Kate Chopin.”
“No. Have you ever read Peace Shall Destroy Many? Rudy Wiebe.”
“No. Have you ever read Flush?”
“No. Read Barometer Rising?”
“No. You ever read any Pynchon?”
“No. Ever read any Findley?”
“No. I’m reading Mailer right now.”
"You a virgin?"
"I wish."
“Never read him. I’ve got Ernest Buckler on my night table.”
“Nope. I’m still stuck on Ford Madox Ford.”
“Well, I’m reading a lot of criticism now. You know Frank Davey?”
“No. I just finished Henry Nash Smith.”
“Not my thing. What about Henry Kreisel?”
“Never heard of him. Frances Newman is a great writer.”
“He’s not Canadian, is he?”
“No, I think she was from Georgia.”
“You’re interested in Canadian writing?”
“Yeah. A little bit.”
“I’m a modernist. And a post-modernist, I guess.”
“Findley’s post-modern.”
“Isn’t he Canadian.”
“I know. Oh. I’m a Canadianist.”
“What era are you focussing on?”
“Contemporary writing.”
“So, what, the past twenty years?”
“Sixty. Seventy. Eighty.”
“Very nice.”
“You? Oh, you’re a modernist slash post-modernist. Sorry.”
“Canadian contemporary writing. That must be interesting.”
“Some times are better than others.”
“What are you reading now?”
“Abinger Harvest. E.M. Forster.”
“The Borders of Nightmare. Michael Hurley.”
“Well, nice to meet you.”
“Oh, you too. Take care.”

And they went their separate ways.

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