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Download The Professor and Other Writings Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Professor and Other Writings, by Terry Castle Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (9 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Terry Castle Narrator: Maggi-Meg Ree Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From one of America's most brilliant critics and cultural commentators comes a long-awaited collection of penetrating autobiographical essays and a riveting short memoir, novelistic in style and ambition, about the pathos, comedy, and devastation of early love.

Stanford professor and longtime contributor to the London Review of Books, the Atlantic, the New Republic, Slate, and other publications, Terry Castle is widely admired for the wit, panache, intellectual breadth, and emotional honesty of her writings on life, literature, and art. Now, at long last, she has collected some of the more personal of her recent essays in a single volume. Several pieces here are already acknowledged classics: "Desperately Seeking Susan," the celebrated account she wrote in 2005 of her droll and somewhat bittersweet friendship with Susan Sontag; "My Heroin Christmas," a darkly humorous examination of addiction, her family and stepsiblings, 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, however, is the title work, published here for the first time: a candid and wrenching exploration of Castle's relationship, during her graduate school years, with a female professor. At once hilarious and rueful, it is a pitch-perfect recollection of the fiascos of youth: how we come to own (or disown) our sexuality; how we understand (or don't) the emotional needs and wishes of others; how the ordeals of desire can prompt a lifelong search for self-understanding.

In this account of a sentimental education, as in all the essays in The Professor and Other Writings, Terry Castle reveals herself as a truly remarkable writer: utterly distinctive, wise, frank, and fearless.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[A] hilarious and smart collection of personal essays…The subjects are fascinating, the prose packed full of gems. Castle approaches everything with a blend of curiosity, humor and careful scrutiny…This is a delightful book, to be read and reread.” 

    New York Book Review

  • “Every page hums with a kind of cathartic glee—a testimony to Castle’s ability to transform even the grimmest scenarios into savage comic prose…The Professor and Other Writings documents a brilliant mind discovering a deeper, more intimate mode of expression.” 


  • “This is the book we Terry Castle fans have been waiting for, and those new to her work are in for a revelation—a brain-goosing, entertaining blast.”  

    James Wolcott

  • “Terry Castle is an irreverent, witty feminist—words one does not often associate. Her tale of her love affair as a student with an older professor is touching and wicked; she is a brilliant stylist, and everything she writes is gripping.”  

    Edmund White

  • “In this questing, deeply funny and joltingly wonderful book...the life of the author’s abundant mind and heart are explored in an altogether scintillating way. Readers...are in for a major find…Castle is at once penetratingly keen and unfailingly good company.” 

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • A 2010 San Francisco Chronicle Best Book for Nonfiction
  • A 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Fern | 4/28/2013

    " Very interesting and entertaining personal essays. I was put off at the beginning by page after page of unfamiliar references and words, but my friend who recommended this book to me helped me see this as something other than frustrating. And after that I couldn't put it down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jane | 3/14/2011

    " Haven't had this much fun with a book of essays in forever. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Dan | 1/12/2011

    " Vivid, eloquent, funny and unsparing, a memoir. The pieces make for compulsive reading, but Castle's take on herself, her phobias, prejudices, morales is savagely funny. She is no easier on the people in her personal life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Noreen | 12/30/2010

    " Such an engaging writer. Great piece on Art Pepper. "

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About the Author

Terry Castle was once described by Susan Sontag as the most expressive, most enlightening literary critic at large today. Her essays have frequently appeared in the London Review of Books, Atlantic, New Republic, Times Literary Supplement, and New York Times Book Review, as well as other journals and periodicals. Her writing topics range from eighteenth-century ghost stories to World War I-era lesbianism to the so-called photographic fringe. She is the author of numerous books of criticism, and her anthology The Literature of Lesbianism won the Lambda Literary Editors Choice Award in 2003. She lives in San Francisco and is a Walter A. Haas professor in the Humanities at Stanford University, where she has taught since 1983.