The Myth of the Long March Through the Universities

Actually, it didn’t take very long. In many places, it was all over by 1972. And it was more of a stampede than a march.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Malcolm Bradbury’s classic novel The History Man. “The History Man” is Dr. Howard Kirk, not an historian but a sociologist. As Dr. Kirk and his creator would be the first to concede, fiction is not life and life is not fiction. But Howard would go on to point out that the superstructure — culture — inevitably reflects the substructure — the social relations of production. The History Man could not have been written in the early ‘70s if breathtaking changes hadn’t already taken place at British, and American, universities.

  • Sir Roderick Spode

    Have nothing but utter grief that it turned out to be a brief “egg and spoon race” thorough the institutions. The guardians of that institutions turned out to be the ones roping the legs together and providing the burlap sacks. Jolly Good Show. !! But if that is what they were allowed to become leave them to their fate. Raise the Scarlet Banner hiigh !!!

  • Waffle

    Wow!! Memories of the late 60s/early 70s. I knew people like that!! (I went to university back in those days). Never, never, never in my wildest dreams did I dream that they would be the ones to take over and that common sense would fly out the window like an ephemeral dream.

    Off the top of my head, here are a few vignettes that come to mind:

    *a prof who taught logic in a course called Modes of Reasoning had a penchant for dressing like a woman. His wife was a psychotherapist.
    *the coolest parties in town were hosted by a well-know international prostitute and attended by the highest-raking academics at our university;
    *affairs between profs and students were the norm rather than the exception;

    Of course, there was much more — a lot of it painful as I remember being humiliated in a 4th year seminar because I refused to worship at the altar of Trudeaupia. The prof who led the seminar had written the intro to one of the “holy one’s” books. Years later as the country was on the verget of revolution and about to turf Trudeau from office, I had the opportunity to ask him what his thoughts were now. He was forthright enough to tell me that he tried to be out of the country at election time.

    I wasn’t even aware of this novel back then, but I wonder if I will read it now.

    • Sounds like a fun time…. Ghhhaaakkk..

      • Waffle

        It was an eye-opener for sure. However, I don’t know if it stripped me of my “bourgeois pretensions” or confirmed them. Truly, Dylan was the prophet of our age (The TimesThey are a Changin’)

        • Frau Katze

          Yep, Dylan got that right!