2
BLOOMINGTON
Traveling Theory Comes Home

The ideal conference setting provides for a variety of outdoor activities— walking, swimming, skiing, tennis, table tennis—suitable for various degrees of athletic enthusiasm…. If no relevant contrapuntal activities are provided for, various inappropriate and destructive things may happen, as a few members of the group think up pranks, engage in practical jokes, or emotions that could easily have been channeled into some cathartic and satisfying form … become diffuse and produce a sense of malaise and dysphoria. Margaret Mead, “Conference Arrangements”

CYRIL (coming in through the open window from the terrace): My dear Vivian, don't coop yourself up all day in the library. It is a perfectly lovely afternoon. The air is exquisite. There is a mist upon the woods, like the purple bloom upon a plum…. You need not look at the landscape. You can lie on the grass and smoke and talk.

VIVIAN: But nature is so uncomfortable. Grass is hard and lumpy and damp, and full of dreadful black insects…. you had better go back to your wearisome uncomfortable Nature, and leave me to correct my proofs.

Oscar Wilde, The Decay of Lying

MY INTRODUCTION to Indiana was not auspicious. A long, dreary limousine ride from Indianapolis down to Bloomington, through long, dreary vistas of flat fields, empty crossroads, and more flat fields, still brown in mid-March after a cold winter; sitting wedged in among several auctioneers en route to their own convention: all overweight, great kidders all, retelling stories from past conventions that might possibly have been funny if you'd actually been there but had certainly gained nothing in the retelling. David Lodge, I felt sure, had never been to a conference like this. We'd had a few Lodge moments in Tokyo, no doubt, but a more typical conference scene

-42-

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Meetings of the Mind
Table of contents

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  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Meetings of the Mind *
  • 1 - How Do Disciplines Die? 3
  • 2 - Traveling Theory Comes Home 42
  • 3 - The Politics of Cultural Studies 88
  • 4 - Critical Confessions 134
  • Bibliography 187
  • Index 207
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