The world of geopolitics distilled into campus rivalry at the university? When I was at school this meant the followers of Mario Savio protesting the university’s allowing the United States Army to have a recruitment table up front outside the student union but denying Bettina Aptheker and her father the right of free assemble and their own version of propaganda rich fliers handed out around the campus. John Barth, in his excellent novel Giles Goat-Boy, or the Revised New Syllabus, creates a rollicking version of the political struggle between the West, representing the established hegemony, and the East, representing the evil upstart regime. It’s funny, in this university which, at least by way of analogy represents the entire planet, there is little mention of anything being actually taught to the students of either the West or the East campus or in any of the various mentioned colleges.
But a few comments on the experience of reading Barth, specifically Giles Goat-Boy and also some general comments on Barth’s work and his brand of postmodernism.