of this place of that time

Essay by bass321College, UndergraduateA-, March 2014

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"Of This Time, Of That Place" is a short story written by the American essayist, novelist, critic and editor, Lionel Trilling. This story, published in the periodical called Partisan Review in 1943, is placed in an academic setting in Dwight College chronicling the relationship between and English instructor and poet, Joseph Howe, the protagonist, and two of his students - Tertan, a brilliant, but mentally ill student of philosophy and art, and Blackburn, a crafty and unprincipled opportunist. Throughout this story, about academics, apart from heavy references to literary works, such as, Ibsen's "Ghosts" and Coleridge's "Ancient Mariner" and figures, for example, Wordsworth Nietzsche, Kant, Empedocles and Descartes; Trilling uses weather and season to create mood effects and help establish a sense of chronology.

The story opens on "…a fine September day." in "…true autumn with a touch of chill in the air." with Howe preparing to attend his first class of the year.

The chill in the air seems to reflect Howe's initial nervousness which is seen when he addresses his class for the first time. He is not able to look directly at the students and speaks facing the blackboard. Apart from this "the peach tree [that] was still in fruit and young" adds to the setting and the time of the year.

Having completed his introduction, Howe gives his student a traditional extemporaneous subject to write about. He sits "idly at his desk" while they work and the slow progression of the period is illustrated by the image, "The sun shone through the tall clumsy windows. The cool of the morning was already passing."

On the way back from the first weekly Convocations of the college we are...