10 Classic College Campus Novels

bookSome of the best stories happen during the college years.  Most great college stories you hear probably involve a guy claiming his frat house was the inspiration for Animal House, not about a murder mystery some co-eds were able to solve between organic chem and animal phys.

The Huffington Post just posted 10 classic novels that take place on college campus.  Here they are:

1. The Secret History by Donna Tart
This murder mystery classic takes place at Hampden College in Vermont, as should all murder mysteries novels.

2. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
This British novel takes place at, of course, Oxford University, because that’s where I’m assuming all people go to college in England.

3. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
This southern gothic novel’s protagonist attends Harvard Universitynot so southern, but totally Gothic.

4. Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
Set in the 1950s, this English novel take place at a college inspired by the University of Leicester because too many stories were happening at Oxford.

5. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
An attractive young Princeton student dabbles with the usual love, greed and good ole’ status seeking.

6. Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
Surprisingly, this classic is not an actual portrait, but a metaphorical one. Also, I’m not quite sure what college the young man, Stephen Dedalus, goes to, but I’m sure he gets a great education.

7. Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
This Victorian novel takes place at the fictional “Christminster,” which, of course, is modeled after Oxford.

8. Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm
This English satire involves a beautiful female magician.  And if you were to guess that it takes place at Oxford, you’d be correct.

9. Stoner by John Williams
An English professor teaches at Oxfo–wait no! He teaches at a drab Midwestern University. What could be worse than a British protagonist not being at Oxford?!

10. Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers
Please don’t think poorly of this English  murder mystery not taking place in Vermont, or at  Oxford. In fact, it takes place at the fictional Shrewsbury College where shrews berries grow plentiful.  It’s loosely based off of Sayers’ own Somerville College.

What college campus do you think would make a great setting for a novel?  Comment and share!

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  1. Alex Preston says:

    Mercer University, my school, is the setting for Whisper of the River by Ferrol Sams. It’s required reading for freshmen. The book refers to it as ‘Willingham University,’ but Mercer has a Willingham Hall and Ferrol’s book is largely autobigraphical anyway.

    =) Not a bad read, either.

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