- Series: Hardscrabble Books-Fiction of New England
- Paperback: 287 pages
- Publisher: UPNE; 1st edition (February 15, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0874518091
- ISBN-13: 978-0874518092
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.9 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,418,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Professor Romeo (Hardscrabble Books–Fiction of New England) Paperback – February 15, 1997
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From Publishers Weekly
Bernays ( Growing Up Rich ) has drawn an instantly familiar character inJake Barker, a philandering Harvard professor whose rise and fall is sharply delineated here. The author of a "trailblazing bestseller about gender differentiation," Jake, ironically, cannot resist young flesh and has no regard for the consequences of his affairs. Despite a chaotic personal life, he has had a successful career but, always "tainted by weakness, plagued by wayward hungers," he has run the risk of losing everything. In fact, when Jake ischarged with sexual harassment, he discovers that his campus nickname has become "Professor Romeo." The tribunal is unfortunately led by an embittered ex-lover, and Jake knows he is doomed. "Once you have forfeited your job, your reputation, your standing in society, your amour propre, and the privilege of using the Harvard athletic facilities, what else could be takenfrom you that mattered?" Bernayshas in this bitterly ironic story captured many essential truths about the political and moral issues inside a university. Finely crafted prose makes it possible for readers to sympathizewith a hero who is a first-class scoundrel.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A rewriting of the Don Juan myth, with plenty of bite, good Cambridge atmosphere and a nice line in social and emotional observation . . . The novel is, above all, a work of sharp irony, standing back from making simple or fashionable judgments and taking a nicely jaundiced view of our contemporary sexual skirmishes." --Malcolm Bradbury, New York Times Book Review
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Top customer reviews
"Professor Romeo" is the nickname that has been given to Jacob Barker over the years at Harvard. Once a rising star, he has somehow never fulfilled his early promise in academia. However, he has fulfilled as his promise as a roue.
The book begins with Jacob being informed that a committee is examining sexual harassments allegations against him. The time is the late 80's when sexual harassment is just started being taken seriously.
The book then reviews Jacob's conquests (through his eyes) over the years: a beautiful PhD anthropology candidate who becomes his embittered wife (and later ex-wife), an anorexic student, a rising professor (who later becomes the Dean investigating the complaints against him), a poor little rich girl and so on. From Jacob's vantage point, all of these encounters were mutual, even though he was the one with power. Plus, in those days, no one had ever heard of sexual harassment.
Bernays does an excellent job of coloring her story with grey shades. She shows how such a situation is not necessarily black or white: yet that is exactly how it is (or was) portrayed in the late 1980's. She also does an outstanding job of portraying the vicious vipers that exist in university settings.
However, the book is dated. Anita Hill, Bill Clinton et al. had yet to happen-in some books, this would not matter. But this book is so tied to the times that it does make a difference.
I would recommend this book to those individuals who want a well written fictional account of the atmosphere surrounding sexual harassment in the late 1980's. In addition, Bernays' book was a roman a clef about Harvard at the time: some people may want to spot their favorite (or least) professor and students.