This curious volume appeared in 1961, a heartfelt polemic directed against the contemporary American university environment. Written by a university college teacher of some 35 years' experience, it portrays an entirely mythical university populated by characters with such wonderful names as 'Ezra Sparkplug, M.A. (Oxon)', 'Chief Flatfoot' (of the Potbellie tribe), and 'Dr Luke Warm, PhD'. The author's aim was to amuse, while attempting to counter the then current attitude in favour of increased administration, glorification of the sciences, etc., by showing that there is more to life than just 'getting on'. He was, perhaps, somewhat before his time in taking this view - modern life now being very much concerned with the value of the individual and his/her progress in society... Dedicated to H.L. Mencken and Irving Babbitt "Two friends who might have been amused".
Herbert Faulkner West (1898-1974) was an American academic specialising in English studies. He spent most of his career at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, becoming a full professor in 1937, a position he retained until his retirement in 1964. In 1938 he founded the Friends of the Dartmouth Library, and in 1955 he set up his publishing company, Westholm Publications.
Our copy is of particular interest, as it is described as one of the signed limited first edition of 1000 - but is not in fact signed. All other copies currently on sale appear to have the author's signature, so this is perhaps unique. The book is in good general condition, but the dust jacket has suffered a little over the years, with sunning around the spine and top edges, a number of small stains, tears, and one or two minor losses (see photo). The book itself, however, has worn remarkably well, with almost no signs of wear externally. The decorated paper-covered boards and green cloth spine are undamaged, and the pages within are all clean and bright, the binding firm.