The Leisure of the Theory Class

Your biochemistry text now rests at the bottom--very bottom--of your trunk, ready to be put out to pasture for at least the summer. And you've trashed your reading list for English 10. "The Tradition of English Literature": soon you'll forget what you were supposed to read.

Whether you are going to be quaffing martinis on your father's yacht or wiping grease from the spoons at the local diner or something in between, now may be the time to round out that coveted liberal arts education with some of those Great, and time-consuming, Books.

There is, of course, the other option: that is, forego seizing the intellectual world until next fall, and plan to vegetate with a copy of Garp or Stephen King's latest. Instead of straining your eyes over fine print, rest them, perhaps catching Conan.

The Crimson asked a number of Harvard professors their recommendations for summer reading lists for students caught in this annual dilemma. The responses were predictable and professorial, John Irving. Harold Robbins and Judith Krantz failed to make a single list, while the likes of Eudora Welty, Marcel Proust and Walker Percy made several. So will it be Princess Daisy or Remembrance of Things Past? Everyone from Bernard Bailyn to Otto Eckstein has an opinion. You decide.


Thomas Professor of English and American Literature Daniel Aaron, a lecturer in English 70. "American Literature from the Beginning through the Early Twentieth Century"--a course known for its insurmountable reading list and its professors who casually mention an extra half-dozen books on a related subject--rattled off these books for summer fun:

* Donna Perfecta, by Benito Perez Galdos;

* Red and Black, by Stendahl;

* Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy;

* Innocents Abroad, by Mark Twain;

* A Handful of Dust, by Evelyn Waugh.


Kenen Professor of English William Alfred, who moonlights as a professional playwright, heartily endorses anything by Grace Paley. Walker Percy, or Eudora Welty. And for a change of pace from those authors. Alfred suggests reading from another multifaceted Harvard man. Brad Leithauser '78, whose recently published poems in Hundreds of Fireflies were primarily written during his stints here and at the Law School.


Everything has its place, even history, acknowledges Pulitzer Prize winning historian Bernard Bailyn. Adams University Professor. So for the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot he recommends lighter, fictional works: