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Mudrick Transcribed

Mudrick Transcribed


Mudrick Transcribed contains riveting and comical dialogue from transcripts made in the early 1980s of Marvin Mudrick’s classes and talks. “A one-man commando squad and independent operator, Marvin Mudrick was the most maverick literary critic of his time and ours—ferocious, funny, and fearlessly honest,” says James Wolcott of Vanity Fair.


Mudrick Transcribed: Classes and Talks exists only because of the diligence and ingenuity of a student, Lance Kaplan, who recorded some of Marvin Mudrick’s classes on cassette tapes. After Mudrick’s untimely death in 1986, Kaplan began to transcribe and edit the recordings. “Transcribe” and “edit” are, however, inadequate words to describe the creation of this extraordinary book, which is a kind of miracle of attention. It is entertaining, freakishly smart, and full of love—a love of life, books, music, and people. The transcriptions include a class on eighteenth-century English prose, a class on the writing of narrative prose, two interviews about the College of Creative Studies, and talks on literary criticism, artistic response, genius, and the craft of teaching. The only volume that has never been commercially published, this may well be the gem of the Berkshire Classics Mudrick collection.

Marvin Mudrick taught literature at the University of California at Santa Barbara from 1949 until his death in 1986. Berkshire Publishing’s CEO Karen Christensen studied with him and taught a college course on literary letters under his supervision.

Additional information









  1. James Wolcott, Vanity Fair

    “A one-man commando squad and independent operator, Marvin Mudrick was the most maverick literary critic of his time and ours—ferocious, funny, and fearlessly honest.”

  2. Pauline Kael, New Yorker

    “I can’t imagine a better book on how an inspired teacher’s mind works; Mudrick’s easy rhythms make you aware of how he arrives at the humor that shoots up, geyser after geyser. You know at once why his students would be swept along by his words—he’s thinking on his feet, getting high on his thoughts.”

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