It’s an article of faith among would-be, unpublished, or unheralded novelists that MFA graduates are overrepresented in fiction publishing. The extreme form of this complaint holds that there’s something called an “MFA novel” — the self-defeating cliché “cookie-cutter” may be applied here — the young hero of which is often himself a student in an MFA program. Listing examples of this much-maligned genre is harder than you’d think; they exist, but they’re outnumbered plenty to one by everything else. One wonders if Teddy Wayne’s Apartment, set at Columbia University’s MFA program in the 1990s, is, among other things, meant to …
This article appears as “Class Dues” in the April 6, 2020, print edition of National Review.
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