St. Olaf College | Office of the President

The Devil and Webster

By Jean Hanff Korelitz

Grand Central Publishers, 2017


The Devil and Webster, a novel, tells the story of what happens at a highly regarded liberal arts college where the campus is roiled by a racist writing on the walls of one of the residence halls. There are student protests led by a charismatic young man, lots of media attention, a beleaguered president—whose daughter is a student at the college and one of the protesters—and a hoax.  It’s a thoughtful exploration of how colleges come to terms with their past, adapt to change, and respond to crises.


It is also, especially in the beginning, hilarious. Jean Hanff Korelitz identifies, and skewers, every aspect of residential liberal arts colleges that deserves some gentle mockery.
It’s a great read as a novel, and a must read for followers of American higher education.

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