TRICKSTER IN TWEED: THE QUEST FOR QUALITY IN A FACULTY LIFE (Writing Lives) (Paperback)
"This is a powerful, compelling book that is destined to have a seismic impact. It will be widely read, partly for the critique it offers of the forces that diminish life and learning within the world of the academy, partly for its story of a rebellious life lived on the margins of that world, and partly for the joy, anger, and tragedy of the personal life it reveals. Beyond these factors, the book is simply one hell of a good read: I can’t remember when I stayed up so long beyond bedtime with an academic book simply because I could not put it down." —Michael Osborn, University of Memphis
"In Trickster in Tweed: The Search for Quality in Faculty Life, Tom Frentz wrestles with the alienation, demoralization, isolation, and anger he experienced over a lifetime as a university professor. Refusing to give up his quest for a meaningful, high quality life, or give in to the institutional depression that permeates American universities in the twenty-first century, Tom turns to personal narrative and autoethnography to better understand the emotional and institutional sources of his discontent and to fashion a new story for himself, one that would allow his own voice to flourish, and make it possible for him to merge his heart with his head in both teaching and research." —From the Foreword by Arthur P. Bochner, University of South Florida
"One asks: What precisely would Frentz have become, if not an academic? ... The field of communication, however, might have suffered, assuming Frentz's scholarly productivity depended on removing himself from the cozy confines of Oshkosh. ... Yet, given the myriad of professional disappointments that this choice compelled, the loss of self coupled with the demands of academic publishing, the sympathetic reader is provoked to ask: Was it worth it? The question, of course, is unanswerable. But Tom Frentz has opened a space for dialogue, about these and other issues, with his bravery. The true value of autoethnographic work, it seems to me, is that questions like this can be posed at all."
- Thomas A Discenna, Southern Communication Journal
“Trickster in Tweed, it should be borne in mind, was Frentz’s narrative response to a health crisis he read as a call or catalyst to get back on the quest for quality. In this sense, this book’s autoethnographic project afforded him a way of re-authoring life quality and coherence through revisiting his life and career story, while pushing back on those factors of academic life that diminished it. This book is VERY personal, and not quite as focused on what it means to find quality academic life as I had hoped, but it did provoke, through its many anecdotes, a recognition of how challenging, yet rewarding, it can be to pursue quality as a feature of academic life.”
—Dr. Tom Strong, Professor & Associate Dean Research, University of Calgary's Faculty of Education