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Second semester of my senior year of college, I did an independent study with two other students and Professor Pritchard. We asked him to define the class for us–esentially, to teach us whatever he most wanted to teach us. We read Roth, Mailer, Bellow and John Updike’s Rabbit series. For class, we sat in his office and chatted about books and other things. I remember reading three of the Rabbit books over a period of 24 hours. I’m not sure I broke even to eat; I certainly didn’t sleep.

Here’s Pritchard talking about Updike with Sue Miller (whom Pritchard had brought to Amherst that same semester to teach a fiction-writing class, which I also took). Perhaps you’ll get a taste for why I insisted on taking as many classes with this man as possible.

Side note: My father studied with Pritchard when he was at Amherst, back when Amherst made all of its students take an English class. Flash forward 30 years to my time there, and Amherst didn’t demand I take any class I didn’t want to take. I can’t say for sure, but I think I chose to take close to 20 classes in the English department, out of 34 total. My only regret is that I didn’t take more.

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