In this probing collection of essays and lectures given during his tenure as Cornell University's 'professor at large,' Cleese reminds us that his intelligence and wit extend well beyond Monty Python and Fawlty Towers.
Professor at Large: The Cornell Years, a hodgepodge of lectures and conversations, is less for the Python fan than for the Python completist ... The sublime silliness of Monty Python has always had an intellectual underpinning; not many comedy troupes have sung about Heidegger and Descartes or joked about summarizing Proust. In Professor at Large, Cleese brings the underpinning to the surface. While rarely silly, Professor Cleese is often funny, frequently perceptive and, unlike many professors, never dull.
The beloved British comic actor, writer, and director began his academic association with Cornell in 1999, when he was invited to serve as a visiting professor, holding forth on everything from The Life of Brian and the nature of religion to creativity, screenwriting, group dynamics, and physiognomy. He has continued guiding these scholarly workshops and classes flecked with humor for almost 20 years. This book assembles the best of them in a thoughtful, engaging way—at least to liberal thinkers—though the author sometimes succumbs to broad generalizations ... As provocative as it is amusing—an edifying journey through the mind of a major talent.
This collection of speeches and conversations with Monty Python alum Cleese is not unlike the man himself: hilarious, always clever, and a little off-kilter ... There is no unified theory of Cleese presented, rather something more akin to snapshots of a mind at work—but what a mind it is.