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1965 Third Printing; Prentice-Hall publishers, New Jersey; hardbound with tan boards and red/orange lettering on spine; spine has small puncture (?) but does not go into book (odd how that could happen); very clean pages and appears unread; "Third printing 1965"; dust jacket good with some foxing/aging and minor bumps; see pics.


Up the Down Staircase is a novel written by Bel Kaufman, published in 1964, which spent 64 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list. In 1967 it was released as a film starring Sandy Dennis, Patrick Bedford, and Eileen Heckart.


Plot -

The plot revolves around Sylvia Barrett, an idealistic English language teacher at an inner-city high school who hopes to nurture her students' interest in classic literature (especially Chaucer and writing). She quickly becomes discouraged during her first year of teaching, frustrated by bureaucracy, the indifference of her students, and the incompetence of many of her colleagues. The title of the book is taken from a memo telling her why a student was being punished: he had gone "up the down staircase". She decides to leave the public school (government funded) system to work in a smaller private setting. She changes her mind, though, when she realizes that she has, indeed, touched the lives of her students.


The novel is epistolary; aside from opening and closing chapters consisting entirely of dialogue the story is told through memos from the office, fragments of notes dropped in the trash can, essays handed in to be graded, lesson plans, suggestions dropped in the class suggestion box, and most often by inter-classroom notes that are a dialogue between Sylvia and an older teacher. Sylvia also writes letters to a friend from college who chose to get married and start a family rather than pursuing a career. The letters serve as a recap and summary of key events in the book, and offer a portrait of women's roles and responsibilities in American society in the mid-1960s


SKU: BS26u
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