Working name of Homer C Nearing Jr (1915-2003), US author and professor of English at Pennsylvania Military College. His series of fourteen stories about Professor Cleanth Penn Ransom and Professor Archibald MacTate, mathematician and philosopher respectively, appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, beginning with "The Poetry Machine" in Fall 1950 (see Wordmills) and continuing in that venue to "The Gastronomical Error" in December 1953. Nine of these stories, including the new additions "The Aesthetic Decapitations" and "The Hermeneutical Doughnut", were assembled – very thinly "novelized" with brief foreword and afterword vignettes as bookends – as The Sinister Researches of C.P. Ransom (coll of linked stories 1954); they concern the two professors' attempts to formalize a union between science and the arts. Their efforts, though doomed, are told without malice; considerable broad comedy is derived from creative misapplication of Mathematics and other sciences. Uncollected stories are "The Embarrassing Dimension" (August 1951 F&SF), "The Maladjusted Classroom" (June 1953 F&SF), "The Cerebrative Psittacoid" (August 1953 F&SF), "The Gastronomical Error" (December 1953 F&SF) and "The Neurotic Rose" (April 1956 Fantastic Universe). The professors' names disconnectedly represent several US poets and critics associated with the New Criticism: Cleanth Brooks, Archibald MacLeish, John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate and Robert Penn Warren. [JC/PN/DRL]
see also: Dimensions; Humour.
Homer Czar Nearing Jr
born Springfield, Missouri: 15 April 1915
died Swarthmore, Pennsylvania: 29 May 2003
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