This post is based on reviews of a new novel by David Lodge called Deaf Sentence (published in May, 2008), which features one of the oldest but best spanking clichés in the book – aging English professor meets brattish American student!
Desmond Bates is the head of the Linguistics Department at a provincial university in England. He reminds his friends of Eeyore: a gloomy, depressed old donkey, pessimistic and, above all, deaf. His poor hearing has made it impossible for him to hear his mumbling students. Early retirement looms while his domineering wife forges ahead with a successful business career.
When we meet Des, he is looking down the blouse of comely young student, Alex Loom. She is a glamorous American postgraduate, with streaming blonde hair, who is writing a thesis about the linguistic patterns in suicide notes!
Alex is ambitious but has a kittenish demeanour and always wears provocative low-cut tops. She also happens to like committing indiscretions that might earn her a spanking from her male aquaintances!
Alex becomes ever more obsessed with obtaining Des’ approval and help with her studies. She gets hold of his phone number and he receives a completely unexpected and disturbing call. She says she wants him to personally supervise her thesis.
Against his better judgment, he agrees to a private meeting with her. We understand, this will not amuse his dauntingly competent wife, Winifred, or “Fred.”
He visits Alex’s apartment and takes her a faculty library book to use in her thesis. Big mistake! This is Alex’s chance to ensnare the professor in one of her little games! She deliberately defaces the book with a highlighter pen before returning it.
Des realises she is responsible for defacing the book and decides to cut off all communication with her by not answering her calls.
So Alex writes a letter, expressing her apologies…and begging for punishment:
Come to Wharfside Court at exactly three o’clock and ring my bell three times. You’ll find the door of my apartment unlatched. A red bulb will light the living room. You’ll see me bent over the table, with my head on a cushion. I’ll be naked from the waist down. Come up behind me and position yourself to spank my butt. Use just the flat of your hand, but no stick or other implement, but hit me as hard as you like. do not stop even if I cry out.
“This,” Alex’s letter concludes, “is good.”
Although Des makes clear moral distinctions, his life well-ordered and constricted by his marriage to Fred, he does have a darker side. Alex seems to arouse a fantasy lurking unsuspected and only waiting to be released…
Ultimately however he doesn’t go to give her the spanking.
But Alex then turns her attention to to the university English lecturer…who is not quite so honourable as Des.
Several of David Lodge’s novels — in particular Small World, and Nice Work — have been adapted into television series. Could Deaf Sentence be next?
If so, will we see Des actually spanking Alex – perhaps as part of a fantasy sequence? Or will the English lecturer be shown dealing with her in the way that Des wouldn’t?
Either way, in the current post-Secretary/Weeds climate surely TV and film producers will be falling over themselves to put this one on the screen.
And who should play naughty Alex?