Of Woe or Wonder


Dr. Justin Sandberg, PhD., is a Professor of English at the University of Texas at Mountain Pass, and finds himself after forty years of teaching a single man again and struggles with many conflicts, including female students, colleagues, administrators, and life in general.

In spite of temptations, he has followed a strict philosophy of non-involvement with female students in his own classes.

However, a new faculty member joins the faculty in the Philosophy Department, introduces himself to Professor Sandberg, and tries to lure Justin into his own lifestyle, which includes going to bed with female students in his own classes.

Justin tries his best to help Professor Betters see the error and danger of his practice, which eventually threatens his career and even his life.

Meanwhile, an older colleague in his own department and a good friend struggles with alcoholism, drinking binges, and chronic absenteeism while Justin tries every way he can to help his friend keep from losing his job.

While Justin is fighting with several plans to keep his friends from losing their jobs, he himself comes under attack when at mid-semester, as he begins to teach Shakespeare’s Othello, a student confronts him with the fact that he, Justin, is teaching miscegenation, Othello being a Moor and his wife Desdemona being white. Justin is soon visited by the student’s father who happens to be an evangelical preacher, as well as a bigot, who demands that Dr. Sandberg stop teaching one of the world’s greatest plays. Justin orders him out of his office; meanwhile the preacher files a grievance against Justin with a faculty senate committee, which Justin must confront in a formal hearing.  Things begin to take a bizarre twist when criminal charges are brought against the minister by one of Justin’s own female students and producing a surprising ending. Justice, and Justin, however, is finally served.

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Tony J. Stafford was born in Belmont North Carolina, a little textile town (in his day) across the Catawba River from Charlotte. He received a BA from Wake Forest University with a major in Philosophy (pre-theological studies), a Masters in English from the University of Texas at El Paso (after serving two years in the U.S. Army), and a PhD from Louisiana State University in English and American Literature with a dissertation on Shakespeare. He was then invited back to UTEP as a Professor of English in 1964. In addition to numerous scholarly publications, articles, papers, books, etc., he was written and produced some dozen plays, is working on his fourth novel, and runs four days a week.


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