The Devil and Webster
‘It was Naomi Roth’s problem: first ignored by her then irritating to her and then, all at once, intractably complex and a threat to everything she had done at Webster, and everything she was trying to do.’
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Webster College: an elite New England campus and a world of learning where creativity and inclusiveness are the presiding principles. Naomi Roth, a feminist scholar, is named to the coveted position of Webster’s president.
When a student protest materializes, Naomi initially supports the movement, feeling proud and protective of the protesters, her own daughter Hannah among them. But the protest begins to fester, attracting students from other institutions and media. Attention begins to focus on one charismatic student, a Palestinian immigrant named Omar, and both the tension on campus and the essential conflicts in Naomi’s personal life begin to overwhelm her until she finds herself facing an impossible and ultimately tragic conflict.
The Devil and Webster is shot through with caustic comedy, and yet the Faustian notes are a persistent reminder that the possibility of corruption – personal or institutional – remains our persistent companion, however good our intentions might be.
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