Cornell’s reputation for excellence in medieval studies and for quaint eccentricity was satirized by Vladimir Nabokov, Professor of Russian Literature, in his novel Pnin (1957), set in imaginary Waindell College.

“Two interesting characteristics distinguished Leonard Blorenge, Chairman of French Literature and Language; he disliked Literature and he had no French. […] A highly esteemed money-getter, he had recently induced a rich old man, whom three great universities had courted in vain, to promote with a fantastic endowment a riot of research conducted by graduates under the direction of Dr. Slavski, a Canadian, toward the erection, on a hill near Waindell, of a ‘French Village’, two streets and a square, to be copied from those of the ancient little burg of Vandel in the Dordogne.”