On page 17 of The Tunnel, Gass mentions a string of names. Who are they and what is the purpose of mentioning them?
First of all, please realize that the actual answer to your question is that the author wrote this book in the stream of consciousness technique. This means that we are let into the characters' thoughts while they are having them. We are not meant to understand them or to be able to figure any of them out. We are simply, as readers, supposed to go along for the ride. In this case, you are right, there is a large list of names on this page. Let's look at the names a little bit closer, and figure out why the author may have mentioned them in the thoughts of this character.
The first list of names are the people that Professor Kohler used to mock, such as Meg. He doesn't even mention why he mocked them. His thoughts are simply drifting. He simply mentions the different people that he did mock. The second list of names are other people who absolutely disgust Professor Kohler, specifically those like Coresti (and others) who dunk donuts in their beer. He actually repulses Professor Kohler with this habit. Yet another character, named simply "Gleenal," was homosexual, which is why Professor Kohler doesn't say no, he just says maybe. Further, the next list of characters are people who actually have a "made-u" list, which means they keep track of the people who they sleep with. I find it interesting that Professor Kohler doesn't list his own conquests. However, the last list is simply of his colleagues. These are other professors who teach with him at the college.
In conclusion, please remember that the real reason behind the list of these names is that the book is written in stream of consciousness technique. This list of names is simply the list that Professor Kohler thinks about when he experiences life at the college.