Once H.G. Wells was the most famous writer in the world, 'the man who invented tomorrow'; now he feels like yesterday's man, deserted by readers and depressed by the collapse of his utopian dreams. Unfolding this astonishing story, David Lodge depicts a man as contradictory as he was talented, but always vitally human.
The British Museum is Falling Down is a brilliant comic satire of academia, religion and human entanglements. First published in 1965, it tells the story of hapless, scooter-riding young research student Adam Appleby, who is trying to write his thesis but is constantly distracted - not least by the fact that, as Catholics in the 1960s, he and his wife must rely on 'Vatican roulette' to avoid a fourth child.
Novelist, critic, lecturer, reviewer, man-about-conferences, David Lodge, as both analyst and practitioner, is one of our foremost experts in the forms of fiction. He is also an uncommonly sympathetic and informed observer of the passing scene, and his penetrating vision is set in a consistently ironic frame. David Lodge's humour can be a devastating weapon, but it is continually engaging because as often as not the sniper's sights are trained on the author himself, and on the curiously mobile, cosmopolitan yet specialist world he inhabits.
The essays and reviews collected in this volume are selected from the occasional writings over a span of twenty years, and are all prompted by an impulse - or an invitation - to "write on" some specific topic: a book, a film, an anniversary, a trip abroad. They also reflect the drive of the professional to keep writing, "to keep the muscles of composition exercised." The pieces collected here are designed for a wide audience, and most focus, in more or less direct ways, on Lodge's own work as a novelist. Enthusiasts will take especial pleasure in discovering sources for episodes from his novels, in tracing how reality mutates into fiction - or how on occasion, the process works the other way round.
In this entertaining and enlightening collection David Lodge considers the art of fiction under a wide range of headings, drawing on writers as diverse as Henry James, Martin Amis, Jane Austen and James Joyce. Looking at ideas such as the Intrusive Author, Suspense, the Epistolary Novel, Magic Realism and Symbolism, and illustrating each topic with a passage taken from a classic or modern novel, David Lodge makes the richness and variety of British and American fiction accessible to the general reader.
He provides essential reading for students, aspiring writers and anyone who wants to understand how fiction works.
The subject of enthusiastic and widespread reviews, David Lodge's fourteenth work of fiction displays the humor and shrewd observations that have made him a much-loved icon. Deaf Sentence tells the story of Desmond Bates, a recently retired linguistics professor in his mid-sixties. Vexed by his encroaching deafness and at loose ends in his personal life, Desmond inadvertently gets involved with a seemingly personable young American female student who seeks his support in matters academic and not so academic, who finally threatens to destabilize his life completely with her unpredictable-and wayward-behavior. What emerges is a funny, moving account of one man's effort to come to terms with aging and mortality-a classic meditation on modern middle age that fans of David Lodge will love.
Philip Swallow, Morris Zapp, Persse McGarrigle and the lovely Angelica are the jet-propelled academics who are on the move, in the air and on the make in David Lodge's satirical Small World. It is a world of glamorous travel and high excitement, where stuffy lecture rooms are swapped for lush corners of the globe, and romance is in the air...
In 2004, Henry James featured as a character in no less than three novels - David Lodge's Author, Author was one of them.
With insightful and amusing candour, here he traces the history of his book from conception to publication, pondering the mystery - and indeed the anguish - of so many novels about James appearing at the same time.
Lodge's reflections on his own creative practice are accompanied by studies of the genesis, composition and reception of key works by James himself, as well as other novelists from George Eliot to Vladimir Nabokov, and J.M. Coetzee to Graham Greene.
Polly, Dennis, Angela, Adrian and the rest are bound to lose their spiritual innocence as well as their virginities on the journey between university in the 1950s and the marriages, families, careers and deaths that follow. On the one hand there's Sex and then the Pill, on the other there is the traditional Catholic Church. In this razor-sharp novel David Lodge exposes the pressures that assailed Catholics everywhere within a more permissive society, and voices their eternal question: how far can you go?
When it isn't prison, it's hell.
Or at least that's the heartfelt belief of conscripts Jonathan Browne and Mike 'Ginger' Brady. For this is the British Army in the days of National Service, a grimy deposit of post-war gloom. An endless round of kit layout, square-bashing, shepherd's pie 'made with real shepherds' and drills is relieved only by the occasional lecture on firearms or V.D. The reckless, impulsive Mike and the more pragmatic Jonathan adopt radically different attitudes to survive this two-year confiscation of their freedom, with dramatic consequences
The restrictions of a wartime childhood in in London and subsequent post-war shortages have done little to enrich Timothy's early youth.
But everything changes when his glamorous older sister, Kath, invites him to spend the summer at Heidelberg. Kath, who left home long ago to work for the American army, introduces her sixteen-year-old brother to a lifestyle that is deliriously fast, furious and extravagant.
Dazzled by the indulgent habits of the American forces, but at the same time sensitive to the broken spirits of the German community beneath this sparkling surface, Timothy will find that his summer holiday is in more ways than one an unforgettable rite of passage.
When Vic Wilcox (MD of Pringle's engineering works) meets English lecturer Dr Robyn Penrose, sparks fly as their lifestyles and ideologies collide head on. What, after all, are they supposed to learn from each other? But in time both parties make some surprising discoveries about each other's worlds - and about themselves.
'One of the very best English comic novelists of the post-war era' Time Out The plot lines of The Campus Trilogy, radiating from its hub at the redbrick University of Rummidge, trace the comic adventures of academics who move outside familiar territory. Beginning in the late 60sChanging Places follows the undistinguished English lecturer Philip Swallow and hotshot American professor Morris Zapp as they exchange jobs, habitats and eventually wives. Small World sees Swallow, Zapp, Persse McGarrigle and the beautiful Angelica Pabst jet-set about the international conference scene, combining academic infighting and tourism, esoteric chat and romance. And finally, the feminist lecturer Robyn Penrose swaps the industrial novel for a hard hat in Nice Work as she shadows the factory boss Victor Wilcox. Sparks fly when their beliefs and lifestyles collide.
Bernard Walsh, agnostic theologian, has a professional interest in heaven. But when he travels to Hawaii with his reluctant father Jack, to visit Jack's dying, estranged sister it feels more like purgatory than paradise.
Surrounded by quarrelling honeymooners, a freeloading anthropologist and assorted tourists in search of their own personal paradise, and with his father whisked off to hospital after an unfortunate accident, Bernard is beginning to regret ever coming to Haiwaii. Until, that is, he stumbles on something he had given up hope of finding: the astonishing possibility of love.
Adrian Ludlow, a novelist with a distinguished reputation and a book on the 'A' level syllabus, is now seeking obscurity in a cottage beneath the Gatwick flight path. His university friend Sam Sharp, who has become a successful screen writer, drops in on the way to Los Angeles, fuming over a vicious profile of himself by Fanny Tarrant, one of the new breed of Rottweiler interviews, in a Sunday newspaper. Together they decide to take revenge on the interviewer, though Adrian is risking what he values most: his privacy. David Lodge's dazzling novella examines with wit and insight the contemporary culture of celebrity and the conflict between the solitary activity of writing and the demands of the media circus. 'Sharp, intelligent, surprising and fun' THE TIMES.
In this absorbing volume, David Lodge turns his incisive critical skills onto his own profession, salutes the great writers who have influenced his work, wonders about the motives of biographers, ponders the merits of creative writing courses, pulls the rug from under certain theoretical critics and throws open the curtains on his own workshop.
David Lodge's first full-length play examines that curious fixture in the writing game where the amateurs meet the professionals - on a course in creative writing. Maude, author of nine bestsellers, and Simon, with one sensational success to his name, are veterans of this particular course: Leo, a campus-based American novelist astounded by the dilettante approach of the English, is the odd man out.
The idea is to put the students under pressure, but in the converted barn that houses the tutors, professional and sexual tensions, past slights and current rivalries rapidly build to a fierce head of steam. Out of these pressures, David Lodge distils a sharply observed comedy of the problems and preoccupations of the writer as the professionals, striving to explain to enthusiastic beginners how to do it, are forced to confront an altogether trickier question: why on earth do they themselves write in the first place?
Delicately probing, nimbly parodic, uncomfortably on target, Lodge's incisive study of writers at work and at odds will bring the pleasure of recognition to all readers of fiction - and to most of those in the game.
Adrian Ludlow, a novelist with a distinguished reputation and a book on the `A' level syllabus, is now seeking obscurity in a cottage beneath the Gatwick flight path. His university friend Sam Sharp, who has become a successful screen writer, drops in on the way to Los Angeles, fuming over a vicious profile of himself by Fanny Tarrant, one of the new breed of Rotwieler interviewers, in a Sunday newspaper. Together they decide to take revenge on the interviewer, though Adrian is risking what he values most: his privacy. HOME TRUTHS examines with wit and insight the contemporary culture of celebrity and the conflict between the solitary activity of writing and the demands of the media circus.
Human consciousness, long the province of literature, has lately come in for a remapping - even rediscovery - by the natural sciences, driven by developments in Artificial Intelligence, neuroscience, and evolutionary biology. But as the richest record we have of human consciousness, literature, David Lodge suggests, may offer a kind of knowledge about this phenomenon that is complementary, not opposed, to scientific knowledge. Writing with characteristic wit and brio, and employing the insight and acumen of a skilled novelist and critic, Lodge here explores the representation of human consciousness in fiction (mainly English and American) in the light of recent investigations in cognitive science, neuroscience, and related disciplines. How, Lodge asks, does the novel represent consciousness? And how has this changed over time? In a series of interconnected essays, he pursues this question down various paths: how does the novel's method compare with that of other creative media such as film? How does the consciousness (and unconscious) of the creative writer do its work? And how can criticism infer the nature of this process through formal analysis? In essays on Charles Dickens, E.M. Forster, Evelyn Waugh, Kingsley and Martin Amis, Henry James, John Updike and Philip Roth, and in reflections on his own practice as a novelist, Lodge brings to light - and to engaging life
Ralph Messenger is a man who knows what he wants and generally gets it. Approaching his fiftieth birthday, he has good reason to feel pleased with himself. As Director of the prestigious Holt Belling Centre for Cognitive Science at the University of Gloucester he is much in demand as a pundit on developments in artificial intelligence and the study of human consciousness - 'the last frontier of scientific enquiry'. He enjoys an affluent life style subsidised by the wealth of his American wife, Carrie. Known to colleagues on the conference circuit as a womaniser and to Private Eye as a 'Media Dong', he has reached a tacit understanding with Carrie to refrain from philandering in his own back yard.This resolution is already weakening when he meets and is attracted to Helen Reed, a distinguished novelist still grieving for the sudden death of her husband more than a year ago, who has rented out her London house and taken up a post as writer-in residence at Gloucester University, partly to try and get over her bereavement.Fascinated and challenged by a personality and a world-view radically at odds with her own, Helen is aroused by Ralph's bold advances, but resists on moral principle. The stand-off between them is shattered by a series of events and discoveries that dramatically confirm the truth of Ralph's dictum, 'We can never know for certain what another person is thinking.'
In David Lodge's last novel, Thinks... the novelist Henry James was invisibly present in quotation and allusion. In Author, Author he is centre stage, sometimes literally. The story begins in December 1915, with the dying author surrounded by his relatives and servants, most of whom have private anxieties of their own, then loops back to the 1880s, to chart the course of Henry's 'middle years', focusing particularly on his friendship with the genial Punch artist and illustrator, George Du Maurier, and his intimate but chaste relationship with the American writer Constance Fenimore Woolson. By the end of the decade Henry is seriously worried by the failure of his books to 'sell', and decides to try and achieve fame and fortune as a playwright, at the same time that George Du Maurier, whose sight is failing, diversifies into writing novels. The consequences, for both men, are surprising, ironic, comic and tragic by turns, reaching a climax in the years 1894-5. As Du Maurier's Trilby, to the bewilderment of its author himself, becomes the bestseller of the century, Henry anxiously awaits the first night of his make-or-break play, Guy Domville ... Thronged with vividly drawn characters, some of them with famous names, others recovered from obscurity, Author, Author presents a fascinating panorama of literary and theatrical life in late Victorian England, which in many ways foreshadowed today's cultural mix of art, commerce and publicity. But it is essentially a novel about authrship - about the obsessions, hopes, dreams, triumphs and disappointments, of those who live by the pen - with, at its centre, an exquisite characterisation of one writer, rendered with remarkable empathy.
Helen Reed, a novelist in her early forties, still grieving for her husband who died suddenly a year before, is a visiting teacher of creative writing at a university where Ralph Messenger, a cognitive scientist with a special interest in Artificial Intelligence and an incorrigible womaniser, is director of a prestigious research institute.
A collection of essays on writers and writing by the Booker-shortlisted novelist and critic.
Writing about real lives takes various forms, which overlap and may be combined with each other: biography, autobiography, biographical criticism, biographical fiction, memoir, confession, diary.
In these thoughtful and enlightening essays David Lodge considers some particularly interesting examples of life-writing, and contributes several of his own. The subjects include celebrated modern British writers such as Graham Greene, Kingsley Amis, Muriel Spark and Alan Bennett, and two major figures from the past, Anthony Trollope and H.G.Wells. Lodge examines connections between the style and the man in the diaries of the playwright Simon Gray and the cultural criticism of Terry Eagleton, and recalls how his own literary career was entwined with that of his friend Malcolm Bradbury.
All except one of the subjects (Princess Diana) are or were themselves professionally "in writing", making this collection a kind of casebook of the splendours and miseries of authorship. In a final essay Lodge describes the genesis and compositional method of his recent novel about H.G.Wells, A Man of Parts, and engages with the critical controversies that have been provoked by the increasing popularity of narrative and dramatic writing that combines fact and fiction.
Drawing on David Lodge's long experience as a novelist and critic, Lives in Writing is a fascinating study of the interface between life and literature.
Welcome to the Palladium, Brickley. Once the grandest music-hall south of the river, now its peeling foyer is home to stale popcorn, a depressed manager, and a cast of disparate picturegoers who touch and shape each other's destinies. Amongst them is Mark, the cynical intellectual who seeks sensuality and finds spirituality; Clare, his girlfriend, who loses faith and discovers passion; Father Kipling, the scandalized priest; and Harry, the sexually frustrated Teddy boy. In his astutely observed first novel, David Lodge ushers in a congregation of characters whose hopes, confusions and foibles play out alongside the celluloid fantasies of the silver screen.
The first collection of short stories from one of Britain's finest novelists and criticsA nameless man, who has fallen out of love with life, refuses to get out of bed, with unexpected consequences. A sociologist recalls how he learned his first and formative lesson about the oppressive power of capitalism selling newspapers and magazines up and down the platforms of Waterloo station. Some years before the era of the Pill and the Permissive Society, four university friends travel to the Mediterranean for their first holiday together, where the climate is sultry and sex is on everyone's mind. And a strong-willed young woman defies adverse circumstances to pursue the perfect wedding at all costs. These are some of the characters that populate David Lodge's shrewd, funny and delightfully entertaining short stories, collected here for the very first time. What prompted their publication in this form is a short story in itself, told by the author in his Foreword.