The only child in a lower-middle-class family, who got his artistic genes from his musician father and his Catholic faith from his mother, the author was four when World War II began and grew to maturity through decades of great social and cultural change. In this memoir, he looks back over his childhood and youth.
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.
David Lodge's frank and illuminating memoir about the years where he found great success as a novelist and critic.
Luck plays an important part in the careers of writers. In this book David Lodge explores how his work was inspired and affected by unpredictable events in his life.
In 1976 Lodge was pursuing a 'twin-track career' as novelist and academic. As a literary critic, he made serious contributions to the subject, before carnivalising it in his comic-satiric novel Small World. The balancing act between his two professions was increasingly difficult to maintain, and he became a full-time writer just before he published his bestselling novel Nice Work. Both books were shortlisted for the Booker Prize, in which he was later involved as Chairman of the judges.
Readers of Lodge's novels will be fascinated by the insights this book gives - not only into his professional career but also more personal experience. The main focus, however, is on writing as a vocation. Anyone who is interested in learning about the creative process, about the dual nature of the novel as both work of art and commodity, will find Writer's Luck a candid and entertaining guide.
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 essays, the author considers some particularly interesting examples of life-writing, and contributes several of his own.
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.