A collection of articles which appeared in "The Independent on Sunday" for 50 weeks between 1991 and 1992. The art of fiction is considered under a wide range of headings, such as the intrusive author, suspense, the epistolary novel, time-shift, magic realism and symbolism.
To all appearances, Laurence Passmore is sitting pretty. True, he's almost bald and nicknamed "Tubby", but the TV sitcom he writes keeps the money flowing in, and he has every other material comfort; but what the money can't buy, and what his many therapists can't deliver, is contentment.
When Philip Swallow and Professor Morris Zapp participate in their universities' Anglo-American exchange scheme, the Fates play a hand, and each academic finds himself enmeshed in the life of his counterpart on the opposite side of the Atlantic. Nobody is immune to the exchange: students, colleagues, even wives are swapped as events spiral out of control. And soon both sundrenched Euphoric State university and rain-kissed university of Rummidge are a hotbed of intrigue, lawlessness and broken vows...
Back in Rummidge, scene of "Changing Places", Robyn Penrose, temporary lecturer in English literature and Vic Willcox, MD of Pringle and Sons Industrial Engineering meet when they take part in an "Industry Year" scheme. David Lodge is the author of "The British Museum is Falling Down".
A comic satire of academia, religion and human entanglements. 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.
Adrian, a distinguished novelist seeking obscurity in a cottage near Gatwick and his friend Sam, a successful scriptwriter, want revenge on an interviewer who has just written a nasty profile of Sam. Naturally, it all goes completely wrong.
Ralph Messenger is an academic star of language and thought research, Helen Reed is a novelist teaching creative writing to help her overcome her husband's death. Despite huge differences in belief and temperament they begin an affair that has both tragic and comic consequences.
The rhythm method is the curse of Adam Appleby's life and the cause of his children's. As his thesis awaits its birth in the British Museum, his wife studies the thermometer at home. But it seems that "Vatican Roulette" has failed them again.
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.
As the richest record we have of human consciousness, literature may offer a kind of understanding that is complementary, not opposed, to scientific knowledge. Lodge explores the representation of human consciousness in fiction, mainly English and American, in the light of recent investigations in science.