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.
A successful sitcom writer with plenty of money, a stable marraige, a platonic mistress and a flash car, Laurence 'Tubby' Passmore has more reason than most to be happy. Yet neither physiotherapy nor aromatherapy, cognitive-behaviour therapy or acupuncture can cure his puzzling knee pain or his equally inexplicable mid-life angst.
As Tubby's life fragments under the weight of his self-obsession, he embarks - via Kierkegaard, strange beds from Rummidge to Tenerife to Beverly Hills, a fit of literary integrity and memories of his 1950s South London boyhood - on a picaresque quest for his lost contentment.
I drew my first breath on the 28th of January 1935, which was quite a good time for a future writer to be born in England...' The only child in a lower-middle-class London family, David Lodge inherited his artistic genes from his musician father and his Catholic faith from his Irish-Belgian mother. Four years old when World War II began, David grew to maturity through decades of great social and cultural change - giving him plenty to write about.
Candid, witty and insightful, Quite a Good Time to be Born illuminates a period of transition in British society, and charts the evolution of a writer whose works have become classics in his own lifetime.
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
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...
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.
A moving, funny and masterful novel about the life of H.G. Wells - writer, thinker, lover and man of genius.
'The mind is a time machine that travels backwards in memory and forwards in prophecy, but he has done with prophecy now...' Sequestered in his blitz-battered Regent's Park house in 1944, the ailing Herbert George Wells, 'H.G.' to his family and friends, looks back on a life crowded with incident, books, and women. Has it been a success or a failure? Once he 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.
He recalls his unpromising start, and early struggles to acquire an education and make a living as a teacher; his rapid rise to fame as a writer with a prophetic imagination and a comic common touch which brought him into contact with most of the important literary, intellectual, and political figures of his time; his plunge into socialist politics; his belief in free love, and energetic practice of it. Arguing with himself about his conduct, he relives his relationships with two wives and many mistresses, especially the brilliant student Amber Reeves and the gifted writer Rebecca West, both of whom bore him children, with dramatic and long-lasting consequences.
Unfolding this astonishing story, David Lodge depicts a man as contradictory as he was talented: a socialist who enjoyed his affluence, an acclaimed novelist who turned against the literary novel; a feminist womaniser, sensual yet incurably romantic, irresistible and exasperating by turns, but always vitally human.
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.
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 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.'
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 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.
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.