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A Martian goes to College

David Lodge, 6 December 1984

... with apologies to Craig Raine) Caxtons are bred in batteries. If you take one from its perch, a girl Must stun it with her fist before you bring it home. Learning is when you watch a conjurer with fifty minutes’ patter and no tricks. Students are dissidents: knowing their rooms are bugged, they Take care never to talk Except against the blare of music ...

Dam and Blast

David Lodge, 21 October 1982

... The Dam Busters, shown on BBC Television one Sunday afternoon recently, must be the perfect war film for people like myself who don’t really approve of war, or of the military mystique of competitive valour and unquestioning obedience to authority, or of the exploitation of these things for purposes of entertainment, but nevertheless go weak at the knees at the image of a flak-scarred Lancaster bomber coming in to land on a dandelion-strewn airfield at dawn somewhere in East Anglia in 1943 ...

My First Job

David Lodge, 4 September 1980

... You don’t have to be Protestant to have the Protestant Ethic, I tell my students, when we come to Weber in my survey course on Sociological Grand Theory. Look at me, I say: Jewish father, Catholic mother – and I develop an allergic rash at the mere mention of the word ‘holiday’, with all its connotations of reckless expenditure of time and money ...

What there is to tell

David Lodge, 6 November 1980

Ways of Escape 
by Graham Greene.
Bodley Head, 309 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 370 30356 3
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... For most of his professional life, Graham Greene might have been described as the Greta Garbo of modern English letters. He preferred to be alone. A wartime Penguin edition of England made me in my possession records on the back cover that ‘he … has always lived a quiet life and shunned literary circles.’ Widely regarded as, in Hugh Walpole’s words (quoted on the same cover), ‘the finest English novelist of his generation’, he avoided the public exposure that usually accompanies such exalted cultural status ...
... The LOT plane is late leaving Heathrow because of baggage-loading problems. ‘You will understand,’ says the ground hostess, apologising for the delay, ‘that we are carrying a great deal of baggage to Poland these days.’ The passengers waiting at Gate 11 smile wryly at each other. Their hand luggage is bursting with goods difficult or impossible to obtain in Poland these days ...

A Catholic Novel

David Lodge, 4 June 1981

... In late August 1964, at the age of 29, I embarked at Southampton on the Queen Mary, bound for New York with my wife Mary, our two children, five suitcases and the first chapter of what I hoped would be my third published novel. I was beginning a year’s leave of absence from my post as lecturer in English Literature at the University of Birmingham to take up a Harkness Commonwealth Fellowship in America ...

Rainbows

Graham Coster, 12 September 1991

Paradise News 
by David Lodge.
Secker, 294 pp., £14.99, September 1991, 0 436 25668 1
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... accepted Boeing’s tender for a massive new cargo aircraft for the United States Air Force, David Lodge would not have been able to write Paradise News. Instead, however, Lockheed got the contract, and Boeing were left with a redundant set of blueprints for the biggest furniture van never built. To save all that development money going to ...
How far can you go? 
by David Lodge.
Secker, 244 pp., £5.95, April 1980, 0 436 25661 4
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Life before Man 
by Margaret Atwood.
Cape, 317 pp., £5.95, March 1980, 0 224 01782 9
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Desirable Residence 
by Lettice Cooper.
Gollancz, 191 pp., £5.50, April 1980, 0 575 02787 8
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A Month in the Country 
by J.L. Carr.
Harvester, 110 pp., £6.50, April 1980, 0 85527 328 3
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... are special ones, and it would seem on the face of it that the same limitations must apply. For David Lodge is writing about Catholics as Catholics, about their particular dilemmas, their casuistical puzzles, the blind alleys that modern Catholic prescriptions lead them into, about their various ways out, and finally about the astonishingly sudden and ...

Living as Little as Possible

Terry Eagleton: Lodge’s James, 23 September 2004

Author, Author: A Novel 
by David Lodge.
Secker, 389 pp., £16.99, September 2004, 0 436 20527 0
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... have come as something of a surprise to Chaucer or Pope. For liberals such as Henry James and David Lodge, it represents a venture into individual consciousness of unique worth – so valuable, in fact, that in this new novel Lodge suspects it may be the summum bonum. ‘Consciousness’ – the very term has an ...

Shakers

Denis Donoghue, 6 November 1986

Write on: Occasional Essays ’65-’85 
by David Lodge.
Secker, 211 pp., £12.95, September 1986, 0 436 25665 7
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... This is a gathering of David Lodge’s easy pieces: they are footnotes, shouldernotes and headnotes to the formal work in fiction and literary criticism he has published in the past twenty years. The book is in two parts. The first, ‘Personal and Descriptive’, includes a memoir of his first year in America, mostly a travel-year, 1964-65; his report on the turbulence at Berkeley in 1969; a trip to Poland in 1981; memories of a Catholic childhood; how he came to read Joyce; an introduction to his novel Small World; and his account of going to a Shakin’ Stevens concert in Birmingham ...

Decrepit Lit

Lorna Scott Fox: David Lodge, 8 May 2008

Deaf Sentence 
by David Lodge.
Harvill Secker, 294 pp., £17.99, May 2008, 978 1 84655 167 3
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... Thirty years ago, the campus novels of David Lodge and Malcolm Bradbury mythologised a setting that expressed, better than any other, the cultural and ideological chaos of the 1960s and 1970s. The main characters were rarely students, but all the energy in these comedies of social transition flowed from the young: it was their politics and their sexuality that the generations above them were forced to flatter or fight, exploit or succumb to ...

Whisky out of Teacups

Stefan Collini: David Lodge, 19 February 2015

Quite a Good Time to Be Born: A Memoir, 1935-75 
by David Lodge.
Harvill Secker, 488 pp., £25, January 2015, 978 1 84655 950 1
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Lives in Writing: Essays 
by David Lodge.
Vintage, 262 pp., £10.99, January 2015, 978 0 09 958776 7
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... here and how might an author guard against its perils? Few writers are as well qualified as David Lodge both to diagnose and to overcome these potential difficulties. One of the leading critics and literary theorists of the past few decades, he has interested himself above all in the mechanics of narration: both the nuts and bolts of expository ...

Jogging in the woods at Bellagio

Frank Kermode, 19 April 1984

Small World 
by David Lodge.
Secker, 339 pp., £8.95, March 1984, 0 436 25663 0
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... There are also some plot reminders of the older book, but nothing essential. You might think Mr Lodge would have lost some of his high spirits over the years, and the novel which came between these two, the excellent How far can you go?, was sad as well as funny. But although the new book does give one an odd sense that the author who is so fertile in farce ...

Diary

Elaine Showalter: At the Modern Language Association , 9 February 1995

... United States. He was shocked by American coffee, but calmly prepared for the MLA. ‘J’ai lu David Lodge,’ he boasted, brandishing his tattered copy of Small World. For the first time in 110 years, the MLA held its December meeting in balmy and palmy San Diego instead of frost-bitten Chicago, Toronto or New York. The San Diego convention centre is ...

Let’s get the hell out of here

Patrick Parrinder, 29 September 1988

The Satanic Verses 
by Salman Rushdie.
Viking, 547 pp., £12.95, September 1988, 0 670 82537 9
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The Lost Father 
by Marina Warner.
Chatto, 277 pp., £11.95, September 1988, 0 7011 3220 5
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Nice Work 
by David Lodge.
Secker, 277 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 0 436 25667 3
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... has reconstructed is only a ‘family romance’, an operetta played out on her own toy stage. And David Lodge’s heroine complains that she is ‘getting dragged into a classic realist text, full of causality and morality. How can I get out of it?’ Trust the contemporary novelist for that, we might think – though, for ...

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