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Lodge, David

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(British, 1935– )

Born in London and educated at the universities of London and Birmingham, David Lodge was for many years Professor of Modern English Literature at Birmingham University. His early novels, Changing Places (1975) and Small World (1984), are set in a fictional university, and are high-spirited comedies of campus life. They work by contrasting the life of British provincial universities with their more glamorous American counterparts. Nice Work (1989) is also partly set on a campus, but here Dr Robyn Penrose, feminist academic, shadows the manager of an engineering firm, Vic Wilcox. The contrast and interactions of their worlds, academic–industrial and male–female, gives rise to effective social comedy. Lodge's novels are always thoughtful, deliberately structured and never without humour. He is an acute observer of lower-middle-class life and manners. Themes that have absorbed him more recently include religion, in particular, Catholicism, and growing older, as in his Paradise News (1991), a comic novel about an agnostic theologian's visit to Hawaii. In Therapy (1995), a writer of television sitcoms suffers a mid-life crisis. Lodge is also an eminent literary critic.

Howard Jacobson, Kingsley Amis, Malcolm Bradbury  SA

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