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David Lodge Biography

(1935– ), Changing Places, Small World, Nice Work, The Picturegoers, Ginger, You're Barmy

modern london catholicism british

British novelist and critic, born in London, educated at University College, London, and the University of Birmingham where, from 1976 to 1987, he was Professor of Modern English Literature. He is best known for his alert and funny campus novels, Changing Places (1975), Small World (1984), and Nice Work (1989), in which English and American academics encounter the well-observed follies of each other's professional and cultural climates. Lodge's other novels include The Picturegoers (1960), Ginger, You're Barmy (1962), The British Museum Is Falling Down (1965), Out of the Shelter (1970), How Far Can You Go? (1980), and Paradise News (1991); their themes, as Lodge says, include ‘lower middle-class life in the inner suburbs of South East London; a wartime childhood and a post-war “austerity” adolescence; Catholicism; education and the social and physical mobility it brings; military service, marriage, travel etc.’ Therapy (1995), whose hero, Tubby Passmore, is a successful writer of television ‘sit-coms’ suffering from a mid-life crisis, recapitulates many of the author's prevailing concerns with Catholicism, with sexual guilt, with academic jargon, and (increasingly) with the horrors of middle age. Tubby's quest for a solution to the ‘angst’ with which he finds himself afflicted leads, unsurprisingly, to an encounter with the works of Søren Kierkegaard—a comic juxtapositioning of incongruities which is typical of Lodge's witty and irreverent fiction. Lodge is also a critic interested in contemporary theoretical developments; in The Language of Fiction (1966) and The Modes of Modern Writing (1977), for example, he incorporates his readings of stylistics and linguistics into a determinedly pragmatic literary approach. Working with Structuralism (1981) and After Bakhtin (1990) are informed and open-ended responses to bodies of thought and practice many Anglo-American critics have found intractable, and Lodge's two influential anthologies, Twentieth Century Literary Criticism (1972) and Modern Criticism and Theory (1988), are lucid and well-balanced guides to difficult and often mystified territories.

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