David Lodge and the Tradition of the Modern Novel

David Lodge and the Tradition of the Modern Novel

Copyright Date: 2014
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    David Lodge and the Tradition of the Modern Novel
    Book Description:

    David Lodge is a much-loved novelist and influential literary critic. Examining his career from his earliest publications in the late 1950s to his more recent works, David Lodge and the Tradition of the Modern Novel identifies Lodge's central place within the canon of twentieth-century British literature. J. Russell Perkin argues that liberalism is the defining feature of Lodge's identity as a novelist, critic, and Roman Catholic intellectual, and demonstrates that Graham Greene, James Joyce, Kingsley Amis, Henry James, and H.G. Wells are the key influences on Lodge's fiction. Perkin also considers Lodge's relationship to contemporary British novelists, including Hilary Mantel, Julian Barnes, and Monica Ali. In a study that is both theoretically informed and accessible to the general reader, Perkin shows that Lodge's work is shaped by the dialectic of modernism and the realist tradition. Through an approach that draws on diverse theories of literary influence and history, David Lodge and the Tradition of the Modern Novel provides the most thorough treatment of the novelist's career to date.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-9179-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. 1 The Liberalism of David Lodge
    (pp. 3-34)

    When David Lodge published his fourteenth novel,A Man of Parts, in the spring of 2011, he had been part of the British literary scene for just over fifty years. He is known above all for his academic novels, which brought him to international prominence in the 1980s. During that decade he was equally prominent as a literary theorist who mediated between continental theory and the more empirically oriented English approach to criticism. Lodge can also be regarded as a Catholic novelist, working in a twentieth-century tradition that includes Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, and Muriel Spark. A third aspect of...

  5. 2 Lodging in Greeneland
    (pp. 35-61)

    In 2004, David Lodge gave a lecture at the annual Graham Greene Festival in Berkhamsted on the topic of “Graham Greene and the Anxiety of Influence.”¹ He analyzed the way that Greene’s literary imagination was formed by his childhood reading, notably by the portrayal of evil and treachery in Marjorie Bowen’s historical romanceThe Viper of Milan(1906). Greene records in “The Lost Childhood” (1947) that “when – perhaps I was fourteen by that time – I took Miss Marjorie Bowen’sThe Viper of Milanfrom the library shelf, the future for better or worse really struck. From that moment I began...

  6. 3 Lodge Rejoyces: David Lodge, James Joyce, and Ireland
    (pp. 62-90)

    David Lodge has described James Joyce as “a formative influence in my youth, when my own ambitions to be a writer were germinating… He is, of all modern writers, the one I revere the most” (Practice, 124–5). The influence of Joyce can be seen in many of Lodge’s novels, from the way thatThe Picturegoersis structured to the energetic linguistic play ofSmall World, but he suggests that Joyce’s achievement is so far beyond what any successor can hope to attain that there should be no question of anxiety of influence: “Most of us have not dreamed of...

  7. 4 “Dante and Beatrice in a Suburban Key”: David Lodge and the 1950s
    (pp. 91-121)

    Lodge has described Kingsley Amis’sLucky Jim(1954) in the same way that he describesUlysses, as a “magic book for me” (Write On, 64). In this chapter, I follow Lodge by usingLucky Jimas a synecdoche for a type of fiction that emerged in his formative years and that was vitally important for his development as a writer. In 1987 Lodge gave the keynote address to a conference at Brown University sponsored by the journalNoveland focussing on the topic “Why the Novel Matters: A Postmodern Perplex.” He describes teaching a course at the University of Birmingham...

  8. 5 “The Art of Fiction”: David Lodge and Henry James
    (pp. 122-152)

    Henry James was one of the two set authors on the syllabus for the modern option of the English honours course at the University of London when David Lodge was a student there (Write On, 61).¹ But Lodge has admitted in an interview that “I didn’t really enjoy and appreciate James until I became an academic and started to teach him and write criticism about him” (“Conversation”). From those early teaching days onwards, James has been a significant presence in both Lodge’s critical writing and in his fiction. James is exemplary for his commitment to the craft of fiction and...

  9. 6 A Novelist Still at the Crossroads
    (pp. 153-178)

    David Lodge’s involvement with the novels of H.G. Wells goes back to his first major critical book,Language of Fiction, where he makes a case for the aesthetic value of Wells’sTono-Bungay(1909). Lodge locatesTono-Bungaywithin the tradition of the condition of England novel and argues that its value resides not in its characterization or formal structure but in the narrator George Ponderevo’s descriptions of setting and commentary on his experiences. The major technical problem confronting the author of the social problem novel “is how to accommodate within an imaginative structure an abundance of material of a kind which...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 179-194)
  11. Works Cited
    (pp. 195-214)
  12. Index
    (pp. 215-225)