Ant I go for it I don t allow people of your sort to stand in my way That s what you re leaving out of account I m having Christine because it s my right Do you understand that If I m after something I don t care what I do to make sure that I get it Oh my goodness a member of the wealthy privileged class portrayed as a viscous condescending power hungry scum Lastly what would a novel by Kingsley Amis be without young ladies Lucky Jim features two such ladies Margaret and the above mentioned Christine Margaret teaches history at the college is rather plain and uses emotional blackmail to tighten her grip on menfolk Christine is both attractive and connected to an uncle in high places To find out ust how far Margaret will go with her blackmail and how lucky Jim Dixon will be with Christine and her uncle you will have to read this comic I've Got a Home in Glory Land: A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad jewel for yourselfKingsley Amis in 1954 age 32 year of publication of Lucky JimJim upon waking up with a hangover Would anyone doubt Kingsley Amis mined his own first hand experience Dixon was alive again Consciousness was upon him before he could get out of the way not for him the slow gracious wandering from the halls of sleep but a summary forcible ejection He lay sprawled too wicked to move spewed up like a broken spider crab on the tarry shingle of morning The light did him harm but not as much as looking at things did he resolved having done it once never to move his eyeballs again A dusty thudding in his head made the scene before him beat like a pulse His mouth had been used as a latrine by some small creature of the night and then as its mausoleum During the night too he d somehow been on a cross country run and then been expertly beaten up by secret police He felt bad Honesty is the best policy And it s the reason for Lucky Jim s LUCK He has a knack of endearing folks to himself by it Yes he s candid but he always takes shortcutsIn 1971 I started coasting at university I had won two faculty awards andust decided to rest on my laurels a bit BIG MISTAKE My Pip Sueak Saves the Day Medici Books for Children junior and senior years yielded meagre results Twice lucky and twice shyI got my degree by the skin of my teeth in the end because I too took shortcutsI guess it was primarily because of two extracurricular novels I read that Sopho year Waugh s Decline and Fall and this oneWaugh s moral was religious and preachy Amis novel was neither and it had a POSITIVE message Both were outrageously funny books about COASTING university students like me who survivedI preferred Lucky Jim it taught me to be bright and positive no matter how bad things got And Amis gave me license to Fake It a littleFunny isn t it how kids take novelists as their main mentors no matter how dire the conseuences may be Or fictional characters like Holden Caulfield or even Duddy Kravitz Too bad for them if they never know better Our gripes tend to cast anchor at such conveniently Self aggrandizing literary rest stops Too bad for us if that leads to the depressive WormiesAt school though getting back to my own fraud I could fake it reasonably well I sang in the choir of the university choral society and I even faked that I could never read music unless my fingers were on a keyboard that s how I oriented myselfBut later there was gonna be all Heck to pay for it allWhen later on I had to prepare budgetary estimates and forecasts of cash flow at work I had to have all my ducks lined up and strictly accounted for or I d be OUTTA THEREAnd you can bet the Big Cheeses let me know that Stress citySo Jim s only still a kid and he s honest Well and good so far But when eventually he s married managing the household budget and holding down a full timeob on top of all that during his career and a social misfit to boot as I was he ll have to be PRETTY DARNED GOODNo coastingGood AT it and a GOOD PERSON at heartYes this is a funny novel and Amis bestBut if you don t want to pay the piper later DON T imitate Jim and ust try to fake it through life Take my word for itI learned the HARD way to celebrate labor day and fall and back to school here is a list of campus fiction stuff that i put togetherTwo facts that are not related but seem as though they ought to be1 Autumn is my favorite season2 I love both campus novels and campus thrillersWhat s not to love brisk weather fresh notebooks hungry impressionable minds maybe a murder or two So to celebrate the return of fall and all its academic possibilities here is a back to school reading list for you 52 adult fiction titles winnowed down through the same process of blood sweat tears alcohol and research as defined my own years of academic rigorIt s a something for everyone bridge mix list of classic and contemporary titles in a variety of treatments traditional campus novels having a laugh at pompous academics nostalgic coming of age school days comedies about the hopeless bureaucratic tangle of academia and politics plus some murder and light cannibalismWhether you are going off to school yourself or are the proud parents of students whether you remember your long past school days
with nostalgia ornostalgia or
there are bound to be a few books here with something to teachare bound to be a few books here with something to teach and you don t even have to get out of your pajamas for this classhttpwwwrifflebookscomlist24096 This book is invariably described as a comedy Well there s no doubt that it s often very funny but to me it read as a philosophical novel about the nature of love in particular about the uestion of whether it is better in romantic matters to behave selfishly or unselfishly As you will see in my review of Atlas Shrugged this is a subject I find very interesting Kingsley Amis s position is in some ways not that far from Ayn Rand s but it s far nuanced In particular Amis is clear that he thinks selfishness is only a virtue in romantic contexts not in general I liked the following passage Jim as usual not uite sober has been asked by Christine the girl of his dreams if she should marry a man whom Dixon loathes Are you in love with him I don t much care for that word she said as if rebuking a foul mouthed tradesman Why not Because I don t know what it means He gave a uiet yell Oh don t say that no don t say that It s a word you must often have come across in conversation and literature Are you going to tell me it sends you flying to the dictionary every time Of course you re not I suppose you mean it s purely personal sorry got to get the argon right purely subjective Well it is isn t it Yes that s right You talk as though it s the only thing that is If you can tell me whether you like greengages or not you can tell me whether you love Bertrand or not if you want to tell me that is You re still making it much too simple All I can really say is that I m pretty sure I was in love with Bertrand a little while ago and now I m rather less sure That up and down business doesn t happen with greengages that s the difference Not with greengages agreed But what about rhubarb eh What about rhubarb Ever since my mother stopped forcing me to eat it rhubarb and I have been conducting a relationship that can swing between love and hatred every time we meet That s all very well Jim The trouble with love is that it gets you in such a state you can t look at your own feelings dispassionately That would be a good thing if you could do it then Why of course He gave another uiet yell this time some distance above middle C You ve got a long way to go if you don t mind me saying so even though you are nice By all means view your own feelings dispassionately if you feel you ought to but that s nothing to do with deciding whether Christ you re in love Deciding that s no different from the greengages business What is difficult and this time you really do need this dispassionate rubbish is deciding what to do about being in love if you are whether you can stick the person you love enough to marry them and so on Why that s exactly what I ve been saying in different words Words change the thing and anyway the whole procedure s different People get themselves all steamed up about whether they re in love or not and can t work it out and their decisions go all to pot It s happening every day They ought to realise that the love part s perfectly easy the hard part is the working out not about love but about what they re going to do The difference is that they can get their brains going on that instead of taking the sound of the word love as a signal for switching them off They can get somewhere instead of indulging in a sort of orgy of self catechising about how you know you re in love and what love is anyway and all the rest of it You don t ask yourself what greengages are or how you know whether you like them or not do you Right. K of art that at once distills and extends an entire tradition of English comic writing from Fielding and Dickens through Wodehouse and Waugh As Christopher Hitchens has written “If you can picture Bertie or Jeeves being capable of actual malice and simultaneously imagine Evelyn Waugh forgetting about original sin you have the combination of innocence and experience that makes this short romp so imperishable”. ,
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This is a book packed with humor on every page The blurbs tell us it is Regarded by many as the finest and funniest comic novel of the twentieth century I ll give examples but let me first tell you a bit about the story Jim Dixon is a lecturer on a part time appointment He s under pressure to get something published and when he finds his title It was a perfect title in that it crystallized the article s niggling mindlessness it s funereal parade of yawn enforcing facts the pseudo light it threw upon non problems Jim isn t a good looking guy He s short and broad shouldered but looks odd because he s so skinny His doddering supervising professor essentially has Alzheimer s and all kinds of uirks The professor has asked Dixon to take care of an unattractive female professor who lives in the professor s house That leads to a pseudo romantic relationship and no end of problems and entanglements with the woman and his professor s elderly wife The professor s son comes to visit for a time and Dixon makes the mistake of going after the son s woman friend even though she s out of his class The title of the book gives us a theme Joseph Conrad wrote It is the mark of an inexperienced man not to believe in luck Dixon down on his luck understands better than most because lucky people tend to attribute their good luck to hard work their great abilities and so on He s tells us than once the simple truism that we might forget It was one argument to support his theory that nice things are nicer than nasty ones All that could logically be said was that Christine was lucky to look so nice It was luck you needed all along with ust a little luck he d had been able to switch his life on to a momentarily adjoining track a track destined to swing aside at once away from his own To write things down as luck wasn t the same as writing them off as nonexistent or in some way beneath consideration there was no end to the way in which nice things are nicer than nasty ones It had been luck too that had freed him And now he badly needed another dose of luck If it came he might yet prove to be of use to somebody Dixon is bright enough to realize that he often brings on his own bad luck Smoking in bed gives us a hilarious episode and his excessive drinking gives us several others Some examples of the humor on every page of the book Bertrand Dixon had to admit was uite presentable in evening clothes and to say of him now that he looked like an artist of some sort would have been true without being too offensive There was a small golden emblem on his tie resembling some heraldic device or other but proving on closer scrutiny to be congealed egg yolk When she turned and faced him to dance at the edge of the floor he found it hard to believe that she was really going to let him touch her or that the men near them wouldn t spontaneously intervene to prevent him Of a couple dancing She permanently resembled a horse he only when he laughed He reflected that the Arab proverb urging this kind of policy was incomplete to take what you want and pay for it it should add which is better than being forced to take what you don t want and paying for that Yes I know women are all dead keen on marrying men they don t much like His landlady at the boarding house serves saggy cornflakes pallid fried eggs bright red bacon explosive toast and diuretic coffee Of one of the other boarders he tells us As so often especially in the mornings his demeanor seemed to imply that he was unacuainted with the other two and had at the moment no intention of striking up any sort of relation with them An academic novel that s a hilarious read and a break from serious stuff Photo of Oxford University from oxacukThe author from hyperallegiccom His mouth had been used as a latrine by some small creature of the night and then as its mausoleum 64Oh that inconceivable wit I love English literature generally for its whimsy elegance combined fLucky Jim happens to charm the pants off readers It is Brideshead The party was a handsome piece of flatulent sobriety JR noted to himself Glitters fluttered all around bandy shanks of a particularly smelly vegetation filled the bodacious hall No doubt the decorators in their sheer genius prioritized the visceral over the nasal It was going to be one of those nights when he would have to pretend that he loved the smell of urine which was the scent the cursed broccoli were emitting He would have to endure much than he thought As if on cue the band started "playing a pop song he despised Unlucky sonofabitch he cursed under his breath Then he saw
them the wretchedthe wretched pop song he despised Unlucky sonofabitch he cursed under his breath Then he saw them the wretched group he had come here for The g
LUCKY JIM REMINDS ME OF THEJim reminds me of The I like the Beatles I enjoy the Beatles I can recite all the reasons why The Beatles are supposed to be the greatest most culturally relevant rock band in history And yet As a person who grew up post Beatles and who has heard The Beatles ALL THE TIME her entire life the difference between the impact that I am told The Beatles should have on me and the actual impact that The Beatles have on me is a huge yawning chasm of incomprehensibilityLucky Jim reminds me of The BeatlesFor years I ve heard that this novel is the funniest of the 20th century possibly of all time It s had a huge impact on some of my favorite writers and comedians It sets the standard for satires of class issues And I did like it I enjoyed it It was amusing And yet There s huge yawning Beatles shaped chasm between my expectations of enjoyment of Lucky Jim and my actual enjoyment of Lucky Jim And maybe it s ust that I m too young too American to appreciate how radical Lucky Jim was when it was published Maybe like The Beatles you Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator just had to be there in order to really grasp the full impact of the work I laughed once page 243 and otherwise I barely smiled but I could see exactly where I would have been roaring and splurting had I been one of the 500000 people who think this novel is one of the all time hootiest of hoots Wiki Christopher Hitchens described it as the funniest book of the second half of the 20th century and Toby Young hasudged it the best comic novel of the 20th century So thereThere is no doubt that Kingsley Amis has a lovely deft deadly turn of phrase Here our young medieval history lecturer is talking with his aggravating old fool of a professor An expression of unhappiness was beginning to settle on Welch s small eyed face Dixon was at first pleased to see this evidence that Welch s mind could still be reached from the outsideNow as Dixon had been half expecting all along Welch produced his handkerchief It was clear that he was about to blow his nose This was usually horrible if only because it drew unwilling attention to Welch s nose itself a large open pored tetrahedronLucky Jim is a rom com but comedy is always only the top level of what s going on in comedy and Understanding the Black Economy and Black Money in India just under the surface of Jim s vicious daydreams of stabbing the professor and vomiting on his dreadful son there is a very human very sad and desperate picture of a guy who s found himself in aob he hates and in a vague not uite romantic relationship with a woman he only very faintly likes but feels obligated to and anyway it s not like there are any other female candidates around His days are thus filled with a mixture of toadying fawning apologizing being hedged in hemmed in feeling awkward wrong footed socially inferior and desperate to pass his probationary year so he can look forward to a career composed of toadying and fawning and lectures he dreads having to write His situation is grisly and I think uite common then and now In a future decade he d be ingesting pharmaceuticals for sure but all he has to alleviate this inverted Vesuvius of bubbling suppression is beer and cigarettes this being the very late 1940s and so we get pages of extraordinarily detailed description of the pleasures and ravages of beer and fags The women of every decade up to the last one have had to accept smooching from men reeking of beer and smoking I guess people can get used to pretty much anythingA rom com has to have obstacles for the temporary thwarting of the young lovers and these are often in the form of arrogant buffoons like Malvolio in Twelfth Night or Daniel Cleaver in Bridget Jones Diary or Pete in Shaun of the Dead Lucky Jim has two the bearded painter Bertrand and the neurotic Margaret Bertrand is a stock figure of slapstick fun and Margaret is far and away the most interesting because most disturbing character in the book She s a 30 something spinster and by means of a suicide attempt has emotionally blackmailed our hero Jim into thinking she s too fragile for him to suggest that actually they aren t invo. Regarded by many as the finest and funniest comic novel of the twentieth century Lucky Jim remains as trenchant withering and elouently misanthropic as when it first scandalized readers in 1954 This is the story of Jim Dixon a hapless lecturer in medieval history at a provincial university who knows better than most that “there was no end to the ways in which nice things are nicer than nasty ones” Kingsley Am.