- I read this for two reasons:-
- For a quick comic look at provincial university life, on which I’ve (thankfully) missed out.
- In "Botros (Sophie) - Truth, Time and History - A Philosophical Inquiry with Dr Sophie Botros", Sophie Botros accused Winston Smith of being a “hapless everyman”. I thought this an unfair characterisation, which I thought might apply better to the characters – such as Norman Pitkin – portrayed by Wikipedia: Norman Wisdom. However, Lucky Jim might be a parallel – as a middle-tier but thwarted person – but I hadn’t actually read the book, so I repaired the situation. I’m not sure “hapless” applies to Jim Dixon either, though maybe at least as well.
- There are useful outlines of the book on
→ Wikipedia: Lucky Jim, and in
→ "Lodge (David) - Lucky Jim: Introduction"
… so I don’t need to add anything here.
- It seemed to show the lack of direction of those (fairly) clever people with arts degrees. Teaching the same is the natural next step, and University teaching is more attractive that School for those who can cut it.
- But, there seemed to be no real interest in the subject as a “private passion” – just as a job. I’d always felt I’d have been uncomfortable having my primary intellectual interest central to my job – too much of the same thing. Contrast Derek Parfit. But Jim Dixon – while uninterested in his specialism of mediaeval history is not portrayed as having other intellectual interests.
- I’d note that anyone wanting a fairly factual take on academic life along these lines might follow up by reading "Honderich (Ted) - Philosopher - a Kind of Life", though this book hardly tickles the ribs.
- All-in-all, I enjoyed the book, but didn’t find it particularly intellectually or aesthetically engaging.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020