Friday, May 07, 2010

Lucky Jim: Summer Sequel

I generally prefer Martin Amis to his father Kingsley but no book captures class bias more accurately that Kingsley's 1953 book, Lucky Jim. It is a humorous book and brilliant book. I think brilliant because even those who do not occupy either side in the world of academic class warfare can enjoy it. The book centers around Jim Dixon, woefully out of place in the British upper classes of academia and knowing it. In the edition I have there is an interesting preface by David Lodge. How appropriate.

The photo is from the film version. Can you tell which one is Jim? It was a bit of a flop at the time but deserves a look today. You can find it on Amazon but it's a bit pricey.

My favorite nugget from the book --not sure it is in the film -- is Jim's description what he teaches as "along the knife-edge dividing the conceivably-just-about-relevant from the irreducibly, immitigably, irrelevant." What an admirable use of hyphens and the word immitigably. Actually, I think the most interesting things are on that knife edge because you never know when they may fall into one category or the other.

1 comment:

eric said...

My favorite book, as you know. The 1957 movie version is quite good (the more recent 2003 TV version not quite so much).