Lives in Writing

Lives in Writing

Hardback Harvill Secker

By (author) David Lodge

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  • Publisher: HARVILL SECKER
  • Format: Hardback | 272 pages
  • Dimensions: 144mm x 222mm x 28mm | 439g
  • Publication date: 6 February 2014
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1846557909
  • ISBN 13: 9781846557903
  • Sales rank: 94,657

Product description

This is a collection of essays on writers and writing by the Booker-shortlisted novelist and critic. Writing about real lives takes various forms, which overlap and may be combined with each other: biography, autobiography, biographical criticism, biographical fiction, memoir, confession, diary. In these thoughtful and enlightening essays David Lodge considers some particularly interesting examples of life-writing, and contributes several of his own. The subjects include celebrated modern British writers such as Graham Greene, Kingsley Amis, Muriel Spark and Alan Bennett, and two major figures from the past, Anthony Trollope and H.G.Wells. Lodge examines connections between the style and the man in the diaries of the playwright Simon Gray and the cultural criticism of Terry Eagleton, and recalls how his own literary career was entwined with that of his friend Malcolm Bradbury. All except one of the subjects (Princess Diana) are or were themselves professionally "in writing", making this collection a kind of casebook of the splendours and miseries of authorship. In a final essay Lodge describes the genesis and compositional method of his recent novel about H.G.Wells, A Man of Parts, and engages with the critical controversies that have been provoked by the increasing popularity of narrative and dramatic writing that combines fact and fiction. Drawing on David Lodge's long experience as a novelist and critic, Lives in Writing is a fascinating study of the interface between life and literature.

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Author information

David Lodge's novels include Changing Places (Hawthornden Prize), How Far Can You Go? (Whitbread Book of the Year), Small World ( Booker shortlisted), Nice Work (Sunday Express Book of the Year) and A Man of Parts. He has also written books of literary criticism, including The Art of Fiction. His works have been translated into 25 languages. He is Emeritus Professor of English Literature at Birmingham and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, was awarded a CBE and is also a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Review quote

"Lodge is a clear, sceptical writer, wise about things and a careful reader and in general kind even to people who plainly irritate him" -- Sam Leith Spectator "Lodge's animating spark is his sedulousness, his ability to marshal the facts, pronounce a judgement and then subtly qualify it" -- DJ Taylor Independent on Sunday "Lodge, too original a writer to set down a conventional autobiography, re-veals himself in fragments, an anecdote here, a recollection there. The collection, then, is a kind of trick: portraits of others disguising a book about himself... This is a hybrid work, well-suited to its hybrid author - rooted in fact but entranced by fiction" -- Sophie Elmhirst Financial Times "The shrewd, amused intellect that Lodge brings to bear makes this collection a consistent pleasure... Wise and genial" -- Tim Martin The Times "Generous but discriminating, lucid without sacrificing complexity" -- Theo Tait Sunday Times