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Changing Places by David Lodge

Changing Places (1975)

by David Lodge

Series: Rummidge (1)

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I enjoyed the look at British & American academia in 1969 but unfortunately this was more a book about the sex lives of the two professors than their academic lives. ( )
  leslie.98 | May 2, 2014 |
Good entertainment with fun characters, but hardly flawless. It's dated in an odd way- the academic life these days revolves *completely* around computers. But in this novel the profs use typewriters. Now, that's not Lodge's fault, and it doesn't really make too much of a difference. It's just amusing. But it's dated in another way- tiresome pomo trickiness. It makes fun of 'how to write a novel' handbooks! Hilarious! It makes fun of the debate about realism and the novel and film! Hilarious! It's very self-referential! Hilarious! Of course, not really. Such boredoms just detract from the actual humour of the book.
Also odd is Lodge's miniscule changes to the real world. The british prof goes to a combination of Stanford and Berkeley, CA while Reagan was governor. Except in the novel the university is 'Euphoria State;' the governor is 'Ronald Duck;' the bridge is called the 'Silver Span' and so on. This wouldn't be so offputting, I think, if Reagan hadn't proceeded to become president twice over. As it is, it's just distracting. And a little depressing to think how easily he went from prime fool to prime mover. ( )
  stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
A comic look at academia, intellectual fashion, sex and marriage. Dated seventies. Recommended by Nancy Pearl. ( )
  Kristelh | Nov 16, 2013 |
I've probably read this four or five times since the mid-seventies, and it still manages to make me laugh: like Bradbury's The history man, it has become a period piece, but in a good way. By no means the first "British academic in America" novel, nor the last, but it must be one of the cleverest.

Even though he's only writing a couple of years later, Lodge manages to get enough perspective on les évènements of 1969 (Berkeley- and Brummagem-style) to be able to laugh at them a bit. It's interesting to see that the one bit of sixties counter-culture that he allows to speak quite seriously is the women's movement — in fact, you could almost read it as a feminist novel in the way the plot is largely driven by women taking decisions about their own lives. But perhaps only to the extent that you could call Lysistrata a feminist play... ( )
  thorold | Nov 14, 2013 |
One of the advantages of a reading group is that you are forced (really much too harsh a word) to read books you’ve always meant to and that many people have recommended but that you’ve just never gotten around to. Such was the case with David Lodge’s Changing Places.

What a delight. This is one of the funniest books I have read in a long time. It chronicles the events in the lives of two professors, Philip Swallow, of Rummidge College in England, and Morris Zapp, professor of English at Euphoric State University, the Jane Austen expert whose ambition it is to write the definitive work in multiple volumes summarizing all that has been and could be said or written about Jane Austen. They are participating in an exchange program. Morris discovers, after wondering what the odds are that he could be the only male on a planeload of women flying to England, that it is a special charter flight for pregnant women on their way to England for abortions. He then has the misfortune to wander into a striptease club (and to discover he is the only one there) where the artiste is Mary Makepeace, his seatmate from the plane who decided not to go through
with the abortion. Of course, she recognizes him and it’s all downhill from there.

Phillip, meanwhile, grants special permission to a student to enter his class late, only to have the student lead the entire class out on strike — it takes place during the sixties — “no offense intended.”
Lodge makes constant spirited fun of all the academic stereotypes. One of many favorite scenes takes place in Zapp’s lodging house, where the young daughter of his landlord has gotten ahold of Zapp’s Playboy. Zapp, of course, would like it back, but Shea, his landlord, retorts he has destroyed the magazine. The skeptical Zapp “didn’t believe him. Inside thirty minutes he would be holed up somewhere, jerking himself off and drooling over the Playboy pix. Not the girls, of course, but the full-colour ads for whiskey and hi-fi equipment. . . .” ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
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Not since Lucky Jim has such a funny book about academic life come my way.
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For Lenny and Priscilla, Stanely and Adrienne and many other friends on the West Coast
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High, high above the North Pole, on the first day of 1969, two professors of English Literature approached each other at a combined velocity of 1200 miles per hour.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140170987, Paperback)

Anyone intrigued by differences between American and British academic institutions will find this an amusing and accurate send-up. David Lodge, portraying two American and British professors who replace one another at their respective institutions, gives greed, pettiness, and pretense full rein.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:38 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A hilarious send-up of academic life, intellectual fashion, sex, and marriage. Two English professors know they'll be swapping class rosters, but what they don't know is that in a wildly spiraling transatlantic involvement they'll soon be swapping students, colleagues, and even wives. First book in a trilogy.… (more)

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