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Lucky Jim (1954)

by Kingsley Amis

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,4171401,571 (3.71)320
Jim has fallen into a job at one of the new red brick universities. A moderately successful future beckons as long as Jim can survive a madrigal-singing weekend, deliver a lecture on merrie England and resist Christine, the girlfriend of Professor Welch's son, Bertrand.
  1. 40
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    browner56: Both books are often hilarious and great examples of the Campus Novel.
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    hazzabamboo: These are two of the only books that make me laugh out loud. Also, both are entertaining (and very English) accounts of young men coming of age with more than a little truth to them.
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    charlie68: One of the funniest books in the English language.
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    charlie68: A more serious take on the Autumn/Spring romance.
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» See also 320 mentions

English (137)  Dutch (2)  Piratical (1)  All languages (140)
Showing 1-5 of 137 (next | show all)
Evokes a period in England for those academics of a certain age. ( )
  sfj2 | Mar 13, 2022 |
I read this about 40 year ago and remember having a good laugh at some of the predicaments Jim ends up in and also the pomposity of the various bastion of the college he encounters.

There are not many books which I believe to be genuinely funny, but this is one of them. ( )
  NickDuberley | Mar 5, 2022 |
James Dixon is in a plum position to earn a decent spot as a lecturer in his college's History Department. The only problem is he is falling in love with his boss's son's girlfriend.
You can't help but laugh out loud during certain scenes in Lucky Jim. Amis has a way of painting the picture so clear you are in the room with the characters, whether you want to or not. The snobbery and pretentious nature of ambition on academia permeates the plot. The description of Dixon's hangover, filled with images of excrement and death's decay, had me smirking with remembrance. Been there, done that. I am not a smoker, but Dixon trying to ration his cigarettes gave me a chuckle as well, especially when he's on the cigarette he should be enjoying a whole day into the future. Sadly, my accolades end there. I found almost everything else about Lucky Jim to be a bore. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Dec 21, 2021 |
I searched out Kingsley Amis' 1958 best seller 'Lucky Jim' after hearing its praises from Hitchens and then, natch, son Martin Amis. Because I know what a nasty person Kingsley was, bc the book is 60 years old, and is just not interesting, 22 pages is as far as I could get. ( )
  AZBob1951 | Oct 27, 2021 |
After enjoying four novels by Evelyn Waugh, I decided to read this book after hearing that it was even funnier. Well, it's not. You might disagree with me, though, if you find drunkenness and chronic irresponsibility more amusing than I do.
James Dixon "works," to use the term loosely, at an academic career in which he has no interest because he can't imagine what else he'd like to do with his life. He hates his situation and the people it puts him in contact with. He deals with his repressed rage through a series of faces he pulls, each bearing a name he has given to it (including an Evelyn Waugh face).
This book's subtext is the rapid expansion of access to higher education after World War Two to make it accessible to those returning from military service by founding or beefing up universities far from Oxbridge. These newer schools were scoffed at; popular opinion held that they must be inferior to the traditional British universities and staffed by incompetents. But one of the rules of satire is that it works best if it is rooted, in part, in respect for the object mocked. So as a puncturing of the pretensions of higher education's paragons, this book rates below Randall Jarrell's Pictures at an Institution in my estimation.
The word that frequently crossed my mind as I read was "tedious," and I came close to chucking it.
And then, in the closing pages, came one of the most beautifully-executed reversals of fortunes I've ever read—totally unexpected by me since I'd been misled by the false impression I was reading a "funny" book. It's not funny, but it is great comedy. The awareness that James's nature won't be changed by his luck doesn't diminish the pleasure one whit. ( )
  HenrySt123 | Jul 19, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 137 (next | show all)
"Lucky Jim, Kingsley Amis's comic masterpiece, may be the funniest book of the past half century "
 

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Amis, Kingsleyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Benítez Ariza, José Manuelsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bentley, NicolasCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Binneweg, HerbertCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blake, QuentinCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
David LodgeIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gorey, EdwardCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kilpi, MikkoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mortelmans, EdwardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schaap, H.W.J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Znaniecki, PrzemysławTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Oh, lucky Jim,
How I envy him.
Oh, lucky Jim,
how I envy him.

Old Song
Dedication
To
Philip Larkin
First words
'They made a silly mistake, though,' the Professor of History said, and his smile, as Dixon watched, gradually sank beneath the surface of his features at the memory.
Lucky Jim was first published by Victor Gollancz in January 1954. (Introduction)
Quotations
Christine was still prettier and nicer than Margaret, and all the deductions that could be drawn from that fact should be drawn: there was no end to the ways in which nice things are nicer than nasty ones.
"I am sorry to hear of your difficulties, Mr Dickinson, but I'm afraid things are too difficult here for me to be very seriously concerned about your difficulties..."
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-county run and then been expertly beaten up by secret police. He felt bad.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Jim has fallen into a job at one of the new red brick universities. A moderately successful future beckons as long as Jim can survive a madrigal-singing weekend, deliver a lecture on merrie England and resist Christine, the girlfriend of Professor Welch's son, Bertrand.

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141182598, 0141399414, 0241956846

NYRB Classics

2 editions of this book were published by NYRB Classics.

Editions: 1590175751, 1590175913

 

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