Small World
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Small World (The Campus Trilogy #2)

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  3,027 ratings  ·  158 reviews
Veteran rivals for an exclusive academic chair (recently endowed with $100,000 a year) do scholarly battle with each other in what the Washington Post Book World called a "delectable comedy of bad manners . . . infused with a rare creative exuberance". From the author of the award-winning Changing Places.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 1st 1995 by Penguin Books (first published 1984)
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Manny
I can't believe how few of my GR friends have Small World on their shelves. Of course, we all know what's wrong with the genre, and many people instinctively shy away from reading yet another novel by a lecturer at an English department, describing what it's like to be an English lecturer who's writing a novel. The first time you see someone try to crawl up their own ass, it's kind of interesting. The tenth time, you know in advance that they'll get stuck somewhere in their lower intestine, and...more
notgettingenough
Oh yes and...

On fear of flying.

One of the things I love about this series is he captures ordinary sensible fears of flying so well.

I've just got off a plane, yet again without it falling down in a non-prescribed manner. But still, it's made me think about this situation.

Have you ever been in a plane, sitting in it, expecting to take off, when the pilot says 'Attention, attention, attennnnshhunnn. Passengers, in order to fly safely we need to take off 100 kgs. I'm asking for two volunteers and th...more
David Lentz
Witty, clever, amusing, well narrated. Some really great lines about this discourse on English professors on summer holiday: "We are all subjects in search of objects." Layered for a story line that broadly appeals with intriguing insight as to the real purpose of literary theory in bringing unknown writers to light. Laughed out loud at the story about the English prof who attended a seminar on the "Problems of the Colon" and who was an hour into the lecture before realizing he was attending the...more
Carmen
Mar 25, 2014 Carmen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: College professors; People who appreciate subtle humor
Shelves: fiction
This is a sort-of sequel to Lodge's book CHANGING PLACES. However, the two main characters of CHANGING PLACES are now secondary characters in this novel, which takes place 10 years later, roughly around 1979.

Lodge turns up the academic aspect to HIGH in this novel, which may drive away some readers. This is a novel filled with conferences such as MLA, a lot of literary theory, and a lot of professors who are out of ideas for books and articles.

Into all this enters our protagonist, the Irishman...more
Terry
My brother Mike described this as the only book I've ever given him that he didn't like. I can understand why: lots of literary references, lots of in-jokes for English majors, graduate students, and anyone who's ever suffered through a course in literary theory. But I'm all of those things, and as I read Small Word through for the second time--this time in preparation to teach it at the end of my British Lit class--I found myself liking it even more than I did the first time. It's more than jus...more
Gloss
Jan 14, 2009 Gloss rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Gloss by: Cornelia, I think
Shelves: aca_lit
I love this book. Lodge manages to animate what would be, in lesser hands, cardboard stereotypes -- the humanist, the semiotician, the poststructuralist -- into vivid, hilarious, eminently *moving* characters. The novel, structured like a medieval romance, sees them all on a whirlwind world tour of academic conferences, tracing the rise and fall of their fortunes. Some of the best humor comes, I think, from sympathy and identification with others' flaws, and Lodge proves that proposal amply.
Ensiform
Having read Changing Places, “to which this book is a kind of sequel,” says Lodge, I was eager for this one. I was not disappointed. The plot is barebones (academics globe-trot and vie for a sinecure endowed chair), the characters varied, the scope huge.

This novel is a modern epic; a social satire; a wickedly funny skewering, with a decidedly accurate feel, of academic pretension and trumpery; an allegory (of the quest for the Holy Grail); a love story; and more --- it’s even a sly wink at the r...more
Elaine



The Boston Globe touted this as "It's hard to imagine a funnier book about academe, in fact, it's hard to imagine a funnier book about anything." Well, my imagination is apparently far more global than the Globe's reviewer was. I can imagine trainloads of books not only far funnier than this one, but books which are just plain funny, which this one is not. The writing is pedestrian, and, by that, I mean plodding. The plotting is uninspired as well, so what we have here is a plodding plotting (so...more
Erica Verrillo
Actually, having attended a number of academic conferences myself, I am not sure this is a satire. Quite a few of the "fictitious" presentations in this book sported titles (and contents) that were uncomfortably familiar. (What can I say? I was young...I didn't know any better...) As for the back-biting, infighting, petty scheming, feuds, and general unmitigated nastiness--it's all too true. Fortunately, in Lodge's hands, it's also funny enough to take the sting out of some of the more pointed b...more
Filipa
Já acabei. Hoje tive um furo de 5 horas e decidi ler este livro. Li-o depressa, realmente, se bem que já tinha tinha dado algum avanço no fim-de-semana.
Gostei do livro, fez-me rir em diversos momentos. Além disso, é muito bom ser passado num ambiente que me posso identificar com, embora a maior parte das situações não possa dizer o mesmo.
No início custou-me um bocado a entrar na escrita da coisa, mas depois embrenhei-me bastante bem.
Nem estava à espera daquela revelação que se refere à Lily e à...more
Jenny
The characters are charming and . However the plot is quite bland and I wouldn't read this book for the story itself. It has a drab storyline, but with a few funny moments it was readable.

But I'd recommend this book to fans of English literature and Academia. The discussions among the participants of the literary conferences in the novel can be hard to understand without previous knowledge of literary theory and academic use of English.

Nonetheless, I am highly impressed with Lodge's style of w...more
John Pappas
Gleefully contrived, Lodge's follow-up to Changing Places spoofs the international conference circuit and the "small world" of academia. Zapp and Swallow, here, more fully realized than in Lodge's precious novel, cavort with a vast assortment of characters as they, along with many others, compete for the (fictional) UNESCO chair of English Literature and Criticism. Modeled after a traditional Romance (a la the Grail stories), the novel is rife with allusions and references to many other works an...more
Marti
My best friend' daughter gave her this book, which she passed along to me. The paperback's cover has the quotation, 'AN EXUBERANT MARVELOUSLY FUNNY NOVEL.' Uh, oh. When I see words like that I think, no, I don't think so. The plot was that literary people traveled from one conference to another, and did a fair amount of bedhopping.

I couldn't really identify with any of them, and there wasn't enough detail about their settings to be really interesting. On the back of the cover it read "A BOOKER P...more
Lada
C'est un roman universitaire qui met en scene un monde de professurs de litterature anglaise et ceux qui y aspirent, dans le monde entier. Une perpetuelle quete et enquete de ses valeurs en confirmation et reconfirmation de soi.Ce monde clos universitaire bouge de conference en conference comme un defi d'etre le meilleur, d'obtenir le meilleur poste, la meilleure position academique, la mailleure dame. Car c'est un roman postmoderne qui met en contexte dans une ironie bienveillante le monde des...more
Stela
It was not always easy to identify the trama of various Chansons de geste and other romances, and I'm pretty sure I didn't recognize all of them, but who says I have to when I had such a good time just reading this novel? I didn't laugh so much reading a book in a long time. Erudition and accessibility, irony and humor, parody and subtle quoting, in a word, Lodge as we know him, Lodge in the best book of his famous trilogy (Changing Places, Nice Work, and of course Small World).
Eiríkur Norðdahl
Lítill heimur fjallar um bókmenntafræðinga sem þvælast á milli ráðstefna víðs vegar um heiminn og ríða sig rófulausa. Þetta er svona Carry On fyrir gáfumenni, Bridget Jones fyrir bókabéusa, einhvers konar Dick Lit. Ég veit ekki hvort það er mikið flóknara. Bókin er skemmtileg og það eru í henni alls kyns hressilegar pælingar, en bara af léttara taginu og flestar kynferðislegar. Raunar eru held ég allir karakterar í bókinni annað hvort kynóðir eða kynkaldir eða ástsjúkir eða ástvana. Það er ekker...more
David
This middle book of the trilogy started by "Changing Places" and ending with "Nice Work" didn't quite match the high standard set by the other two. Nonetheless, I would highly recommend almost any of David Lodge's books - he is consistently thought-provoking, and often hilarious.
Lisa
Super fun read. I may not have rated it as highly if I weren't an academic but it is laugh out loud funny from the inside of that world. Reading this book a great way to spend a few days. funnier than the first of the trilogy.
Lavinia
A delicious academic romance based upon the quest for the Holy Grail. An interview with David Lodge about the book, here.
Zaki
This is a tale of ambitious globe-trotting academics. I got bored of the smug academic world really quickly and couldn't finish the book entirely
Antonia
It's like someone went to my university and decided to write a book. Hilarious and witty....one of my favorites.
Monthly Book Group
Our book group’s discussion of David Lodge’s satirical campus novel Small World (1984) produced a scenario worthy of inclusion in the novel itself. It became apparent quite early in the proceedings that the book’s proposer was labouring under the misapprehension that he had asked us to read another novel by David Lodge, Nice Work. He forlornly brandished the covers of the two books for our inspection, citing an uncanny similarity of appearance.

We had barely recovered our poise after this revelat...more
Karen
As my unrequited passion for my university lecturer continues apace (well, continued; semester's over now. Sad face...), I figured it was high time to embark upon a David Lodge campus novel, and console myself with being a comedic cliche: that there have doubtless been many before me and many more to follow (or maybe not that many - he's nearly retired) who have sat, head inclined, starry-eyed in his classes, imagining a fascinating conversation over a nice Chianti in a cosy, quiet bistro somewh...more
Jayne Charles
I really should have got round to reading this ages ago, it was great. I wasn't too sure at the start - tiny typeface, and a curious structure to the plot in that a bit of the story unfolds and then we are suddenly introduced to about twenty additional characters one by one, a page or so devoted to each. I panicked: was it necessary to remember all of these characters or were they just amusing interludes? Actually I did have to remember them, but at that point things started to take off, and the...more
Roger Burk
If you take my advice you'll make a list of the various characters as they enter this story. You'll want to keep track of them as they weave in and out of it, turning up unexpectedly in various guises as these academics zip around the world from conference to conference, propelled by lust or love or ambition. Passion is everywhere--I get the feeling the author spent too many hours longing for unattainable coeds, and decided to write the longing into his story. Based on my experience, the confere...more
Brian
I've always enjoyed reading books about academe. And it has become even more fun now that I'm mostly removed from that world. That books can provide us with a vicarious experience of life so different from our own is one the things I love about them.

This is the first book I've read by Lodge, and it was very fun. He spins a funny tale of coincidence that includes some rather insightful commentary on literary criticism (he is one of a rather small number of notable authors who also has a PhD in Li...more
Amicia Rai
I enjoyed reading this book (although it may not seeme evident since I gave it three stars).
But it's true. I love the way Lodge uses language, as well as all the little reference jokes to literature. They may not all be easy to understand to those who are not particularly familiar in the area, but that doesn't mean that they won't still find these puns funny.
I absolutely love it when the characters start debating on various literature topics, and there were even times when I felt that I was part...more
John Lucy
Not nearly as good as the first campus novel that Lodge wrote, "Changing Places." This one has lots of characters with the narrative pausing and switching to other characters all the time, over a very long period of time. It's hard to keep track of at some points. If this were not a comic novel I'd say that it fits neatly into the theme of the novel. But this is a comic novel, and no matter how much Lodge is trying to imitate the constant traveling of university professors that disconnects them...more
Highlyeccentric
This is a much *better* book than Changing Places, and much of it is obviously right in my points of interest (genre, arthuriana, etc). However, I had some gendered/race-related problems with this book which were less evident in Changing Places. In Changing Places, I was willing to give Lodge the benefit of the doubt - his *characters* were sexist, but through Desiree's POV and Hilary's narrative he was able to critique that. To some extent he does this in Small World: I was pleased to see Hilar...more
Ruth
I have to say I was somewhat disappointed as I did not enjoy this as much as the first book in the trilogy (Changing Places, Small World, and Nice Work), partly due to personal experience -- I recognized half the places described in changing Places and it was fun to see how he played with them. My experience of spending the summer running from conference to conference (in Small World) is comparatively limited, although I have to agree with the atmosphere Lodge describes, the primary draw being t...more
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Professor David Lodge is a graduate and Honorary Fellow of University College London. He is Emeritus Professor of English Literature at the University of Birmingham, where he taught from 1960 until 1987, when he retired to write full-time.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, was Chairman of the Judges for the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1989, and is the author of numerous works of li...more
More about David Lodge...
Changing Places Nice Work Therapy Deaf Sentence Thinks . . .

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“to read is to surrender oneself to an endless displacement of curiosity and desire from one sentence to another, from one action to another, from one level of a text to another. The text unveils itself before us, but never allows itself to be possessed; and instead of trying to possess it we should take pleasure in its teasing” 19 likes
“It's the only thing that keeps me going these days, travelling. Changes of scene, changes of faces” 8 likes
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