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Small World (The Campus Trilogy #2)

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  4,170 Ratings  ·  210 Reviews
Philip Swallow, Morris Zapp, Persse McGarrigle and the lovely Angelica are the jet-propelled academics who are on the move, in the air and on the make in David Lodge’s satirical Small World. It is a world of glamorous travel and high excitement, where stuffy lecture rooms are swapped for lush corners of the globe, and romance is in the air.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 1st 1995 by Penguin Books (first published 1984)
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(showing 1-30)
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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
Feb 24, 2010 notgettingenough rated it really liked it
Shelves: humour
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
Soumen Daschoudhury
Jul 28, 2014 Soumen Daschoudhury rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anybody who wants a laugh
Shelves: 2014-reads, booker, funny
David Lodge’s is a small world; the Japanese call it a narrow world. It is a world of conferences - literary conferences, conferees, professors, writers, critics, linguistic enthusiasts and geniuses, universities, educationists and once through this novel, one would wonder if there does exist a world beyond these universities and conferences; where do WE live then or is our existence a myth? And these so called guardians and critics of literature are not bound merely to their books and epics and ...more
Roya
Jan 26, 2015 Roya rated it really liked it
Finished reading it exactly one day before the M.A entrance exam, it feels like I have recapitulated everything I've been studying for this exam for the past few months. There was Norton anthology of English Literature there (adding some depth to my knowledge of the medieval literature and genre of romance- I should read Faerie Queen now, I guess) and also the whole gamut of literary criticism (explained way better than the Bressler guy- no offence, dude. Your textbook is still my favorite among ...more
David Lentz
Mar 23, 2013 David Lentz rated it really liked it
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 24, 2014 Carmen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: College professors; People who appreciate subtle humor
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
Fabien
Feb 07, 2016 Fabien rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un livre formidable car il réussit plusieurs prouesses :

- Celle d'être drôle sans jamais être grossier. Il croque les travers du monde universitaire avec une acuité qui n'a rien perdu de son actualité. Les travers sont tellement bien rendus qu'on y retrouve bien d'autres professions.

- Celle de raconter une véritable intrigue qui ne sert absolument pas de prétexte à ce qui pourrait ressembler au départ à une simple galerie de personnage.

- Celle d'être écrit avec un style plein de finesse et de l
...more
Terry
Jan 11, 2008 Terry rated it really liked it
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
Ensiform
Dec 22, 2011 Ensiform rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
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
Stela
Mar 19, 2011 Stela rated it really liked it
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).
Gloss
Jan 14, 2009 Gloss rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Jenny
Jul 27, 2011 Jenny rated it liked it
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
Eva
Jan 09, 2016 Eva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, british-lit
Δεν ξέρω αν εν έτει 2016 θεωρείται ξεπερασμένο το κείμενο και η σάτιρα του Lodge, αλλά πιστέψτε με δεν είναι. Δεν μπορώ να θυμηθώ *πραγματικά* αστείο μυθιστόρημα άλλου συγγραφέα που να έχω διαβάσει τα τελευταία χρόνια. Μη σου πω ever και το χοντρύνω.
Andrijana
Oct 16, 2015 Andrijana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Funny, sarcastic, complexed, simply brilliant. Mr. Lodge surprises his readers until the last page and that makes reading this book interesting. Conclusion: this world is really small.
Lavinia
Nov 27, 2009 Lavinia rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009, fiction
A delicious academic romance based upon the quest for the Holy Grail. An interview with David Lodge about the book, here.
Ljuki
May 27, 2016 Ljuki rated it it was amazing
Voljela bih da se ovakva knjiga nikad nije završila.
Kaleidograph
This is a patchwork book, cleverly weaving the day-to-day lives of a dozen academics together from one conference to the next in the early 1980s. As such it is of course somewhat dated, but the biting academic satire as well as the debates on structuralism and literary theory are still interesting and amusing.

For me, unfortunately, all of that was more or less overshadowed by the fact that as the "story" (more a string of not very complex character cameos, which I am not opposed to in principle,
...more
Elaine
Feb 24, 2010 Elaine rated it it was ok



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
Ilze Folkmane
I tried to put myself in the shoes of someone who has not studied English linguistics and literature for the best part of 6 years, but I cannot for the life of me understand, if the book is at all readable then. Perhaps all the jargon is just an inconsequential background wish-wash of white noise then, but to me it all seemed so familiar and, consequently, full of all kinds of references that I was unable to focus on anything else in the book.

The many mentions of Yeats, though, brought me a very
...more
Erica Verrillo
Oct 20, 2012 Erica Verrillo rated it it was amazing
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
Ria
Jul 01, 2012 Ria rated it really liked it
I'm a prejudice reader. Nevertheless, it didn't stop me from enjoying the book.

The epigraph is disturbingly familiar: a quotation by Nathaniel Hawthorn about fulfilling the standards required by anything that calls itself a Romance. I've seen that quotation before in another book, also an "academic Romance". Working through the book, I couldn't help noticing that this is a precursor of Possession. But if in Possession, the narrative is straight forward and predictable (albeit with a lengthy dela
...more
vicky ✨
At first I was slightly confused, because there were so many names it took me a while to figure out the who is who in David Lodge's academic jet set world of the 70s. I am so glad I had to read the novel for university, otherwise I probably would have lived on without ever reading it, judging by the fact that none of my goodreads friends has it listed on their shelves (I'm looking at you). Anyways, this was a really delightful read full of intertextual references from The Canterbury Tales to the ...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
Marti
May 24, 2009 Marti rated it it was ok
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
John Pappas
Jul 24, 2013 John Pappas rated it really liked it
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
Shannon
Apr 28, 2016 Shannon rated it did not like it
Ugh I finished it and it was kind of funny in parts and had a lot of archetypal moments but it was ... so... sexist. Women only have sex in order to further a man's story, and they don't have sex because they want it but because they are turned on by a guy who is selfishly desperate for it and so they 'give in' to him [I KNOW] and then they are denigrated by the men if they do have sex or are sex workers... the whole perspective of a very sexist, 70s guy was pretty awful. ALSO, the hero was such ...more
Marcus Sundberg
It was indeed a small world, with people in literature flying around the world participating in conferences and other adventures. I liked to follow Persse McGarrigle but the other stories wasn't as much fun. Sometimes, albeit few, it made me smile a bit but otherwise I was lost in the references to historic authors, quotes etc.
Maria Mgd
Sep 28, 2014 Maria Mgd marked it as dropped  ·  review of another edition
Dropped. It wasn't the funny sequel I was expecting after reading Changing Places. I was so looking forward to reading the sequel that thatmight be the reason why I got so disappointed from the very beginning, and after the first 60 pages I just lost any interest. Maybe I will read it another time, but not for now.
Lisa
Oct 30, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it
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.
David
Jul 05, 2007 David rated it liked it
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.
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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
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More about David Lodge...

Other Books in the Series

The Campus Trilogy (3 books)
  • Changing Places
  • Nice Work

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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” 33 likes
“It's the only thing that keeps me going these days, travelling. Changes of scene, changes of faces” 12 likes
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