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Changing Places: A Tale of Two Campuses

(The Campus Trilogy #1)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  6,769 ratings  ·  400 reviews
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.
Paperback, 251 pages
Published 1978 by Penguin (first published 1975)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  6,769 ratings  ·  400 reviews

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Bionic Jean
Changing Places is the first of David Lodge's "Campus" series, this one being set in 1969 and published in 1975. The sexual revolution, Vietnam, student sit-ins and smoking "pot" are all highly topical themes; the novel is pure "psychedelic '60's." The style is redolent of Lodge's dry, sardonic humour, so it is very entertaining to read. The setting he has created affords plenty of his waspish observations, so perhaps this is why he is doffing his cap to the Inimitable with his subtitle, "A Tale ...more
Feb 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Howard by: Esil
Satire – the use of wit, especially irony, sarcasm, and ridicule, to criticize faults
Farce – a ridiculous situation in which everything goes wrong or becomes a sham

Earlier I reviewed Dear Committee Members, a delightfully humorous epistolary novel about a disgruntled professor of creative writing and literature at a small midwestern college in the U.S. During the course of a discussion of the book, a GR friend, Esil, mentioned that British writer David Lodge had also written several humorous
Jun 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To everyone who was telling me I should read this: you were right, you were right, you were so so right. One of my favorite books is Kingsley Amis' Lucky Jim, so of course I would love Lodge's academic comedy—especially since it comes with the bonus of being set in Birmingham and Berkeley. They're not called Birmingham and Berkeley, of course, but if you have any familiarity with either locale, it becomes even more amusing to "decode" the various place names (i.e., Silver Span, Cable Avenue, ...more
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I kept hearing that David Lodge is the funniest author around, that you have to read it, what, you haven't read David Lodge yet, no way, so I decided to finally make acquintances with Lodge through one of his novels and being a trilogy, i took this one to start with. The story is alert, dynamic and there was no wasted phrase. The story is good, well written. I liked the different types of writing - letters / newspaper cuts / a lot of dialogue / no dialogue / filmscript.


Mar 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like to laugh; People who were college students in 1969; College professors from any era
It's 1969 and British English Professor Philip Swallow and American English Professor Morris Zap are trading places. It's long been a tradition between their two universities to exchange a professor for 6 months.

Both of them leave their wives and children behind. Both of them have eye-opening experiences in their new surroundings.

Philip is a quiet, proper, faithful man. He's never cheated on his wife of 16 years and he has three kids. However, he must admit it IS nice to get away from family
Is humour a fragile or robust artform? A discussion took place here: and one could not hope for a more apt example of the issues involved than this book. Paul kicked it off with the comment that ‘Comedy may be one of the frailer arts because it depends so much on the immediate cultural situation’.

Some of the best comedy does indeed depend on the immediate situation around it and its life span is sadly short as a consequence. Culturally referenced comedy
Nov 29, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 16, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british, literature, humor
Lodge's Changing Places is the first novel in his Campus Trilogy. It follows a very simple story (or perhaps formula or script are more appropriate terms): two professors, one from the United States and the other from England, exchange positions and fill their counterpart's teaching position for six months. They also end up sleeping with each other's wives.

Contrary to expectations, the story was not particularly funny or revealing. It felt rather uneven—undeveloped in some places and
K.D. Absolutely
Mar 23, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 501 Must Read Books
Shelves: 501
Taken as a whole, the writing and the concept were both novel. The simultaneous and similar incidents that happened to Philip and Morris were funny and the way David narrated them are simply entertaining. The drama script format in the final chapter would really gave an idea to those who read and liked this that this is cut for a movie or a sitcom (which I read in Wikipedia to really have happened in the 70s). Although it is now dated (there was no computer yet and there was a mention of ...more
Nov 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, fiction
Incredibly amusing, alert, witty but unpretentious at the same time, though, being part of a campus novel trilogy, someone might expect a lot of academia breathing through its pages. The plot is quite obvious, due to the title, Philip (British) and Morris (American) are supposed to exchange places as English Literature professors for 6 months. But since life always takes us by surprise, they change not only positions and it's a good opportunity for Lodge to use his own experience in order to ...more
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Still funny.
Fun - but for once, the sequel ( Small World) is much better!
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hilarious, but not too exaggerated. (Sad?) Infamous faculty meeting, nonsensical stuff, even Swallow's first taste of the expensive American medical system. These haven't been changed.

On a side note, I was a bit nostalgic knowing that academics in the US were once wealthy, at least in the 60s. Especially in humanities. Apparently the American middle class has been shrinking in the past few decades. All the while, British academics' salaries have been improved and the publish-or-perish pressure
Rose A
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you like laughing at academia, differences between US and UK universities, laughing at annoying things happening to pretentious people, satire of modern life and politics, laughing at Jane Austen conspiracy theories... then you will like this book. As I like all of these things, I thought it was hilarious!
Inexcusable characters, ignoble morality, inflammatory situations, inalienable hilarity (sorry K)
Mar 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Avid by: Vikram Nagulan
One fine day, when I was done with all the books borrowed from the library and didn’t have anything tempting to read from my own collection, my friend lent me this book A David Lodge Trilogy. I had never heard of the author before, but was sure it will not disappoint me since I and my lending friend share similar tastes for books. The trilogy contains three books: Changing Places, Small World and Nice Work.

David Lodge is a British author and has more than 20 books to his credit. His latest book,
Ian Laird
A satisfying satire of academic cross fertilisation at a time of great social change.

Changing Places is an effective satire because the events and characters are not too far removed from reality. The exaggerations are not totally ridiculous or inconceivable. Take for example the character of Professor Gordon Masters, a Department Head at Rummidge College, who did something during the war, goes hunting and is a crack shot, is almost incomprehensible when speaking and ultimately ends up pursuing
Glen Engel-Cox
Dec 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour, amazon
I read this on the train to New Jersey and back in January, and I'm sure my fellow passengers were looking at me strangely, because I was snorting and saying, "ha!" outloud. Maybe it's just being around academics again, but I found this novel extremely funny, and I probably will search out more Lodge based on it.

The idea is simple: two professors, one at a small college in England, the other at a huge conglomerate in California, switch places for an academic year. The English professor, who is
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-12
"There was one respect alone in which Philip was recognized as a man of distinction, though only within the confines of his own Department. He was a superlative examiner of undergraduates: scrupulous, painstaking, stern yet just. No one could award a delicate mark like B+/B+?+ with such confident aim, or justify it with such cogency and conviction. In the Department meetings that discussed draft question papers he was much feared by his colleagues because of his keen eye for the ambiguous ...more
May 27, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For anyone who has been involved with higher academia, David Lodge is your P.G. Wodehouse. The books are filled alternately with a love for literature and a shock/disgust/bemusement at what intelligent people do with it. In Lodge's books, the academic is often a passive or Dionysian sex-starved maniac let loose on a world that couldn't care less about his intellect. The first of the trilogy, "Changing Places," is like opening a time capsule: set in 1969, when a character quizzically asks what ...more
Erica Verrillo
Oct 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Donald Lodge's hilarious farce about academia in the late '60s may be somewhat dated (I doubt any younger readers will know what 'grock' means), but it still got quite a few laughs out of me. Lodge's humor is dry, clever, ironic--in short, quintessentially British.

The story takes place on two campuses, Rummidge (Birmingham), and Euphoric State (Berkeley). (The thinly veiled references, as well as Lodge's protestations to the contrary, simply add to the fun.) Morris Zapp, a hairy, husky,
Mar 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lively predecessor to Small World, Changing Places is a story about two English professors doing an international University exchange which is a quarter over before they even get off the planes in their opposite number's country. This book isn't entirely good - the racial and sexual undertones of a paragraph set in a felon holding tank is particularly retrograde - but it is mostly entertaining and amusing. The men aren't entirely clean and the women are allowed independence and intelligence ...more
Jaq Greenspon
Aug 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two professors, alike in propensity...

David Lodge's book of two university professors on a job exchange in 1969 is a fun read, reminding me of the works of Thorne Smith in its light-hearted dealings of sometimes serious matters. The book is a snapshot of the end of the 60s told from the safe distance of 1975 (the book's publication date) and shows the differences and, more importantly, the similarities between a Berkeley-like Euphoria (located in a fictive middle state between north and south
Justin Evans
Dec 28, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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! ...more
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really great read. David Lodge expertly satirizes academic life and sexual politics while weaving a complicated and intricate web around the lives of the two protagonists and their families. There were plenty of laugh of loud moments while remaining a really intelligent commentary on education, relationships and freedom. Lodge never seems to take himself or his topic too seriously but yet he has a lot to say that's well worth hearing. Will definitely be reading more of his work.
Rob Tapper
Dec 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Was published in 1975 which may explain my enthusiasm for the setting and the times. Carried well my nostalgia for the times and provided an uncanny assessment of where those then new trends were going.
A rollicking good read and a lot of hypocrisy in those times aptly dispelled.
Humor, depth, accuracy, and very well strung together for easy reading.
The ending a self fulfilling prophecy of an author at wits' end.

May 27, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, guardian-1000
I liked the satire of 1969 academia, especially the thinly-veiled Berkeley and San Francisco. The humor revolving around the two professors' sex lives I found less interesting - I wanted more about the academic side. For example, more about Zapp learning how to run tutorials or even one scene from Swallow's "How to Write a Novel" class would have been appreciated.
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uni, 1950-1990
a neat, tongue-in-cheek novel about academic life, the clash of cultures and the ridiculous chaos that naturally ensues. it's funny at times but never reaches the cathartic heights of storytelling I read and live for.
Bill Kupersmith
Dec 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Still one of the funniest academic satires ever.
Nov 30, 2016 rated it liked it
One has to admire, perhaps, the novel - or any text in general - that clearly delineates the game it's playing at in the early stages. David Lodge's Changing Places is a comic campus novel about two academics engaged in an exchange scheme for half a year - one hails from the West Coast of the U.S., and the other from an grim, industrial British city. That game the novel plays at is the extreme exacerbation of what Russell Hoban once called "the 2ness of it all". Let's turn to page two (and enjoy ...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

Other books in the series

The Campus Trilogy (3 books)
  • Small World
  • Nice Work
“wandering between two worlds, one lost, the other powerless to be born.” 7 likes
“I mean, mentally you brace yourself for the ending of a novel. As you're reading, you're aware of the fact that there's only a page or two left in the book, and you get ready to close it. but with a film there's no way of telling, especially nowadays, when films are much more loosely structured, much more ambivalent, than they used to be. There's no way of telling which frame is going to be the last. The film is going along, just as life goes along, people are behaving, doing things, drinking, talking, and we're watching them, and at any point the director chooses, without warning, without anything being resolved, or explained, or wound up, it can just...end.” 5 likes
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