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Lives in Writing

by David Lodge

Biography / Autobiography eBooks of the Month

Lives in Writing Synopsis

This is a collection of essays on writers and writing by the Booker-shortlisted novelist and critic. Writing about real lives takes various forms, which overlap and may be combined with each other: biography, autobiography, biographical criticism, biographical fiction, memoir, confession, diary. In these thoughtful and enlightening essays David Lodge considers some particularly interesting examples of life-writing, and contributes several of his own. The subjects include celebrated modern British writers such as Graham Greene, Kingsley Amis, Muriel Spark and Alan Bennett, and two major figures from the past, Anthony Trollope and H.G.Wells. Lodge examines connections between the style and the man in the diaries of the playwright Simon Gray and the cultural criticism of Terry Eagleton, and recalls how his own literary career was entwined with that of his friend Malcolm Bradbury. All except one of the subjects (Princess Diana) are or were themselves professionally in writing , making this collection a kind of casebook of the splendours and miseries of authorship. In a final essay Lodge describes the genesis and compositional method of his recent novel about H.G.Wells, A Man of Parts, and engages with the critical controversies that have been provoked by the increasing popularity of narrative and dramatic writing that combines fact and fiction. Drawing on David Lodge's long experience as a novelist and critic, Lives in Writing is a fascinating study of the interface between life and literature.

The Good Book Guide Review

Novelist, academic and literary critic David Lodge explores the concept of literary biography in a series of illuminating essays. From Zachary Leader’s weighty 2006 biography of Kingsley Amis and the diaries of Simon Gray, to Alan Bennett’s autobiographical essays, and the author’s own spontaneous musings on the death of Princess Diana, Lodge examines motivation, scholarship, style and cultural implications. By turns thoughtful and humorous, erudite and affecting, Lodge celebrates the art of writing about others’ lives with warmth, wit, and humanity.

Lives in Writing Press Reviews

'Lodge is a clear, sceptical writer, wise about things and a careful reader and in general kind even to people who plainly irritate him' -- Sam Leith, Spectator


'Lodge's animating spark is his sedulousness, his ability to marshal the facts, pronounce a judgement and then subtly qualify it' -- DJ Taylor, Independent on Sunday


'Lodge, too original a writer to set down a conventional autobiography, re-veals himself in fragments, an anecdote here, a recollection there. The collection, then, is a kind of trick: portraits of others disguising a book about himself... This is a hybrid work, well-suited to its hybrid author - rooted in fact but entranced by fiction' -- Sophie Elmhirst, Financial Times


'The shrewd, amused intellect that Lodge brings to bear makes this collection a consistent pleasure... Wise and genial' -- Tim Martin, The Times


Generous but discriminating, lucid without sacrificing complexity -- Theo Tait Sunday Times

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780099587767
Publication date: 08/01/2015
Publisher: Vintage
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780099587767
Publication date: 8th January 2015
Author: David Lodge
Publisher: Vintage
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 272 pages
Genres: Biography / Autobiography, eBook Favourites,
Categories: Diaries, letters & journals,

About David Lodge

David Lodge was born in London in 1935. He was educated at University College London, where he took his BA degree in 1955 and his MA in 1959. In between he did National Service in the British Army. He holds a doctorate from the University of Birmingham, where he taught in the English Department from 1960 until 1987, when he retired to become a full-time writer. He retains the title of Honorary Professor of Modern English Literature at Birmingham and continues to live in that city. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.Photograph © Arturo Patten

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