David Lodge was born on 28 January 1935 in Brockley in southeast London and moved to the United States in 1964. He took a Bachelor Degree in Arts from the University of London and served in Royal Armoured Corps as a military man for two years then returned to London University and obtained an MA degree in 1959. As a teacher, Lodge worked as an English teacher for the British Council, and then joined to the University of Birmingham as a lecturer. In 1969, he became an Associate Professor at the University of California. As Oxford Movement was an interesting field of his early research, prepared PhD thesis on the Oxford Movement. A very extraordinary moment came for him when he was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) by French Ministry of Culture in 1998 and he was also appointed CBE, a British order of chivalry. His some of novels are best described for satirising academic life. Lodge’s first published novel The Picturegoers is based on the theme of Roman Catholicism values. His “Campus Trilogy” – Changing Places: A Tale of Two Campuses, Small World: An Academic Romance and Nice Work come on this line. The novels Small World and Nice Work were shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
Lodge’s early life went through Catholic surroundings that has much influenced his writing career. His characters are the product of that very atmosphere; many of his characters are Catholics, practice of Catholic norms and values and their relationship with sexuality is the major theme of his early novels. For this point of view, How Far Can You Go? published as Souls and Bodies in 1980 studies the troubles faced by orthodox Catholics. Some other novels by him like Small World, Paradise News and Therapy, Catholicism plays a very important role in them. Many of Lodge’s novels are a satirical depiction of academic life, the novels of “Campus Trilogy” set at a fictional university in the English Midlands Birmingham. The characters for these novels are portrayed or taken from the college premises. Most probably, the inspiration for this innovative premise of writing came from his own experience at Berkeley. The theme, the characters and the setting of place are the shadows of author’s own career as teacher and professor.
David Lodge’s inherited artistic spirit from his father, and his career as English Teacher has helped him a lot in making his works successful. Like many modernists, he also experimented with his writings and fetched something new to the world of English novels. Some of the typical diseases of the time have been used as the theme in his few novels. Thus, he has dared to reflect the world after the World War-II. Apart from his novel writings, he applied his luck in the writing of television screenplays, stage plays and published literary criticism. He was fortunate enough to have success wherever he paved the ways.
article compiled and written by Ravi Kumar