Lucky Jim

By: Amis, Kingsley

Price: $3.50

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Wrappers lightly toned, minor marginalia. 1963 Trade Paperback. We have more books available by this author!. 256 pages. Lucky Jim is a comic novel written by Kingsley Amis, first published in 1954. It was his first novel, and won the Somerset Maugham Award for fiction. Set sometime around 1950, Lucky Jim follows the exploits of the titular protagonist James Dixon, a reluctant history lecturer at a provincial English university (inspired in part by the University of Leicester). The novel exemplifies the use of a precise but plain-spoken narrative voice. Jim Dixon is not particularly dedicated to his job as a medieval history lecturer at a provincial university. Having made a particularly bad first impression in the history department, he is concerned about being fired at the end of his first term, and seeks to hold his position by maintaining good relations with his superior, the tedious Professor Welch - an often absent-minded and unbearably pompous dilettante. He also attempts to get his article on the economic ramifications of medieval shipbuilding methods (written solely as a means of enhancing his standing in the department) published in a journal, without success. Dixon is largely without the tact and prudence expected in provincial bourgeois society - character traits displayed by his difficulty in accepting the pretension of Welch and others. Dixon's utter contempt for just about everyone around him, including his on-again off-again girlfriend Margaret (a fellow, but senior, lecturer), is presented as nearly unbearable; Welch's arty endeavors present several opportunities for Dixon to advance his standing amongst his colleagues and superiors, however these go terribly astray. Along the way Dixon meets Christine, a young Londoner who is dating Professor Welch's son Bertrand - an amateur painter whose pomposity particularly infuriates Dixon - and comes to find out she too has just as little patience for the world of artists and connoisseurs. After initially not hitting it off particularly well, the two pursue a short-lived affair, which becomes an undercurrent for Dixon's further contempt toward Bertrand. Bertrand is a social climber - he is using his connection with Christine to reach her wealthy and well-connected Scottish uncle, who is reportedly seeking an assistant in London. Dixon is also embroiled in a reluctant relationship with the rather unattractive Margaret Peel, a fellow lecturer at the university. At the beginning of the novel, Margaret is recovering from a botched suicide attempt - she apparently swallowed a potentially lethal dose of sleeping pills. Via a mixture of emotional blackmail and appeal to Dixon's sense of duty and pity, she manages to trap Dixon in a relationship he would rather not be in. The novel reaches its climax in Dixon's lecture on Merrie England, which goes horribly wrong as Dixon, attempting to calm his nerves with a little too much alcohol, uncontrollably begins to mock Welch and everything else that he hates; he finally goes into convulsions and passes out. Welch, of course, fires Dixon. However, Christine's uncle, who reveals a tacit respect for Dixon's individuality and attitude towards pretension, offers Dixon the coveted assistant job in London that pays much better than his lecturing position. Jim finally has the last laugh as Christine, having found out Bertrand was also pursuing an affair with the wife of one of Jim's former colleagues, decides to resume her relationship with Dixon. The end of the book has Dixon and Christine bumping into the Welches on the street; Jim can't help walking right up to them, with Christine on his arm, and exploding in laughter at how ridiculous they truly are.

Title: Lucky Jim

Author: Amis, Kingsley

Categories: British & Irish, Contemporary,

Publisher: Compass Books / Viking Press: 1963

Binding: Trade Paperback

Book Condition: Good

Seller ID: 1838261