"Art must entertain, or give delight"
Born in South London in 1935, Professor David Lodge is a graduate of University College London and 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 lives in Birmingham.
His novels include The Picturegoers, The British Museum is falling down, How far can you go? Paradise News, Therapy. Lodge is the master of the academic romance, going back to Changing Places (1975), his first book in a trilogy of campus novels, followed by Small World (1984) and Nice Work (1988) that completes the story.
David Lodge is the author of numerous works of literary criticism, mainly about the English and American novel, and literary theory. His most recent book, Consciousness and the Novel (2002), explores the representation of human consciousness in fiction, and includes essays on Charles Dickens, Henry James and John Updike.
He is a successful playwright and screenwriter, and has adapted both his own work and other writers' novels for television. His work has appeared in some two dozen languages.
Thinks… is an amazing and interesting book. It is a comedy of manners set in a provincial (imaginary) University of Gloucester. Its core is a romantic duet between Ralph Messenger and Helen Reed. Ralph Messenger, a scientist, is the director of a laboratory on cognitive science. Helen Reed is a recently widowed novelist who arrives on the campus to teach creative writing.
Ralph is doing an experiment in stream of consciousness journal entries - simply saying aloud into his recorder what his thoughts are, and Helen is keeping a detailed journal to keep her writing skills active between novels. If you expect that Ralph and Helen will soon get together, you are right. Their relationship is set within a web of complex professional and family connections, most of which focus on variations of adultery.
What is most remarkable about Lodge, is that he manages to be so funny while talking about serious ideas seriously. As in much of his work, the comic plot is used to explore philosophical questions, in this case about the nature of consciousness and the problem of knowing others' minds. Nobody can really know another's thoughts. From this passage we learn the origin of the book's title:
'Imagine what the Richmond's dinner party would have been like, if everyone had had those bubbles over their heads that you get in kids' comics, with "Thinks . . ." inside them.'
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Zdroje: Lodge, Lodge, Lodge, Lodge, Morace, R.A., The Dialogic Novels of Malcolm Bradbury and David Lodge, Southern Illinois University Press