Lucky Jim

By Kingsley Amis; Keith Gessen (Introduction by)
(New York Review of Books, Paperback, 9781590175750, 264pp.)

Publication Date: October 2, 2012

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Description

Regarded by many as the finest, and funniest, comic novel of the twentieth century, Lucky Jim remains as trenchant, withering, and eloquently misanthropic as when it first scandalized readers in 1954. This is the story of Jim Dixon, a hapless lecturer in medieval history at a provincial university who knows better than most that “there was no end to the ways in which nice things are nicer than nasty ones.” Kingsley Amis’s scabrous debut leads the reader through a gallery of emphatically English bores, cranks, frauds, and neurotics with whom Dixon must contend in one way or another in order to hold on to his cushy academic perch and win the girl of his fancy.

More than just a merciless satire of cloistered college life and stuffy postwar manners, Lucky Jim is an attack on the forces of boredom, whatever form they may take, and a work of art that at once distills and extends an entire tradition of English comic writing, from Fielding and Dickens through Wodehouse and Waugh. As Christopher Hitchens has written, “If you can picture Bertie or Jeeves being capable of actual malice, and simultaneously imagine Evelyn Waugh forgetting about original sin, you have the combination of innocence and experience that makes this short romp so imperishable.”




About the Author
Hailed as one of the great prose stylists to appear in England since the Second World War, Kingsley Amis is the author of more than 20 novels, including "Lucky Jim "and the Booker-prize winning" The Old Devils". Also recognized as a distinguished poet and literary critic, he died in 1995.

Keith Gessen is a founding editor of "n+1" and the author of "All the Sad Young Literary Men", as well as the editor of "Diary of a Very Bad Year: Confessions of an Anonymous Hedge Fund Manager" and Kirill Medvedev's "It's No Good: Poems, Essays, Manifestoes".
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