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Changing Places

por David Lodge

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

Séries: Rummidge (1)

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1,779317,072 (3.73)1 / 38
When Philip Swallow and Professor Morris Zapp participate in their universities' Anglo-American exchange scheme, the Fates play a hand, and each academic finds himself enmeshed in the life of his counterpart on the opposite side of the Atlantic. Nobody is immune to the exchange- students, colleagues, even wives are swapped as events spiral out of control. And soon both sundrenched Euphoric State university and rain-kissed university of Rummidge are a hotbed of intrigue, lawlessness and broken vows...… (mais)
Adicionado recentemente porbiblioteca privada, faasouza, lafkat17, rolfmblindgren, danielx, YoavCohen, Cychrus, katyamaes, imagists
Bibliotecas LegadasGraham Greene
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Inglês (23)  Francês (3)  Catalão (1)  Holandês (1)  Italiano (1)  Espanhol (1)  Hebraico (1)  Todas as línguas (31)
Mostrando 1-5 de 31 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Is humour a fragile or robust artform? A discussion took place here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/91238230 and one could not hope for a more apt example of the issues involved than this book. Paul kicked it off with the comment that ‘Comedy may be one of the frailer arts because it depends so much on the immediate cultural situation’.

Some of the best comedy does indeed depend on the immediate situation around it and its life span is sadly short as a consequence. Culturally referenced comedy less so than political, which is breathtaking in its immediacy - here today, gone tomorrow - but still; fashion-dependent culture of the moment, certainly will suffer the same fate.

Here we have a book, a comedy, firmly locked into its period of approximately 1970. The humour resulting from that is the shakiest part of the book. Incipient women’s lib, ban the bomb hippies, the emergent sexual ‘revolution’ – I’m guessing if you didn’t live through it, or were close enough for it to be in the ethos still - this would not be particularly amusing.

At the same time, we have the central theme of the book which is academia, how it functions and behaves and this is really awfully funny. And so far it remains timeless. Yes, I do want to say that. Right now I’d say it is timeless, but surely, I mean, really, surely, it can’t remain so. Because the implication that nothing has changed over the last forty years in terms of the inadequacies of academia, on which the humour is based, is well, a bit shocking, really. These days I’d say we would be pretty embarrassed by the very term women’s lib, we wish our parents hadn’t been hippies, marijuana is not exactly flavour of the month and if we talk about uni students having sex, we would not dare say ‘with the opposite sex’. It goes without saying that a uni student might have sex with more or less anything. Animal, vegetable, mineral, I imagine. The presumptuousness of ‘the opposite sex’ would be humourlessly politically incorrect.

And yet, when Lodge speaks of academia, it is a frozen world in which nothing has changed. Indeed, even though it is set in that period where something that might have seemed momentous was happening – students insisting on being part of the system, not merely the object of it – it still has not aged one bit. I wonder if the students realise how becoming part of the system has not changed it in the least.

So, much as I spent this book giggling and chuckling and snorting with laughter, at the same time it niggled me to think that the things he sends up, so obviously in need of reform, have not changed one tiny bit. I’m astonished by academia’s capacity to protect itself from outside interference and judgement. Astonished that it doesn’t see, as the self-regulatory community it evidently is, that things should change. Or, perhaps, sees but does nothing, is more like it.

Well, maybe one thing has changed in that world. Part of the outmoded humour is based on sex, and the involvements real and hoped-for and fantasised about by academics lusting after students. However much this is still in their hearts, maybe it is not, these days, talked about so often, or proferred as a source of humour. Yes?? I’m only guessing, but the ugly threat of sexual harrassment, although more offputting, I expect, to the school teacher, must also be an issue for the academic.

In Australia one has only to think of the money reaped by Helen Garner for The First Stone:


The First Stone is at once an account of one of Australia's most explosive sexual harassment cases and an investigation into the soul of sexual politics. To provide the framework for her inquiry, Helen Garner takes the very public case of a University of Melbourne college master accused of sexual harassment by two of his students. After reading about the charge in the newspaper, Garner, a longtime feminist, impulsively wrote a letter of support to the accused man. The letter was made public and in the wake of much criticism over her support of the man, Garner set out to explore the women's claims. Along the way she uncovers issues that challenge her notions of feminism, political activism, gender relations, and power dynamics. With a journalist's eye for detail, Garner leads the reader into a riveting examination of the nature of sex and power in contemporary society. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/634139.The_First_Stone


I really do like a no-holds-barred approach to humour and yet there are things that somehow seem to be humorous in one period and repugnant in another. I go to a lot of old musicals, 1940s and 1950s. A routine part of the humour is violence against women – jokes about it, not the act itself. I can only suppose that what made it funny once was that we didn’t believe in it, whereas now that we know it really exists, it is not possible to find it funny. I’m not quite suggesting this pertains to Lodge, but I do wonder if what further decades will do to the legitimacy of his humour here and there.

Well, one thing we do know. His wonderful observations about the academic world will not have changed in their impact, whatever else might, and since it is the important part of his work, surely it will continue to be timeless.

It makes me think of the Rumpole books. My gut feeling is that they will never date and when one asks why that is, the answer is just the same. The legal system is even more able to protect itself from change than academia. It doesn’t change and therefore the humour does not lose its punch. Think of the cutting observations of the processes of the law Dickens makes in Bleak House and how completely pertinent they seem today. We find them amusing because everything is still as it always was. Thus with the law, and thus, it would so appear, with academia. I wonder what the historical antecedent to Lodge’s books are?

Or – and this just comes to me – maybe academia did change and Lodge documented it. Maybe in some dim dark past, it was a community of idealistic scholars on a search for the truth. Is that possible? Oh…stop laughing, would you?
( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
Deux vies parallèles et un échange de bons procédés. Le contraste entre la sage Angleterre et la rebelle Amérique amuse. L'humour gentiment provocateur permet plus d'un sourire. Et l'approche méta du livre, variant les styles - romanesque, correspondance, coupures de presse, synopsis - s'avère d'une grande originalité. Malgré son ancrage dans les années 70, révoltes estudiantines et émancipation féminine demeurent d'actualité. Un moment de lecture croustillant et délicieux. ( )
  PaFink | Jan 8, 2020 |
A clever yarn that made me laugh out loud quite a few times. Good fun and recommended. Will on the lookout for more by David Lodge. ( )
  Novak | Dec 5, 2019 |
[b:Changing Places|69933|Changing Places|David Lodge|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1390253085s/69933.jpg|1055072] by [a:David Lodge|6570|David Lodge|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1289704088p2/6570.jpg] is a funny and at times a cleverly written academic fiction.

I have a rather high threshold for comedy and this book made me laugh out loud numerous times. The humor is dry, clever, sometimes subtle, and sometimes self-deprecating.

Some of the later chapters, Lodge wrote in different styles. There is a epistolic chapter, one made of newspaper clippings, and the last chapter is written as a one act play. For me, the newspaper clippings were annoying, but the other styles worked well.

Maybe because of the last chapter, the whole story put me in mind of a Neil Simon-like play.

Very much recommended. I will definitely be reading [b:Small World|69930|Small World|David Lodge|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1372769311s/69930.jpg|3359979], the next in the series soon. ( )
  JWhitsitt | Aug 25, 2019 |
Changing Places chronicles the adventures of two professors who switch universities for a short period of time and find their lives swapped dramatically in this hilariously witty tale. Most entertaining parts of the book come from the author's way of putting his characters in situations that demand each of them to change the way they have been conditioned to think and act in their native countries.

The genius of David Lodge can be discovered in the way Changing Places blends wit with social observations. The narrative gets playful with letters, newspaper snippets and even movie script form. And surprisingly all these changes in style work in favor of the story.

This is one brilliant book... ( )
  hummingquill | Jul 24, 2019 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 31 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Not since Lucky Jim has such a funny book about academic life come my way.
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David Lodgeautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculated
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When Philip Swallow and Professor Morris Zapp participate in their universities' Anglo-American exchange scheme, the Fates play a hand, and each academic finds himself enmeshed in the life of his counterpart on the opposite side of the Atlantic. Nobody is immune to the exchange- students, colleagues, even wives are swapped as events spiral out of control. And soon both sundrenched Euphoric State university and rain-kissed university of Rummidge are a hotbed of intrigue, lawlessness and broken vows...

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