Lucky Him: The Life of Kingsley Amis

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9780720611175: Lucky Him: The Life of Kingsley Amis

Kingsley Amis always claimed that his fiction was not based on his life, and he worked hard and quite successfully at obscuring the autobiographical threads that run through his novels. But they exist, and Richard Bradford traces the channels between Amis's experiences, his states of mind, and his fictionalized versions of both. Bradford's biography shows that it is impossible to offer a comprehensive picture of Amis the man as husband, philanderer, friend, father, jester, son, boozer, agnostic, pseudo-socialist, and club-land Tory without also considering how each dimension of his life tested and extended his literary skills. Sometimes he remodeled the present, particularly during the 1950s when his books reflected his double life as family man and prolific libertine. He revisited the past in novels such as The Riverside Villas Murder, a detective story that tells us much about his early relationship with his father. Less frequently he took revenge, notably with his cruel parody of his second wife Elizabeth Jane Howard in Stanley and the Women. Readers of Amis's books often feel as if they have had a personal encounter with a shadowy presence behind the words, and Bradford's biography embodies this shadow.

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About the Author:

Richard Bradford is professor of English at the University of Ulster. He previously has taught in the universities of Oxford, Wales and in Trinity College, Dublin. He has written 12 books on a variety of subjects, including two critical monographs of Kingsley Amis.

From Publishers Weekly:

This illuminating biography by a professor of English at the University of Ulster plumbs the interrelationship of life and art an idea Bradford's subject, the late Kingsley Amis (1922-1995), would never have approved of. Amis once declared his novels (beginning with his most celebrated work, Lucky Jim, in 1954) "firmly unautobiographical," but Bradford demonstrates quite the opposite and does so in a way that gives the reader substantially deeper views of both the prolific author's work and the man himself. Combining close reading of the texts fiction, poetry and his substantial body of nonfiction with the already well-documented facts of Amis's life, the book reveals Amis's motivations. In particular, Bradford dissects the overarching theme in Amis's novels: the tension or conflict between what one wants to do and what one ought to do, and how that tension "energizes [one's] style." He takes pains to point out that Amis's literary value is not dependent on his works' autobiographical underpinnings; he reveals the skill and power of Amis the writer at transmuting life into art. But he also crafts an appropriately multifaceted portrait of Amis the man: a serious writer of comic fiction, an intellectual with an appetite for low culture and, of course, a prodigious womanizer ("Amis went to bed with practically anyone he found attractive and willing"). This bio is not perfect. Transitions within chapters are sometimes abrupt (or nonexistent); details get recycled in a few places; he doesn't really undertake the challenge of analyzing Amis's psychology. But the writing is consistently clear and the insights literary and biographical are formidable. It's the art that makes Amis worth reading, but Bradford's book illustrates that Amis's novels are "the most entertaining and thought-provoking autobiographies ever produced." 16 pages of b&w photos.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Richard Bradford
Editorial: Peter Owen Ltd 2001-08-16 (2001)
ISBN 10: 0720611172 ISBN 13: 9780720611175
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Descripción Peter Owen Ltd 2001-08-16, 2001. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería NU-GRD-05297547

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Richard Bradford
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Descripción Peter Owen Publishers, United Kingdom, 2001. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The works of the late Kingsley Amis will surely stand as some of the most original and brilliantly crafted contributions to post-war English fiction. Yet, in the light of his recently published Letters and Martin Amis s Experience, it would appear that our understanding of this writer needs to be entirely re-thought. Kingsley Amis frequently affirmed that his fiction was not based on his life; he even issued an elaborate note of denial in a TLS essay called Real and Made-up People ; if some parallels were obvious (Jim Dixon in Lucky Jim was, like his creator an impoverished young academic in a provincial university), they were hardly worth comment, and the one novel by that time - 1973 - that was based on real people and actual events (I Like It Here) was written out of laziness or sagging invention and was by common consent, my worst . However Professor Richard Bradford would argue in this book, the first serious study of the writer in almost a decade and the first to incorporate his Letters, that Amis s fiction stands as one of the most entertaining and thought-provoking autobiographies ever produced. He demonstates that there exists a dynamic relationship between what Kingsley Amis did, thought, experienced and what he wrote. His literary skills were tested and extended in their dealings with the confounding, puzzling panorama of his life. Richard Bradford makes clear that a trawl through reviews of both the Letters and Experience reveals a significant distortion of the facts about Amis in the interests of PC dogma; he believes that it is not possible to offer a comprehensive picture of Kingsley Amis the man, as husband, philanderer, friend, father, jester, boozer, agnostic, pseudo-socialist and club-land Tory, without considering the relationship between what we know and that private world in which what he knew was re-examined, re-modelled and written. Nº de ref. de la librería AAZ9780720611175

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Richard Bradford
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Descripción Peter Owen Publishers, United Kingdom, 2001. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The works of the late Kingsley Amis will surely stand as some of the most original and brilliantly crafted contributions to post-war English fiction. Yet, in the light of his recently published Letters and Martin Amis s Experience, it would appear that our understanding of this writer needs to be entirely re-thought. Kingsley Amis frequently affirmed that his fiction was not based on his life; he even issued an elaborate note of denial in a TLS essay called Real and Made-up People ; if some parallels were obvious (Jim Dixon in Lucky Jim was, like his creator an impoverished young academic in a provincial university), they were hardly worth comment, and the one novel by that time - 1973 - that was based on real people and actual events (I Like It Here) was written out of laziness or sagging invention and was by common consent, my worst . However Professor Richard Bradford would argue in this book, the first serious study of the writer in almost a decade and the first to incorporate his Letters, that Amis s fiction stands as one of the most entertaining and thought-provoking autobiographies ever produced. He demonstates that there exists a dynamic relationship between what Kingsley Amis did, thought, experienced and what he wrote. His literary skills were tested and extended in their dealings with the confounding, puzzling panorama of his life. Richard Bradford makes clear that a trawl through reviews of both the Letters and Experience reveals a significant distortion of the facts about Amis in the interests of PC dogma; he believes that it is not possible to offer a comprehensive picture of Kingsley Amis the man, as husband, philanderer, friend, father, jester, boozer, agnostic, pseudo-socialist and club-land Tory, without considering the relationship between what we know and that private world in which what he knew was re-examined, re-modelled and written. Nº de ref. de la librería AAZ9780720611175

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Descripción Peter Owen Ltd, 2001. Estado de conservación: New. Num Pages: 240 pages, illustrations. BIC Classification: 2AB; BG; DSBH; DSK. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 166 x 227 x 40. Weight in Grams: 672. . 2001. First Edition. Hardcover. . . . . . Nº de ref. de la librería V9780720611175

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Descripción Peter Owen Ltd. Estado de conservación: New. Num Pages: 240 pages, illustrations. BIC Classification: 2AB; BG; DSBH; DSK. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 166 x 227 x 40. Weight in Grams: 672. . 2001. First Edition. Hardcover. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Nº de ref. de la librería V9780720611175

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Descripción Peter Owen Publishers, 2001. HRD. Estado de conservación: New. New Book. Shipped from UK in 4 to 14 days. Established seller since 2000. Nº de ref. de la librería GB-9780720611175

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Descripción Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Not Signed; The works of the late Kingsley Amis will surely stand as some of the most original and brilliantly crafted contributions to post-war English fiction. Yet, in the light of his recently published Letters and Martin Amis's Experience, it would appear that our understanding of this writer needs to be en. book. Nº de ref. de la librería ria9780720611175_rkm

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