The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

January 28, 2016

January 28, 1935

David Lodge (January 28, 1935) is a British novelist and critic; his  many books include Small World (1984) and Nice Work, (1988) which were both shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction.

He also has written literary criticism and we mention a couple of examples of his work in this genre, quoting from Language of fiction: essays in criticism and verbal analysis of the English novel (1966).

In this book he says, "...In terms of literary meaning and effect, chat is closer to cat than feline quadruped..."

Later Lodge uses Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles to illustrate how the author portrays a character who is close to nature.  Tess betrays an 
"unreflecting instinct of a wild animal." ... For example, "She is as unresponsive to sarcasm as a dog or a cat...."

David Lodge recently published an autobiography Quite A Good Time to be Born: A Memoir: 1935-1975 (2015).  There we learn, (okay, in a review of this book):

Lodge was born into a lower middle class London family in 1935, and was raised during the years of war and postwar austerity by a musician father and a Catholic mother. He proved sufficiently bright and sufficiently fortunate to take advantage of the educational opportunities offered in Butler-era Britain, and ended up studying at University College London, which led (after a period of national service in the army) to a job as an English lecturer at the University of Birmingham. He subsequently maintained a twin-track career as literary academic and author of prose fiction and remains best known for the latter today.
Lodge's Catholic faith is a major theme in his life; his dissertation had been on the Oxford Movement.  We quote his stance as he looks back over his life.

Famously, Lodge told The Tablet in 2004 that he was now an “agnostic Catholic”. But in making that assertion, which appeared off-the-cuff, he was actually recycling an earlier phrase that was given to the very same publication by Graham Greene in 1989. In his recent study Lives in Writing (2014), Lodge discusses Greene’s earlier statement and reflects that Greene ultimately “drew a distinction between ‘belief’ which he had lost, and ‘faith’ which he retained, though the latter always seemed to me more like a wistful kind of hope that the whole Christian myth might improbably turn out to be true”. ....
James Joyce, .... emerges as Lodge’s hero. Lodge first read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man as a teenager, feeling an immediate affinity with its depictions of Catholicism, as well as “the first stirrings of a desire to attempt creative writing myself”. After that, he purchased an expensive copy of Ulysses, again finding “my Catholic background immensely helpful” and believing that “From that time on he [Joyce] was my literary hero” and “the writer I revered above all others”. He even observes that “From my first reading of Ulysses I also learned a lot of interesting and surprising things about sex.” There are, of course, many writers who hold Joyce in similarly high regard but there are surely far fewer who would follow Lodge in spending the first post-marital holiday in “visiting sites immortalised in A Portrait of the Artist and Ulysses”. Indeed, during that honeymoon, Lodge and his new wife even took what he describes as “an extraordinary ride over the hill of Howth (where the young Molly Bloom said ‘yes I will Yes’ to Leopold)”.

There is evidence that the Lodges have a cat they call "Elizabeth the Cat."

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