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Lucky Jim
by Kingsley Amis

Humor Editor's Recommended Book Although Kingsley Amis's acid satire of postwar British academic life has lost some of its bite in the four decades since it was published, it's still a rewarding read. And had back then--Lucky Jim could be considered the first shot in the Oxbridge salvo that brought us Beyond the Fringe, That Was the Week That Was, and so much more. In Lucky Jim, Amis introduces us to Jim Dixon, a junior lecturer at a British college who spends his days fending off the legions of malevolent twits that populate the school. His job is in constant danger, often for good reason. Lucky Jim hits the heights whenever Dixon tries to keep a preposterous situation from spinning out of control, which is every three pages or so. The final example of this--a lecture spewed by a hideously pickled Dixon--is a chapter's worth of comic nirvana. The book is not politically correct (Amis wasn't either), but take it for what it is, and you won't be disappointed.
Topic: 
     LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (1 of 31), Read 63 times 
 Conf: 
     CONSTANT READER 
 From: 
     Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) 
 Date: 
     Wednesday, June 16, 1999 08:12 AM 


Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis

I love this book. It is funny, articulate, human and even though it was written
almost fifty years ago, contemporary and timeless. I can well understand why one
of the CRs that nominated has read it seven or eight times. 

I was going to quote some of my favorite phrases, but as it turns out, Iím up
north without the book. I was only going to stay the weekend, but there were
matters I had to take care of, so here I am. And Iím having another problem. I
finished it a couple of weeks ago, and the names of the characters are eluding
me. 

Those faces the protagonist pulled. Even though Amis described them in intricate
detail, I had a hilarious time imagining them. Could a real human face do what
was described? (I mean, I just canít fathom Jim Carrey in the role, but he could
make the faces). And I like that each face had a name. And the awful clothes that
Margaret wore. Poor woman (yeah, right). What did you all think of Margaret?
Have any of you known people that manipulative? I have, so the character
seemed believable to me. How about Bertrand? He was so deliciously awful. 

Have any of you ever been taught a course by someone who obviously hated the
subject as much as the protagonist (you can see heís one of the names Iím not
sure on--Dixon?) 

Sherry who will discuss this in detail more when I get home to remind myself of
which details

 
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (2 of 31), Read 56 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: David Moody (davidmoody@prodigy.net) Date: Wednesday, June 16, 1999 09:38 AM Sherry: Jim Dixon was the name--or, as Margaret insisted on calling him, James. Of course, a lot of people had trouble keeping him straight: Professor Welch kept confusing him with the departed Faulkner, and he seemed to take mail addressed to "Dickerson" or "Dickson" as a matter of course. His facial expressions and fantasies recalled Ally McBeal to my mind, though he's an entirely different kind of person. The scene that will always stick in my mind is the bus ride to the train station. It seems like one of those awful dreams where everything happens in slow motion, but anyone who has frantically worried about making a connection will know exactly how Jim felt. And I will never think of "green paisley frock and quasi-velvet shoes" in quite the same way ever again. There's got to be a poem in that line somewhere... David
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (3 of 31), Read 58 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Katie Kleczka (knp@execpc.com) Date: Wednesday, June 16, 1999 10:36 AM Not often do I come across a book that is simply laugh out loud funny. Lucky Jim succeeded in gathering strange looks from the other passengers during my daily bus commute to work and other diners in my company's lunchroom. And I must not forget my total lack of control during the infamous "Britain Forever" (is that it? My copy is long back at the library) speech. I couldn't help but have a certain feeling of deja vu as I read this book. I knew I hadn't read it before because I haven't sought out Kingsley Amis in the past. But the more I thought about it, the more it reminded me of a movie I caught once starring Oliver Reed and Hayley Mills. It was a truly understated, masterfully hilarious look at the sexual revolution and the morality of young love vs. young lust. The tone, the characterizations, the settings seemed so much in line with Lucky Jim that I found myself visualizing the story under the influence of that British movie. Well, what do you know? The movie, entitled "Take a Girl Like That" was written by Kingsley Amis. Awesome! Anyway, I can't remember the last time I got such pure, lighthearted enjoyment out of a book. My memories from the reading of Lucky Jim take much the form of "anecdotes" such that I want to say: "Do you remember when Jim...." or "wasn't Margaret hilarious that time when the furniture...." and so on. I simply loved this book. I'm sure that there is much more to talk about in terms of Amis' jabs at academia and relationships, but I have yet to get beyond the comedy itself. Soon, soon. :) Katie "Everything in moderation, EXCEPT for reading."
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (4 of 31), Read 58 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Diane Freeman (dfreeman@jeffco.k12.co.us) Date: Wednesday, June 16, 1999 12:39 PM So many amusing recurring images, not the least of which was Jim's cigarette rationing when he gets days ahead of schedule. Anyone else "been there" while quitting smoking? I got the biggest laugh from the description of waking up with a hangover that starts chapter 6: "Consciousness was upon him before he could get out of the way; not for him the slow, gracious wandering from the halls of sleep, but a summary, forcible ejection." However, despite all the grins and laughs, I kept wondering how entertaining I'd find Jim in person. His clothes described as filthy and shabby, his "problem with drink," lack of work ethic, willingness to embrace dishonesty. Am I too literal here? Somehow I thought he was supposed to redeem the image of the common man in contrast to a peerage grown fairly useless, elevate the impression of comprehensive schools (our public schools) in comparison to private (British public) schools. Perhaps I am disappointed in that he failed in what I had assigned to him as his mission. Great reading choice! Many thanks to whomever suggested it. Diane
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (5 of 31), Read 60 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Wednesday, June 16, 1999 01:49 PM Lucky Jim is one of the funniest books to emerge from a very funny genre inhabited generally by P.G. Wodehouse and Evelyn Waugh (in part, anyway). Strange that Amis could never hit that note again. The curse of the successful first novel perhaps. Dick
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (6 of 31), Read 50 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Kent Rasmussen (arkent@prodigy.net) Date: Thursday, June 17, 1999 02:58 AM Here's some serious trouble brewing for you. Lucky Jim is my all-time favorite novel, bar none. I've read it at least 8 times over the past 30 years and am sure I'll read it at least another 8 times before I swap my overcoat for a fan and move on to the afterlife. I can talk about the book ad naseum, and probably will before this discussion thread runs dry. It's late now, however, and I must get something written before I tootle off to dreamland. However, I'll be back. And you've been warned. Grouchy in So. Calif., who once unintentionally reenacted Jim Dixon's "Merrie England" lecture when he overjuiced himself before delivering a talk on Ndebele history before the combined membership of the University of Rhodesia's history and Ndebele clubs
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (7 of 31), Read 53 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Thursday, June 17, 1999 07:23 AM Kent, so it was YOU who had read it so many times. Oh, boy, we're in for a treat! My favorite scene was the Merrie England speech. I also liked everything leading up to it and the "research" he did. I thought it was so funny how he tried-- oh how he tried-- to speak normally, but everything turned into a parody of someone. This just cries out to have a really good movie made of it. Maybe Kenneth Branagh could be interested. (I know you will probably resist heartily that a movie be made -- I hear a bad one was already made --but it's such a visual book. It was almost as if Amis were giving stage directions.) Sherry
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (8 of 31), Read 57 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: R Bavetta (rbav@prodigy.com) Date: Thursday, June 17, 1999 11:24 AM I'm only about 1/2 way through, Sherry, but I agree with you, I keep seeing a movie as I read this book. I must admit, though that I seem to be lacking the britishhumorgene. I'm having the same reaction to this book as I do to Wodehouse. Ruth, even grouchier than certain other people she isn't even mentioning Books are cheaper than wallpaper
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (9 of 31), Read 56 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beatrice Soila (bpsoila@aol.com) Date: Thursday, June 17, 1999 03:03 PM I loved this hilarious book! First a technical question for the anglophiles. Why is it Professor Welsh but Mr. and Mrs. Neddy? Bea, temporarily in Brussels, Belgium speaking no local language.
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (10 of 31), Read 54 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Kent Rasmussen (arkent@prodigy.net) Date: Thursday, June 17, 1999 04:01 PM ... agggghhh!! ... I'm sick!! A few minutes ago I completed a long and thoughtful (by my standards) note on Lucky Jim, providing definitive (and irrefutable) answers to all the questions posed above. After reviewing the message, I clicked on "post," only to discover I had lost my internet connection. Not to worry. I simply restarted my internet connection and left my message on the screen. I'd done this sort of thing before. No big deal. Big mistake. The CR screen disappeared, and I lost my entire message. If I had taken the simple precaution of at least saving the message to the clipboard, I wouldn't have lost it. (Hell, "Lucky Jim" italics and all, was still in the clipboard waiting for me.) It's reasons such as these that tend to drive me away from CR periodically. I should be working! Stay tuned. I'll try to return tonight and see if I can reconstruct what I wrote earlier. Grouchy in So. Calif., who freely admits that he has no one to blame (aside from his internet provider) but himself for such snafus; he should know better
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (11 of 31), Read 54 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Thursday, June 17, 1999 04:09 PM Beatrice, The "Mrs. Neddy" confused me at first too. But eventually I figured it out. Ned is the professor's first name, and Margaret and Jim were having a bit of a laugh at the expense of the couple. A kind of surreptitious familiarity that they certainly wouldn't indulge in around anyone other than their closest friends. Sherry
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (12 of 31), Read 55 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Jane Niemeier (jniemeie@hotmail.com) Date: Thursday, June 17, 1999 08:40 PM I just loved Jim's imagination. Here is one of my favorite bits of his imagined actions, from the beginning of the novel. "(Dixon) pretended to himself that he'd pick up his professor round the waist, squeeze the furry grey-blue waistcoat against him to expel the breath, run heavily with him up the steps, along the corridor to the Staff Cloakroom, and plunge the too-small feet in their capless shoes into a lavatory basin, pulling the plug once, twice and again, stuffing the mouth with toilet-paper." I just loved this scene. In a novel from our decade, the main character would be imagining how he would kill someone like Welch. Diane, You made some very good points about the academic life in Britain at that time. Jane P.S. What are capless shoes?
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (13 of 31), Read 47 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: R Bavetta (rbav@prodigy.com) Date: Thursday, June 17, 1999 10:53 PM Why, Jane, you innocent damsel, you. Capless shoes are, well, shoes without caps. Anonymous Books are cheaper than wallpaper
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (14 of 31), Read 50 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Tonya Presley (tpresley@swbell.net) Date: Friday, June 18, 1999 12:52 AM I finished this just now, and I really love this book! I wouldn't even try to estimate the number of times I laughed out loud. Jim is surrounded by luck throughout the book; sometimes, though, it does seem to be bad luck. What a character! It's almost Charlie Brown as a grown-up. As someone said above, I'll remember this book in its scenes, like movie scenes, which are so perfectly described. Hiding the damage to the bedding and table, the phone call to the house after - when he pretended to be a London reporter, waking with that hangover, stealing the taxi, encounters with the student Michie, the fight with Bertrand, and on and on. But what made Jim Dixon real to me is the way his thoughts are there on the page, and then his words flow out in contrast. At least until he decides the job is lost anyway, and starts to really let go. I loved the ending, too, and think it stopped in just the right way. What a book! I look forward to re-reading it. Tonya
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (15 of 31), Read 44 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Kent Rasmussen (arkent@prodigy.net) Date: Friday, June 18, 1999 02:20 AM I'm still fuming about losing my long note earlier today, especially now that I realize I won't have time to reconstruct it properly tonight. It will have to wait until after I return from a trip this weekend. Meanwhile, I do have time to slip in some quick observations. After going offline earlier, I ran some errands and had a chance to do some reading while I was having my car "smogged" (a curious California custom that car owners perform every two years, when they take their vehicles to licensed "Smog Check" stations and have cash extracted from their wallets while indecipherable data spew from computers attached to their cars). I used the time to begin rereading Lucky Jim. With observations about the book from other CR postings floating through my head, I immediately began noticing themes and undercurrents in the book I either hadn't noticed before or hadn't thought about in years. Examples: hostility: Dixon is basically an amiable guy, but he tends to see others as enemies against whom he "campaigns." His enemies include Professor Welch, a.k.a. "Neddy"; Mrs. Welch; Bertrand Welch, the effete painter; Mr. Richie, Dixon's student; Margaret Peel, his neurotic on-again-off-again girlfriend; Johns, his fellow boardinghouse resident; Catchpole, whom he doesn't even know until late in the story; and even the lovely Christine--when they first meet. By taking his enemies on, he often irritates them enough to create real trouble for himself. For example, why does he deface Johns's magazine? It's something he needn't do, and he later pays a heavy price for the prank. predestination: Dixon seems to see himself as fated to be a loser and sets his goals no higher than mere survival. He hates teaching at the crummy university but has no ambition beyond renewing his contract for one more year. He knows he can never truly love Margaret, but accepts that if is ever to have a woman, it will be someone like her, and not someone like the level-headed Christine. Inner dialogue: (Is this the right term? I haven't taken a literature class since I was in the 10th grade.) In writing this book in the third person from Dixon's point of view, Kingsley Amis chose the perfect form for expressing Dixon's feelings in ways that Dixon himself could not have done, had Amis written the book in the first person. The story can be read at two levels: What really is happening, and what Dixon thinks about it all. He is constantly analyzing himself and everything going on around him. Often, he reacts to events and other characters by fantasizing things he would like to do--such as squeezing the life out of Prof. Welch, kicking Michie, or running and screaming out of an unpleasant situation. He also acts out his feelings by consciously or unconsciously making strange faces. He often seems to be at war with himself, unsure of who he really as at any moment. (Recall the moment when he surprises himself by catching his own reflection in a mirror when he accepts Welch's invitation to the arty weekend and is surprised to see himself wearing a sincere smile). A point I made in my lost note of earlier today is that one of the finest things about Lucky Jim is that it uses prose in ways that can't be imitated in other media--especially not in movies. How could a movie get at what's going on inside Dixon's head the way the book does? I'll return to what I should be working on now and promise to return with my fuller thoughts on this terrific book later. By Sunday night, I should have finished reading the book again--for perhaps the ninth or tenth time. Thanks to all for helping me to rediscover the pleasures of this special book. I always seem to find something new in it each time I read it. Grouchy in So. Calif., who as a history grad student shared many a laugh with fellow grad students over the opening lines of Dixon's article on medieval Italian shipbuilding. "Strangely neglected subject" indeed!
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (16 of 31), Read 44 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Kent Rasmussen (arkent@prodigy.net) Date: Friday, June 18, 1999 03:03 AM A quick note on audio versions of Lucky Jim. So far as I know, the only available recorded edition of the book in the U.S. is Books On Tape's 1981 recording read by Richard Green. I've listened to it twice, but only because I love the book so much. I've heard Green read ten different books and have nearly always found him dull; his reading of Lucky Jim is hopelessly flat. His reading of Amis's The Green Man (whose title should have inspired him) was so dreadful, I gave up on listening to it after only 10 minutes. If anyone knows of other recordings of Lucky Jim, I'd love to hear about them. Grouchy in So. Calif., whose dream is to hear a reader such as Patrick Tull read Lucky Jim
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (17 of 31), Read 39 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Jim Heath (ddrapes@teleport.com) Date: Friday, June 18, 1999 08:15 AM If I were looking for a movie equivalent of Lucky Jim, I'd think about Tom Ewell in The Seven Year Itch. Different story and accent, of course, but brothers under the skin. BTW, Kent, this also is a shorter version of a much better note which I wrote over weeks and weeks and then lost when I uploaded. I wonder if my dog has been working on my computer?
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (18 of 31), Read 37 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Mary Anne Papale (fdlx59b@prodigy.com) Date: Friday, June 18, 1999 12:00 PM I also loved this book, and I'm enjoying all the comments here. My favorite scene is Jim's drunken stupor upon return to the Professor's house. He makes a pass at the manipulative Margaret in her bedroom. He can't gain access to his bedroom because one must go through a bathroom, which seems to be in use at all the worst times. His bedroom spins every time he lays down. If I knew someone like this in real life, it might not be so funny. But the reading of it had me splitting my sides with laughter. And why do people look into their handkerchiefs after they blow their nose? Also, Kent, on the subject of predetermination, the whole subject of how Dixon became a teacher of the Medieval, and what he had to do to protect that position, was amazing. How many of us just sort of fall into careers or relationships because they are there and available to us? Whew, I loved that theme. MAP
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (19 of 31), Read 32 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: R Bavetta (rbav@prodigy.com) Date: Friday, June 18, 1999 08:09 PM I'm struggling along, still not finished, still waiting for it to be funny, and (sigh) once again feeling out of step with the world. What's wrong with me? Ruth Books are cheaper than wallpaper
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (20 of 31), Read 33 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Dottie Randall (randallj@ix.netcom.com) Date: Saturday, June 19, 1999 01:35 AM Ruth -- Notathing, notathing,notathing!!! You are in the 1.3???% group and they are in the 3.5????% group or the other way around! Different strokes for different folks -- as I just read in The Girls'Guide thread! Dottie ID is an oxymoron!
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (21 of 31), Read 32 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Jim Heath (ddrapes@teleport.com) Date: Saturday, June 19, 1999 09:05 AM Ruth, don't you think that you have to connect a book to something in your personal experience in order to get really excited about it? We've all had the experience where something we love has left everyone else shaking their head. Humor is probably more subjective than most things. For me the fun in Lucky Jim is watching someone who hasn't a hope trying to look calm, sophisticated, and under control as he slowly sinks to the bottom. For some inexplicable reason, this turns out to be something I understand.
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (22 of 31), Read 36 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: R Bavetta (rbav@prodigy.com) Date: Saturday, June 19, 1999 12:07 PM I think you're right, Jim. But I can't connect with Dixon, even though I did teach in a podunk college. I keep mulling on why this book isn't clicking for me. It may be because Dixon really is a such a hapless jerk that it makes me uncomfortable. Ruth Books are cheaper than wallpaper
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (23 of 31), Read 40 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Saturday, June 19, 1999 12:35 PM Ruth: That can't be it; you seemed perfectly at ease the night I joined you and Leif for dinner. Dick
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (24 of 31), Read 34 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Saturday, June 19, 1999 08:35 PM Ruth, It took me awhile to submerge myself in the Britishness of this book, but I ended up finding it very entertaining. I stayed up way past my bedtime finishing it. On the other hand, I could never make it through P.G. Wodehouse even though people who have impeccable reading taste find him hilarious. Somehow he just doesn't tickle my funny bone. Enjoyable as I found this book, I have to agree with Diane that I would not enjoy Jim in person. The phrase "passive aggressive" could have been invented for him. Those wild faces were wonderful to imagine, but don't forget that he always made them behind the other person's back. And his treatment of Johns was really very underhanded. I think Kent is right that he created a lot of his own problems. I suppose people resort to passive aggressive behavior when they feel completely powerless, as Jim did. Maybe that justifies it to a certain extent. Favorite scenes -- Jim destroying the bedclothes and trying to hide it, followed somewhat later by the hideous Mrs. Welch assuring him that he will pay for his crime. Now, for the women in this book. Margaret was delightfully dreadful. I loved her hysterics scene. According to Jim's thought process, Margaret could not help her behavior because its root cause was that she was not sexually attractive. I don't remember a physical description of Jim, other than his clothes. Does anyone else? Christine was fun, although she tried my patience at the end with her repetitious insistence that she must stick by the awful artist. Altogether, this book was a lot of fun. Thanks for suggesting it, Kent. Ann
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (25 of 31), Read 35 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: David Moody (davidmoody@prodigy.net) Date: Saturday, June 19, 1999 09:15 PM Ann: At the very beginning, Jim is described as "...on the short side, fair and round-faced, with an unusual breadth of shoulder that had never been accompanied by any special physical strength or skill." I was just about to close up the Cataloging operation for the weekend when a biographical/critical study of Kingsley Amis hit my desk. I couldn't resist checking for a little background about Lucky Jim. (By, the way, Larkin is the poet/librarian Philip Larkin, a close friend of Amis, and Hilly is Amis's wife.) "On a visit to larking at the University of Leicester, Amis, on being left alone in the common room for a few moments, noticed that this particular slice of academia could prove to be untapped riches for the novelist. Other parts of the novel arose from his own and friends' experience. Jim Dixon's last name came from the street name on which Larkin's mother lived. The odious Professor Welch was modeled quite consciously on Hilly's father, "Daddy B", and on some of his avocations such as folk dancing--and Amis hoped his victim would notice the resemblance. Parts of Jim Dixon (his face making) came from Amis himself; some from Larkin... Perhaps cruelest of all was the modeling of Jim's girlfriend, the passive-aggressive, manipulative Margaret, on Larkin's companion, Monica Jones. Larkin had to ask Amis not to make their names so similar. Jones held Amis in similar disfavor, insisting that Amis was "trying on" the faces he made so often because he was unsure of his own identity." I find this streak of cruelty a large area of difference with Wodehouse, whose characters also have the knack of insulting other people internally but also inhabit a gentle fantasy world without the hard, realistic edge of Amis. David, who also notes that Amis's first publisher, whom he came to detest, was named Caton, and that Amis also collaborated on a early poetry anthology with one James Michie--both names which reoccur in Lucky Jim.
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (26 of 31), Read 30 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: R Bavetta (rbav@prodigy.com) Date: Saturday, June 19, 1999 11:39 PM Aw, Dick, whatever would we do without you. Hurry and finish that big case. Ruth Books are cheaper than wallpaper
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (27 of 31), Read 27 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Sunday, June 20, 1999 10:07 AM David, Thanks for the information. Obviously, I didn't pay much attention to the description of Dixon since it completely slipped my mind. Amis brought up Margaret's physical shortcomings several times (especially in comparison to the fortunate Christine), so that stuck. I do hope Amis's girlfriend, Margaret's real life model, ditched Amis after this book came out. I strongly suspected that Kingsley Amis was not a very "nice" person. Your research tends to confirm that. As for those faces, the author himself had some recognition of their shortcomings. After he is happily reunited with Christine, these thoughts run through Dixon's mind: "He thought what a pity it was that all his faces were designed to express rage or loathing. Now that something had happened which really deserved a face, he'd none to celebrate it with. As a kind of token, he made his Sex Life in Ancient Rome face. (p.255) Now that last "image" is pretty darn funny, I have to admit. Ann
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (28 of 31), Read 26 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Jane Niemeier (jniemeie@hotmail.com) Date: Sunday, June 20, 1999 08:40 PM Ann, I loved the adjectives that you used to describe the characters in this book "the hideous Mrs. Welch", "the delightfully dreadful" Margaret, and "the awful artist". I think that Kent mentioned that Jim didn't get along with many of the characters in this book, and we can see why. Jane
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (29 of 31), Read 27 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Mary Anne Papale (fdlx59b@prodigy.com) Date: Monday, June 21, 1999 07:32 AM Since David has mentioned Michie, I take this opportunity to say something about Dixon's relationship with this student. The form of hate/love that Amis contrives is classic. Dixon so desperately wants to dodge Michie. But he also needs him to register for his class. Dixon must come up with the course outline, which is sure to fall short of Michie's expectations. In fact, Michie probably knows more about the subject matter than Dixon. How terrifying for the young teacher. The theme of knowing you will not measure up, but not really wanting to measure up in this particular venue, is one that Amis does well, I think. MAP
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (30 of 31), Read 26 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Ceilidh Giesbrecht (barbara@paralynx.com) Date: Monday, June 21, 1999 06:45 PM Re: Lucky Jim "The novel provoked a great deal of controversy, much of it prompted by writers of an older generation shaking their venerable heads over the follies of their juniors. The most memorable comment was published in the Sunday Times on Christmas Day 1954 in which Somerset Maugham expressed his fears for the future of a country populated by Jim Dixons, where people failed to absorb the civilised values traditionally inculcated by a university education: 'They do not go to the university to acquire culture, but to get a job ... They have no manners, and are woefully unable to deal with any social predicament ... They are mean, malicious and envious ... They are scum.' Amis was vigorously defended by such writers as C.P. Snow, John Wain and Philip Larkin, and the novel became a classic." Jim Dixon' behaviour reminds me of the character Mr. Bean played by Rowan Atchinson. Mr. Bean is totally self centred, has no social skills and acts like a child in trying situations. I love the character dearly. But, I agree with Diane and Ann that if I were to actually encounter this type of person in real life, he would drive me to the brink of frustration! Enjoyed the novel and look forward to reading it again, preferably *not* in large print (which is all the library had). I'm still trying to uncross my eyes. Ceilidh (Why doesn't spell check like my Canadian vocabulary?)
 
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (31 of 31), Read 27 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Katie Kleczka (knp@execpc.com) Date: Monday, June 21, 1999 07:06 PM Ceilidh wrote: (Why doesn't spell check like my Canadian vocabulary?) One of the few things that I miss about my home in Ontario (apart from Peameal bacon, Molson Canadian, and french fries with malt vinegar and gravy) is a spell check that doesn't slaughter me for cheque, behaviour, colour, and centre. :) Jim does have a little bit of the Rowan Atkinson about him. I found him SO amusing and SO likeable, that I have been wondering not just a little about my own level of maturity! Katie "Everything in moderation, EXCEPT for reading." Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (32 of 38), Read 36 times, 1 File Attachment Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Kent Rasmussen (arkent@prodigy.net) Date: Wednesday, June 23, 1999 04:48 AM What the heck is going on around here? I go out of town for a few days, planning to write some great notes on Lucky Jim when I return, and I come back to find nearly 200 new messages posted on CR, including more notes on Lucky Jim than I have time to absorb right now. Well, as much as I like the fact that so many people are enthusiastic about my favorite novel, I'm worried that the rest of you aren't leaving me anything fresh to discuss. So, how about it? Have a heart ... at least until I get my next ups in the next day or two. Meanwhile, I'm attaching a scan of my favorite Lucky Jim book cover. It has a simple drawing, but I think it suggests something about Dixon's appearance. As for the suggestion that Dixon has something of Rowan Atkinson in his appearance, I can only shudder. If an actor's face must be put on Dixon, try someone like Ronnie Corbett or Michael Palin. >>Grouchy in So. Calif., who thinks Atkinson is better suited to play Evan Johns LUCKYJIM3.JPG (53KB) Viking edition of Lucky Jim
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (33 of 38), Read 41 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Diane Freeman (dfreeman@jeffco.k12.co.us) Date: Wednesday, June 23, 1999 09:29 AM Kent, I like the image you sent. I bought Lucky Jim at a used book store, also a Viking edition, but the 20th printing in 1969 has a charming cover by Edward Gorey. Worth the price for that alone. Sorry, I don't have a scanner. Diane
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (34 of 38), Read 34 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Jane Niemeier (jniemeie@hotmail.com) Date: Wednesday, June 23, 1999 08:54 PM Grouchy, I would agree about Michael Palin, but he is a bit too old. Michael is in his 50's and Jim is in his 20's. So, I guess that we need a talent search for a new Jim. Jane
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (35 of 38), Read 24 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Ceilidh Giesbrecht (barbara@paralynx.com) Date: Wednesday, June 23, 1999 11:55 PM Kent When I alluded to Jim reminding me of Rowan Atkinson, I was referring only to Jim's "Beanish" behaviour - not to his appearance. Love the book cover. The edition I read (which was in LARGE PRINT and has since gone back to the library) had a drawing of a scholarly type smoking a cigarette (one over the daily ration I should think). Ceilidh
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (36 of 38), Read 26 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beatrice Soila (bpsoila@aol.com) Date: Thursday, June 24, 1999 01:47 PM For the role of Jim Dixon, how about a young Peter O'Toole? Bea STILL in Brussels but home soon I hope.
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (37 of 38), Read 23 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Kent Rasmussen (arkent@prodigy.net) Date: Friday, June 25, 1999 04:45 AM Bea, As much as I admire O'Toole, I can't see him as Dixon. He'd make a better Atkinson. As for Michael Palin, I naturally agree that he could have played Dixon only when he was younger--which he was when he was in his pythonesque phase. >>Grouchy in So. Calif., who reminds Bea that any actor who has played Mr. Chips is automatically disqualified from playing Dixon
Topic: LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis (38 of 38), Read 25 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Kent Rasmussen (arkent@prodigy.net) Date: Friday, June 25, 1999 05:02 AM For those interested in who played whom in the movie that was actually made from Lucky Jim in 1957, I have copied the cast from Internet Movie Database. Incidentally, the film was directed by the Boulting brothers. Ian Carmichael .... Jim Dixon Terry-Thomas .... Bertrand Welch Hugh Griffith .... Prof. Welch Sharon Acker .... Christine Callaghan Jean Anderson .... Mrs. Welch Reginald Beckwith .... University Porter John Cairney .... Roberts Ronald Cardew .... Registrar Maureen Connell .... Margaret Peel Harry Fowler .... Cab driver Joan Greenwood Kenneth Griffith .... Cyril Johns Jeremy Hawk .... Bill Atkinson Charles Lamb .... Contractor Henry B. Longhurst .... Prof. Hutchinson Jeremy Longhurst .... Waiter Penny Morrell .... Miss Wilson Clive Morton .... Sir Hector Gore-Urquhart John Welsh .... The Principal ______________ I just noticed that the names of several characters have been altered. Gore-Urquhart, for example, has a different first name in the book (what did Christine call him?) and he wasn't a "Sir." I assume that "Cyril Johns" is the novel's "Evan Johns" ("Jake" would have been a better first name to go with "johns"). Joan Greenwood is listed in the cast, but without a character name; I can't understand why I don't recall her presence in the film, as she's an actress whom it is impossible not to notice. I'll have to watch the film again--awful though it is. Incidentally, the film adds a pointless complication in the form of some sort of college pageant toward its end; I think it's possible that Greenword appears in that episode--which would explain why her role wouldn't correspond to anything in the novel. One final observation: I regard Ian Carmichael as an ideal Dixon in most ways. He's much taller than Dixon as Amis describes him, but that's inconsequential. >>Grouchy in So. Calif., who has a vivid memory of Carmichael dropping a fried egg down his throat as Christine (Sharon Acker) urges him to hurry upstairs to repair the damage he's done to his bed Did I ever mention that Carmichael didn't think much of the film, either? Perhaps I said that in the note I lost online last week. I still intend to return and reconstruct that long message; in fact, I have lots more to say about the book than I'm conveying in these little snippets

 

 

 
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