David Lodge is known most notably for his academia themed novels depicting the lives of English professors and his literary criticism. This foreign, hidden world to the general public is portrayed in Lodge’ s novels as a world of sex, intrigue, and English criticism. Crucial to the success of these novels has been Lodge’ s ability to relate the exotic world of academia to readers who are outside this world and have little to no contact with those who participate in literary criticism. These readers have been termed the “ lay reader,” and compose a unique audience to which Lodge’ s novels are able to connect to. But what is it about Lodge’ s novels that are able to reach out this audience that seemingly has no connection with the material he writes about; and with such great success? Lodge’ s novels are able to reach beyond academia to the lay reader because of the sub-plots incorporated into his stories, but also by using the formal realist novel as a medium. By writing novels that have an underlying love story or deal with the problems posed of practicing Catholics and at times both, Lodge is able to relate the world of academia to the non-academic audience. Additionally, the above subplots allow Lodge to incorporate literary criticism into his texts and make them relatable to the lay reader. Each of his books, both criticism and fiction, are written with the lay reader in mind and draw the readers into the secret world of English literature and criticism.
Kyle Talley, ’06 Grand Junction, CO
Majors: Biology, Classical Studies
Sponsor: Leslie Hankins