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The Practice of Writing Hardcover – January 1, 1997

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; 1st American ed edition (January 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713991739
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713991734
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,222,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

English author, literary critic, and Birmingham professor David Lodge has given us a thoughtful collection of essays on writing, serving as an end-of-century bookend for E. M. Forster's Aspects of the Novel. But given the particular century in which Lodge writes, he doesn't stop with prose but also considers stage and television work--he adapted Martin Chuzzlewit for the BBC-- giving the book its greatest strength. Lodge's range runs from academic musings to television scripts, a breadth worthy of any scribe here on the disparate, millennial cusp.

From Publishers Weekly

Lodge, a wry and stylish British novelist (Changing Places) and former university professor, has collected a fair sample of his literary criticism and re-formed it into an insightful and surprisingly unified look at the craft of writing. He says flat out that this is not a book of literary theory but an examination of the way writers go about their work. His aim, he writes, is "to demystify and shed light on the creative process, to explain how literary and dramatic works are made, and to describe the many different factors, not always under the control of the writer, that came into play in the process." The result is a book that should be required reading in any creative writing class not bogged down in dogma. Lodge reviews the work of a number of writers?Graham Greene, D.H. Lawrence, Henry Green, Kingsley Amis, Anthony Burgess, Joyce, Nabokov?but the heart of the book is a series of essays on adapting his own work, as well as Dickens's Martin Chuzzlewit, for television, and on staging a sketch by Harold Pinter; and the diary Lodge kept while his play The Writing Class was in production. Although his nonfiction writing style is not as free of its academic roots as he would like to think and his outlook is not as satiric as readers of his novels might expect, here is a collection that is both engaging and useful.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Steven Reynolds on October 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
In contrast to the towering arrogance of many critics, academics and novelists who have published reflections on the craft of writing, Lodge stands alone as an enduring voice of common sense - probably because he's worked as all three. This breadth of experience keeps him grounded in the real world - which is good, because that's where writing and reading are actually done. In this collection of essays, he never disappears into theoretical ivory towers, nor does he make ridiculously large claims for the art of the novel or the enormity of his own talent. His essays are characterized by a generous, unpretentious ease. This book will be immensely enjoyable for writers and readers alike, but particularly for writers. Lodge's refreshing honesty about his own writing practices and experiences - especially in adapting his own novels and others - is a treat.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. Bunker VINE VOICE on September 26, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have at times been disappointed by books like this one: collections of essays, all written at different times for different purposes and venues, and of course, all written on various topics that happen to interest the author. If your interests as a reader don't coincide with the author's, at least through a majority of the essays, or if the essays are too closely tied to the purpose for which they were originally written to be of much interest outside that context, then you're likely to have a ho-hum and disappointing book. But this book was certainly no disappointment. David Lodge is such an engaging writer, with so much to say that's fun and informative, I think pretty much anything he writes would be an enjoyable and worthwhile read.

Some notes on particular essays/chapters in the book:

"Fact and Fiction in the Novel: An Author's Note" is an engaging and at times very funny look at how authors may use (or not use, when you might think they are using) real-life experiences, places, and characters in their fiction.

Several chapters are interesting discussions of aspects of the lives and careers of some well-known authors: Graham Greene, D.H. Lawrence, James Joyce, Anthony Burgess, and Vladimir Nabokov. Most of these are presented as overviews of existing biographies and autobiographies of the persons in question, so you have both the sources of Lodge's information and also recommendations for further reading. And even in a chapter where Lodge discusses a lesser-known writer (Henry Green), the chapter is still thoroughly interesting for its insights on the processes and difficulties of writing.
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By Sana on January 2, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Entertaining as always.
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