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Changing Places: A Tale of Two Campuses Paperback – October 25, 1979
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Top Customer Reviews
The idea is simple: two professors, one at a small college in England, the other at a huge conglomerate in California, switch places for an academic year. The English professor, who is barely scraping by, longs for the materialism of American society; the American professor, on the verge of divorce, is trying to get his wife to see past his infidelities and acknowledge his worth as a husband. But people are people all over, and while both professors undergo quite a bit of culture shock, and cause some culture shock in the academic societies that they become a part of, the real story here is that it is a small world after all (hmm, funny that, but Small World is the name of the sequel to this novel.
One of the best sections of this novel is the depiction of a game called Humiliation, wherein you must name a novel that you have not read, but that you expect everyone else at the table/party to have read. The idea is that by admitting not having read a canonical text (especially among Literature scholars) you will be humiliated. It's the kind of intellectual party game that Seinfeld watchers just can't join in on, because it assumes a sophistication. Either that, or it's just snobbery.
The other thing that raises this story about similar counterparts (including Kingsley Amis' Lucky Jim, which I liked, but not as much as this novel) is the clever way in which it shifts form within the story.Read more ›
This is the story of Morris Zapp, an American professor of English literature and Jane Austen expert, and Philip Swallow, his English counterpart. They undertake an academic exchange between their respective universities, and swap more than just their positions, as their personal lives become intertwined in a typical Lodgian move: all things are connected.
This is an intelligent book, full of interesting if not improbable plot twists. The dialogue is witty, the prose full of brilliant and well-used ten cent words to build a vocabulary on. It is not laugh out loud funny, but snicker out the side of your mouth humor. The experimental part at the end is a bit misshapen and very disappointing, especially for the reader, who comes to care about his characters.
And yet this is about something much bigger, especially for the academic. These are men who are trying to make their way in a world where publish or perish is the only mantra. Their respective crises are coupled with new couplings on both sides of the Atlantic, and a new view on life--all they needed was a change of place. They seem to have discovered how much there is to gain by leaving that which you know. I'm not sure how much truth there is to that belief, this is most unfortunate for the marriages in discussion, but in the end, aren't the women also better off?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In 1969 Lodge, who was then a lecturer at the University of Birmingham (here called the University of Rummidge), spent six months as visiting associate professor at the University... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ralph Blumenau
I can't say I read this book because I wanted to, since I had to do so for a literature class. With all the praise it received from my professor and the reviews I was expecting to... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Exon
Great book I am a David Lodge fan and this one of my books. I think that this is one of his best along with "small world"Published 16 months ago by Sunshine
'Changing Places' is a comedic look at the academia world in the late 1960s. It compares and contrasts English Departments in Berkeley, CA (aka Euphoric State -- pseudonyms are... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Carol Anita Ryan
Changing Places has been selected for my reading group and I have had so much fun reading through it.
For me, the book has a nice glow of nostalgia. Read more
A professor friend of mine recommended this book. I bought it but didn't start to read it for months but once I started I read all three books over a period of a couple of weeks. Read morePublished on April 26, 2014 by Robert Ashton