Sunday 18 August 2013

It was a perfect title...


From Lucky Jim (1954) - by Kingsley Amis:


Dixon looked out of the window at the fields wheeling past, bright green after a wet April.

It wasn't the double-exposure effect of the last half-minute's talk that had dumbfounded him, for such incidents formed the staple material of [Professor] Welch colloquies; it was the prospect of reciting the title of the article he'd written.

It was a perfect title, in that it crystallized the article's niggling mindlessness, its funereal parade of yawn-enforcing facts, the pseudo-light it threw upon non-problems.

Dixon had read, or begun to read, dozens like it, but his own seemed worse than most in its air of being convinced of its own usefulness and significance.

"In considering this strangely neglected topic," it began. This what neglected topic? This strangely what topic? This strangely neglected what?

His thinking all this without having defiled and set fire to the typescript only made him appear to himself more of a hypocrite and fool.


One of my favourite passages from the funniest comic novel I have ever read. 



dearieme said...

"the funniest comic novel I have ever read": me too. I must have read it when I was sixteen or so. It made me keen to go to university to see whether it could be true.

The Crow said...

People doing weird stuff, with no real reason to, or knowing why they must. Probably this was what Shakespeare meant by:
"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts..."

Callowman said...

Also my fave. I pick it up every couple years and invariably end up reading the whole thing.