Lesson Plan Small World by David Lodge

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Philip Swallow from the Midlands swapped jobs and wives with Prof. This time, however, Swallow and Zapp are just two of the nearly two-dozen principal players--in a sprawling, cartoony, sex-comedy send-up of ""the global campus"": the world of MLA Conventions and traveling lecturers and multilingual translations. Swallow at the dreary U. Birmingham campus: the turnout is paltry; one of the few international arrivals is the ever-venal Prof. Zapp, who's constantly on the road with such addresses as ""Textuality as Striptease""; and most of the focus centers on young, virginal, totally innocent Persse McGarrigie of Limerick U.

After this steadily amusing opening, however, Lodge lurches out in all directions--with a dozen international subplots presented merry-go-round style--as the satire becomes increasingly broad, silly, and fragmentary.

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Persse remains on occasional view, circling the globe in his pursuit of the peripatetic Angelica, who seems to be leaving a trail of sexual decadence behind her. Zapp globe-trots too, finding renewed lust in Italy with kinky Prof. Fulvia Morgana a Marxist in velvet knickerbockers before being kidnapped by bookish terrorists.


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Meanwhile, however: a Japanese translator struggles with the British slang in a novel by burnt-out Ronald Frobisher; a North-of-England prof becomes manically obsessed with ""Computational Stylistics""; the ancient dean of US literary scholarship, Arthur Kingfisher, dallies with an exotic concubine; a middle-aging Australian lecturer yearns after academic celebrity and sexpot students ; a prissy Oxford don contemplates his latest self-serving review for the Times Literary Supplement; Prof.

Lodge Souls and Bodies offers dozens of grandly funny tidbits here--from a conference of scholars attending a Puss in Boots pantomine by mistake to a Spenser-quoting airline receptionist to juicy parodies of Barthes-style pedantry. Unfortunately, however, too much of this potpourri falls back on the basic, tired joke of lust-in-academia.

Small World by David Lodge Lesson Plans

And, even for readers who are savvy about Lodge's ivory-tower targets, this hectic hodgepodge may eventually become more exhausting than entertaining--a source of sporadic hilarity rather than sustained or involving pleasure. There was a problem adding your email address. Please try again. Be the first to discover new talent! Each week, our editors select the one author and one book they believe to be most worthy of your attention and highlight them in our Pro Connect email alert.

Sign up here to receive your FREE alerts. By clicking on "Submit" you agree that you have read and agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. Email Newsletter. Eliot , has attended. He teaches at the fictional University College, Limerick , after having been mistakenly interviewed because the administration sent the interview invitation to him instead of someone else with the same last name. Several important characters are introduced: Rummidge professor Philip Swallow, American professor Morris Zapp inspired by the literary critic Stanley Fish [4] , retired Cambridge professor Sybil Maiden, and the beautiful Angelica Pabst, with whom McGarrigle falls immediately in love.

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Much of the rest of the book is his quest to find and win her. Angelica tells Persse that she was adopted by an executive at KLM , Hermann Pabst, after she was found, abandoned, in the washroom of an aeroplane in flight.


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Persse professes his love for her, but she leaves the conference without telling him where she has gone. Morris Zapp and Philip Swallow, who are seeing each other for the first time in ten years after the events of Changing Places , have a long evening talk. Since the previous novel, Swallow has become a professor and head of the English Department.

Zapp has discovered deconstructionism and reinvented himself academically. Swallow tells Zapp about an incident a few years before, when after almost dying in a plane crash he spent the night at a British Council official's home and slept with the official's wife, Joy.

Teaching Small World

Soon after, Swallow read in the newspaper that Joy, the official, and their son had died in a plane crash. Cheryl Summerbee is also introduced. She is a check-in clerk for British Airways at Heathrow and plays a small but very important role in helping, or hindering, other characters as they travel around the world. People continue to move around from conference to conference around the world in Part III.

Persse continues to pursue Angelica.

At a meeting in Amsterdam, Persse hears the German literary scholar Siegfried von Turpitz speaking about ideas that he submitted in an unpublished book, and all but accuses von Turpitz of plagiarism. Zapp rises to defend Persse from von Turpitz. Later, Persse sees someone who looks like Angelica, and thinks she has appeared in pornographic movies and worked as a stripper. In Turkey, Phillip Swallow meets Joy, the woman he thought was dead. She explains that only her husband had been on the plane that crashed. They begin an affair, and Swallow plans to leave his wife. Events and characters move along in Part IV, often with direct reference to the genre of romance.

Persse, who has won an award and got a credit card, has enough money to continue to chase Angelica but never manages to catch up with her. She does leave him a clue referencing The Faerie Queene and he discovers that she has an identical twin, Lily, who made the pornographic movies. When Persse meets Cheryl Summerbee again, she is now reading not romance novels but romances such as Orlando Furioso and critics such as Northrop Frye after Angelica has passed through her line. Persse is happy to learn this, but Cheryl is shaken to see that Persse is infatuated with Angelica, because she loves him herself.

Persse continues to chase Angelica around the world, to conferences in Hawaii, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, and Jerusalem , but he never catches up with her. At that Jerusalem conference, Philip Swallow is with Joy, but after he sees his son there he becomes psychosomatically ill , which people think might be Legionnaires' Disease in a moment of panic.

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This stops the conference, and leads to the end of Philip and Joy's affair. Most of the academic characters in the book are there. Arthur Kingfisher, an important but physically and intellectually impotent literary theorist named in direct reference to Arthurian legend and the Fisher King , oversees a panel discussion, with the fate of the UNESCO chair at stake, about criticism where Swallow, Zapp, Morgana, and others present their opinions on what literary criticism is.

Zapp's kidnapping experience has cured him of his interest in deconstructionism.


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  6. Persse is then inspired to ask the panel, "What follows if everyone agrees with you? Persse finally finds Angelica and hears her read a paper about romances that directly reflects the structure of Small World itself:. After this talk, Persse sees Sybil Maiden, and tells her that Angelica is one of the twins that Sybil had found in the washroom of a KLM plane in , which causes Sybil Maiden to faint.