Kingsley Amis Long Fiction Analysis
Kingsley Amis’s fiction is characterized by a recurring preoccupation with certain themes and concepts, with certain basic human experiences, attitudes, and perceptions. These persistent themes are treated with enormous variety, however, particularly in Amis’s novels that draw on theconventions of genre fiction—the mystery, the spy thriller, the ghost story, and so on. Of the more than twenty novels Amis published, his development as a seriocomic novelist is especially apparent in Lucky Jim, Take a Girl Like You, The Anti-Death League, The Green Man, The Old Devils, The Folks That Live on the Hill, and The Russian Girl, his most substantial and complex works, each of which is representative of a specific stage in his career. All these novels are set in contemporary England. Drawing on a variety of traditional techniques of good storytelling—good and bad characters, simple irony, straightforward plot structure, clear point of view—they restate, in a variety of ways, the traditional pattern of tragedy: A man, divided and complex, vulnerable both to the world and to himself, is forced to make choices that will determine his destiny. Built into this situation is the probability that he will bring down suffering on his head and injure others in the process.
In Lucky Jim, for example, Amis establishes a comic acceptance of many of life’s injustices in the academic world. The...
(The entire section is 5160 words.)
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