Critical Context

The deliberate blurring, or erasing, of all defining, and therefore confining, lines pervades Small World and indeed all of Lodge’s imaginative and especially critical writings. One of the distinguishing features of his criticism is the way in which Lodge successfully combines theory and practice and in this way avoids the abstraction of the one and the narrowness of the other. Small World evidences Lodge’s desire to balance opposing views, to play each against the other. It is a tendency that is perhaps most obvious in the “duplex chronicle” of Changing Places and that is perhaps most effectively used in Souls and Bodies (first published in Great Britain as How Far Can You Go?, 1980). It is certainly most exuberantly present in Small World, a novel that fully embodies that quality of the dialogical novel that Bakhtin aptly called “joyful relativity.”