“Deafinitely Lodgean…”

An interview with David Lodge


David Lodge’s Deaf Sentence (published in May 2008), is about ageing, deafness and death. It is also deeply touching, more “seriously funny” than ever, even though the author, a well-known novelist and literary critic, has his own usual way of dealing with those very serious themes, mixing up humour with what he has always been interested in: the fate of the human lot, religion and literature.
This novel bears the same characteristics as the novelist’s brilliant Rummidge campus trilogy or Thinks (2001), another academic novel located in Gloucester.Yet, this time, the story is set in an unnamed Northern town where the protagonist, Desmond Bates, a professor of linguistics who retired early, struggles with a predictable life he describes in his journal, his wife, Winifred, who is eight years younger and Mr Bates, his 89-year-old father, who refuses to leave his house until he is overtaken by illness and death – a comic and moving portrait of the father figure recalling that of Mr Wilcox in Nice Work (1988) or Mr Walsh in Paradise News (1991). The reader cannot therefore help smiling at the dramatic irony implied by Desmond’s remark while talking to his former colleague, Colin Butterworth: “It wouldn’t surprise me if we both turn up lightly disguised in a campus novel one of these days” (Lodge 2008a, 286). “Post-campus” might even be a better definition according to some critics (Lichtig 2008, 22), though this is a term that does not entirely satisfy the writer.

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“From Then to Now and Next”

An interview with David Lodge

by François GALLIX, Vanessa GUIGNERY, Sophie GABEREL-PAYEN

I. An introduction

David Lodge’s latest book, Author, Author, published in 2004, appears as a complete change of direction in his literary production. Even though the indication “novel” appears on the cover of the book, the generic status of Author, Author is uncertain, hesitating between the historical novel and the biography. The book reads like a fascinating novel displaying narrative tricks, a polyphony of voices, a play on focalisation and strategies of suspense, but it is also a selective biography of Henry James containing a few invented episodes which Lodge enumerates and comments upon in the acknowledgements.

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“Betty Fisher et autres Histoires”.

Entretien avec Claude Miller

C’est dans les bureaux des « Films de la Boissière » que cet entretien avec Claude Miller a eu lieu le 11 janvier 2002. L’occasion pour le cinéaste d’évoquer les relations parfois ambiguës qu’entretiennent écriture romanesque et écriture filmique, et plus spécifiquement son film Betty Fisher et autres histoires, adapté du roman de Ruth Rendell, The Tree of Hands.

Sophie Gaberel-Payen : Vous semblez beaucoup apprécier la littérature anglo-saxonne notamment pour son mélange des genres. Vous avez adapté, entre autres, des romans de Patricia Highsmith, John Wainwright, Ruth Rendell. Dans Betty Fisher et autres histoires vous faites même un clin d’œil à l’auteur (lorsque Alex se rend dans la bibliothèque pour chercher de l’argent après que sa maîtresse fut partie) et l’on voit apparaître un livre portant le nom de Ruth Rendell…

Claude Miller : Ah, oui. C’est une chose qui est arrivée (je crois que ce n’était même pas dans le scénario), en repérant le décor. Il y avait un endroit où il y avait une bibliothèque et je me suis dit que ce serait amusant : un coup de chapeau et un hommage à Rendell. C’est ce que je me suis amusé à faire.
Sinon, les romans anglo-saxons, je m’en rends compte depuis peu, ce n’était pas du tout conscient de ma part. Mais il y a une raison qui me paraît assez simple qui est que, par tradition (en tout cas au 20ème siècle, il me semble), la littérature anglo-saxonne est assez phénoménologique.

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