Books: Gypsy Scholars Small World

by David Lodge Macmillan; 339 pages; $15.95

"An Academic Romance," the subtitle of Author David Lodge's seventh novel, seems at first glance a contradiction in terms. Even those who have read no more deeply in this field than Kingsley Amis' Lucky Jim (1954) know that works of fiction set on campus are supposed to be funny, not fond. As it turns out, those looking for laughs will hardly be disappointed by Small World. But Lodge, 50, who is also a critic and a literature professor at the University of Birmingham in England, sees the humor in academic life and something else besides: a number of the principal players...

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