The Life of Kingsley Amis

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Mar 12, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 1008 pages
Here is the authorized, definitive biography of one of the most controversial figures of twentieth-century literature, renowned for his blistering intelligence, savage wit and belligerent fierceness of opinion: Kingsley Amis was not only the finest comic novelist of his generation–having first achieved prominence with the publication of Lucky Jim in 1954 and as one of the Angry Young Men–but also a dominant figure in post—World War II British writing as novelist, poet, critic and polemicist.

In The Life of Kingsley Amis, Zachary Leader, acclaimed editor of The Letters of Kingsley Amis, draws not only on unpublished works and correspondence but also on interviews with a wide range of Amis’s friends, relatives, fellow writers, students and colleagues, many of whom have never spoken out before. The result is a compulsively readable account of Amis’s childhood, school days and life as a student at Oxford, teacher, critic, political and cultural commentator, professional author, husband, father and lover. Even as he makes the case for Amis’s cultural
centrality–at his death Time magazine claimed that “the British decades between 1955 and 1995 should in fairness be called ‘the Amis era’”–Leader explores the writer’s phobias, self-doubts and ambitions; the controversies in which he was embroiled; and the role that drink played in a life bedeviled by erotic entanglements, domestic turbulence and personal disaster.

Dazzling for its thoroughness, psychological acuity and elegant style, The Life of Kingsley Amis is exemplary: literary biography at its very best.
 

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The life of Kingsley Amis

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Leader's (English, Univ. of Roehampton, U.K.; editor,The Letters of Kingsley Amis ) biography of novelist, poet, essayist, and journalist Kingsley Amis (1922-95) was authorized by the subject's son ... Read full review

Contents

Family
10
Reading and Writing
35
City of London
52
Wartime Oxford
92
The War
128
Postwar Oxford
161
Oxford and Eynsham
204
Swansea
234
Patrick and Dai
426
Cambridge
449
Waking Beauty
471
Breakup
500
zi Divisions
569
Dissolution
642
Nadir
684
Return
731

Making Lucky Jim
257
Fame and Friendship
279
T2 Uncertain Feelings
300
Fun
317
Abroad 33
330
Widening Horizons
352
Princeton
383
Ending Up
766
Afterlife
811
Notes
827
Bibliography
943
Index 961
960
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About the author (2009)

Zachary Leader is a professor of English literature at Roehampton University in England. Among his books are studies of Romantic poetry and modern British fiction. Leader edited The Letters of Kingsley Amis (“One of the last major monuments of the epistolary art.”
The Sunday Telegraph).

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