Although Kingsley Amis's acid satire of postwar British academic life has lost some of its bite in the four decades since it was published, it's still a rewarding read. And there's no denying how big an impact it had back then-- could be considered the first shot in the Oxbridge salvo that brought us , , and so much more.
In , Amis introduces us to Jim Dixon, a junior lecturer at a British college who spends his days fending off the legions of malevolent twits that populate the school. His job is in constant danger, often for good reason. hits the heights whenever Dixon tries to keep a preposterous situation from spinning out of control, which is every three pages or so. The final example of this--a lecture spewed by a hideously pickled Dixon--is a chapter's worth of comic nirvana. The book is not politically correct (Amis wasn't either), but take it for what it is, and you won't be disappointed.
Inside Mr Enderby is a the first volume in the four-book Enderby series of comic novels by the British author Anthony Burgess.
The book was first published in 1963 in London by William Heinemann under the pseudonym Joseph Kell. The series began in 1963 with the publication of this book, and concluded in 1984 with Enderby's Dark Lady, or No End to Enderby (after a ten year break following the publication of the third novel in the series, The Clockwork Testament, or Enderby's End).
The story opens on a note of pure fantasy, showing schoolchildren from the future taking a field trip through time to see the dyspeptic poet Francis Xavier Enderby while he is asleep. Enderby, a lapsed Catholic in his mid-40's, lives alone in Brighton as a 'professional' poet – his income being interest from investments left to him by his stepmother.
Enderby composes his poetry whilst seated on the toilet. His bathtub, which serves as a filing cabinet, is almost full of the mingled paper and food scraps that represent his efforts. Although he is recognised as a minor poet with several published works (and is even awarded a small prize, the 'Goodby Gold Medal', which he refuses), he has yet to be anthologised.
He is persuaded to leave his lonely but poetically fruitful bachelor life by the editor of a woman's magazine, Vesta Bainbridge, after he accidentally sends her a love poem instead of a complaint about a recipe in her magazine. The marriage, which soon ends, costs Enderby dearly, alienating him from his muse and depriving him of his financial independence.
Months pass, and Enderby is able to write only one more poem. After spending what remains of his capital, he attempts suicide with an overdose of aspirin, experiencing disgusting (and rather funny) visions of his stepmother as he nears death. His cries of horror bring help, and he regains consciousness in a mental institution, where the doctors persuade him to renounce his old, "immature" poetry-writing self. Rechristened "Piggy Hogg", he looks forward contentedly to a new career as a bartender.
"A brilliant and breathless performance…vintage Burgess… The whole performance stuns." – The Boston Globe
"Readers will howl with laughter – a wickedly amusing book." – The Atlantic Monthly
"Resurrected by popular request… Enderby the poet stalks about in this fourth Enderby novel, the mouthpiece, as usual, of his author's concern for language and sardonic, sometimes sour appraisal of modern popular culture… Burgess displays the uncanny ear for dialect for which he is noted and, with customary bravado, opens and closes his story with Will Shakespeare himself." – Publishers Weekly
"Enderby / Burgess is an absolutely hilarious and sage observer of people, language and life: There are at least a dozen moments in this short book which will make you laugh out loud." – San Francisco Examiner-Chronicle
"Enderby is one of Burgess' funniest literary inventions, combining verbal virtuosity with world-class eccentricity." – Houston Post
"Literate, funny and smart." – Playboy
"Here is a writer who can make the plausible comic and the comic plausible. In the process he enriches our sense of what it means to enjoy life." – San Diego Union
The Unadulterated Cat is becoming an endangered species as more and more of us settle for those boring mass-produced cats the ad-men sell us—the pussies that purr into their gold-plated food bowls on the telly. But the Campaign for Real Cats sets out to change all that by helping us to recognise a true, unadulterated cat when we see one.
For example: real cats have ears that look like they've been trimmed with pinking shears; real cats never wear flea collars… or appear on Christmas cards… or chase anything with a bell in it; real cats do eat quiche. And giblets. And butter. And anything else left on the table, if they think they can get away with it. Real cats can hear a fridge door opening two rooms away…
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