Kingsley Amis’s comic novel Lucky Jim, his debut novel, won the 1955 Somerset Maugham Award for Fiction. First published in the UK in 1953 by Victor Gollancz, followed in the US a year later. Famous for its slapstick set pieces, Lucky Jim regularly appears on ‘greatest novels’ lists.
The current edition by Penguin Modern Classics [below] dates from 2000.
Jim Dixon is a lecturer in medieval history at a red brick English university, he is on probation and afraid of losing his job. To establish his credentials he must publish a learned article but discovers that the editor, to whom he submitted it, has swiped it as his own and translated it into Italian. Jim’s on-off girlfriend Margaret tries emotional blackmail at a house party, a tactic which backfires when Jim takes a liking to another girl, Christine. The action climaxes at a lecture which Jim must give on ‘Merrie England’. Nervous, he has one too many drinks beforehand to calm his nerves, denounces arty pretentiousness, and passes out.
And my copy? Here it is.
Starring Ian Carmichael as Jim, the 1957 film of Lucky Jim was directed by John Boulting and also starred Terry Thomas and Hugh Griffith. The film received mixed reviews.
Watch this clip of the Madrigal scene.
BUY the DVD
In 2003 a television version was made starring Stephen Tomkinson as Jim and Keeley Hawes as Christine. Watch the trailer.
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
First Edition LUCKY JIM by Kingsley Amis #oldbooks #bookcovers https://wp.me/p5gEM4-43w via @SandraDanby