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One Fat Englishman by Kingsley Amis. New York. 1964. Harcourt Brace World. hardcover. 192 pages. Jacket design by Janet Halverson. 

 

 

one fat englishmanFROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   ‘Roger, do you mind if I ask you a personal question?’ says Helene Bang, a beautiful Danish-American to the hero of the funniest novel Kingsley Amis has yet written. ‘Why are you so awful?’ Part of the awfulness of Roger Micheldene, an English publisher at large in the United States, is snobbery. (‘Very angst-producing, being a snob,’ says Roger.) There are also the seven deadly sins, of which he considers himself qualified in gluttony, sloth, and lust, and distinguished in anger. As he spends an October week or two shuttling between New York and the environs of Budweiser College in Pennsylvania, his snobbery and gluttony and anger are too rampant to leave much room for sloth, and his lust for the dazzling Helene drives him to extremes. Turning his relentless gaze upon the American way of life, Kingsley Amis has been inspired to create other notable figures: the precocious undergraduate author of a way-out novel, who proposes to goad Roger into behaving spontaneously; an earnest young priest, who incurs Roger’s loathing by assuring him that his soul is at variance with God; an alcoholic literary agent’s nymphomaniacal wife, who occasionally succeeds in distracting Roger from Helene. They are presented with glee and gusto and the keenest wit, but it is Roger Micheldene - at once a prototype of the insufferable Englishman and a brilliantly realized individual sufficiently human to win our sneaking sympathy – who dominates a supremely entertaining comedy of bad manners.

Amis KingsleyKingsley Amis was born in South London in 1922 and was educated at the City of London School and at St John’s College, Oxford, of which he is an Honorary Fellow. Between 1949 and 1963 he taught at the University College of Swansea, Princeton University and Peterhouse, Cambridge. He started his career as a poet and has continued to write in that medium ever since. His novels include LUCKY JIM (1954). TAKE A GIRL LIKE YOU (1960), THE ANTI-DEATH LEAGUE (1966), ENDING UP (1974), THE ALTERATION (1976), JAKE’S THING (1978) and STANLEY AND THE WOMEN (1984). His novel, THE OLD DEVILS, won the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1986. Among his other publications are NEW MAPS OF HELL, a survey of science fiction (1960), RUDYARD KIPLING AND HIS WORLD (1975) and THE GOLDEN AGE OF SCIENCE FICTION (1981). He published his COLLECTED POEMS in 1979, and has also edited THE NEW OXFORD BOOK OF LIGHT VERSE and THE FABER POPULAR RECITER. Kingsley Amis was awarded the CBE in 1981.

 

 

 

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