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The Egyptologists by Kingsley Amis & Robert Conquest. New York. 1966. Random House. keywords: Literature England. 247 pages.

A very funny story about male subterfuge and the war between the sexes, precisely the kind of story that Kingsley Amis tells so well. 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Every Thursday night in certain parts of London, husbands kiss their wives and then hurry off to attend the weekly meeting of a certain exclusive learned society. Jekyll-like, these men shed their air of scholarly absorption as they near headquarters-a building situated at a specially selected hard-to-find address, where a plaque, inscribed in specially designed hard-to-decipher lettering, reads: METROPOLITAN EGYPTOLOGICAL SOCIETY. Should the reader be at first in some doubt as to the real nature of the activities of the Egyptologists, it is only to be expected. The members' expertise in camouflage and deception has baffled the most perceptive people, and at various times the Society has been suspected of engaging in espionage, in drug-smuggling, in the activity implied by its all-male membership-and even in Egyptology. Why does the Society protect itself so vigilantly against inquiring outsiders? What is the significance of the safeguards listed in Article 22 of its Constitution? And what goes on behind the locked doors of its Isis Room? Hint: if even a fraction of the lecherous males of the world adopted the brilliant masquerade conceived by the authors in this engaging farce, learned societies would proliferate by the thousands.

Kingsley Amis, born in London in 1922, was educated at the City of London School and St. John's College, Oxford. During World II he was a lieutenant in the Royal Corps of Signals. From 1949 to 1961 he was Lecturer in English at various universities in Great Britain, and also fulfilled an appointment as Visiting Lecturer at Princeton in 1958-59. Mr. Amis won immediate attention with his first novel, Lucky Jim, and has since written four others, as well as a collection of short stories, two books of poetry and a critical survey of science fiction. Born in 1917,

Robert Conquest was educated at Winchester and Oxford, served in a line regiment in World War II and afterward in the British Diplomatic Service, Since 1956 he has interspersed free-lance writing with academic appointments at the London School of Economics and the Columbia University Russian Institute, among others, He has also been the Literary Editor of the Spectator. Mr. Conquest is the author of two books of poems, a science-fiction novel, five works of Soviet political and literary themes, and, with Kingsley Amis, has edited the science-fiction 'Spectrum' anthologies.

 

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