Lucky Jim

From Lucky Jim, the novel by Kingsley Amis that has come up at least twice a month since I’ve moved to Amherst:

They do not go to university to acquire culture , but to get a job, and when they have got one, scamp it. They have no manners, and are woefully unable to deal with any predicament. Their idea of a celebration is to go into a public house and drink six beers. They are mean, malicious and envious. They will write anonymous letters to harass a fellow undergraduate and listen into a telephone conversation that is no business of theirs. Charity, kindness, generosity are qualities which they hold in contempt. They are scum.

They will in due course leave the university. Some will doubtless sink back, perhaps with relief, into the modest class from which they have emerged; some will take to drink, some to crime, and go to prison. Others will become schoolmasters and form the young, or journalists and mould public opinion. A few will go into Parliament, become Cabinet Ministers and rule the country. I look upon myself as fortunate that I shall not live to see it.

An excerpt in the Daily Mail from the new Zachary Leader biography of him:

Kingsley Amis and his wife Hilly were on holiday in Yugoslavia and had stopped at a country hotel with a tree-shaded garden. They drank a pitcher of slivovitz, ate a good lunch, swam and sprawled in the sun. While her husband lay sleeping, Hilly took out her lipstick and wrote on his back: ‘One fat Englishman. I f*** anything.’

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