Changing Places

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This article is about the novel by David Lodge. To read about the thought experiment conceived by Max Velmans, see Changing places. For the album by Tord Gustavsen see Changing Places (album)
Changing Places
Changing Places.JPG
First edition
Author David Lodge
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Campus novel
Publisher Secker & Warburg
Publication date
1975
Media type Print (hardcover, paperback)
Followed by Small World: An Academic Romance

Changing Places (1975) is the first "campus novel" by British novelist David Lodge. The subtitle is "A Tale of Two Campuses", and thus both the title and subtitle are literary allusions to Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities. A successful sequel, Small World, was published in 1984.

Synopsis[edit]

Changing Places is a comic novel with serious undercurrents. It tells the story of the six-month academic exchange program between fictional universities located in Rummidge (modelled on Birmingham in England) and Plotinus, in the state of Euphoria (modeled on Berkeley in California). The two academics taking part in the exchange are both aged 40, but appear at first to otherwise have little in common, mainly because of the differing academic systems of their native countries.

The English participant, Philip Swallow, is a very conventional and conformist British academic, and somewhat in awe of the American way of life. By contrast the American, Morris Zapp, is a top-ranking American professor who only agrees to go to Rummidge because his wife agrees to postpone long-threatened divorce proceedings on condition that he move out of the marital home for six months. Zapp is at first both contemptuous of, and amused by, what he perceives as the amateurism of British academia.

As the exchange progresses, however, both Swallow and Zapp find that they begin to fit in surprisingly well to their new environments. In the course of the story, each man has an affair with the other's wife. Before that, Swallow sleeps with Zapp's daughter Melanie, without realizing who she is. She, however, takes up with a former undergraduate student of his, Charles Boon.

Swallow and Zapp even consider remaining permanently. The book ends with the two couples convened in a New York hotel room to decide their fates. The novel ends without a clear-cut decision, though the sequel Small World: An Academic Romance, reveals that Swallow and Zapp returned to their respective countries and domestic situations.

Biographical basis[edit]

David Lodge has stated that the character of Morris Zapp was inspired by the literary critic Stanley Fish.[1]

References[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ Mullan, John (2001-08-04). "Satanic Majesties". Guardian.com. Retrieved 2011-02-22. 

External links[edit]