Changing Places

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Changing Places
Changing Places.JPG
First edition
AuthorDavid Lodge
CountryUnited Kingdom
GenreCampus novel
PublisherSecker & Warburg
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardcover, paperback)
Followed bySmall 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. It is the first text in Lodge's 'Campus Trilogy' of novels, followed by Small World (1984) and Nice Work (1988).


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 realising 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 home 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]


  1. ^ Mullan, John (4 August 2001). "Satanic Majesties". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 February 2011.

External links[edit]