Understanding MA


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(To buy Understanding Martin Amis, Second Edition (2004) from amazon.com, click on the book cover or title)

Summary reviews of first edition:

From Book News, Inc. , February 1, 1996
A compact (5x7") but detailed reader's guide to Amis's novels, short stories, and nonfiction. Diedrick (English, Albion College) examines Amis's development as a writer through close analysis of his writing, from the informal trilogy of his first three novels to his 1995 novel The Information. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.

pixel Amazon.com Customer Reviews

5 out of 5 stars Astoundingly Insightful April 26, 2000
Reviewer: A reader from St. Paul, Minnesota
The author has provided an insightful and concise portrait of Amis and his work. I can't imagine that Amis himself could have done better. Diedrick really knows his subject.

5 out of 5 stars A must for any serious Amis scholar. November 2, 1999
Reviewer: A reader from U.S.
If you are doing research on Martin Amis, this is a book you will have to consider. Terrifically written.

5 out of 5 stars The best available critique of Martin Amis's work to date. October 24, 1999
Reviewer: A reader from Illinois
Prof. James Diedrick has written a great study of Martin Amis's work for both the general and scholarly audience. Complete in its scope, this book is a must for anyone studying Martin Amis's work.

From the AAUP Publisher's Web:

    Understanding Martin Amis, by James Diedrick, is the first full-length study of a writer whose work has generated controversy and acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. Drawing on uncollected interviews, reviews, and criticism, James Diedrick maps the distinctive features of Amis's fictional landscape, from the sociosexual satire of The Rachel Papers and Money to the bold experimentation of London Fields, Time's Arrow, and The Information. Diedrick argues that Amis's reputation as the "bad boy" of English letters is inseparable from his uncompromising social and artistic vision. Amis directly challenges the "genteel tradition" that still dominates British fiction, seeking forms adequate to the unsettling experience of postmodernity.

    Although much has been made of Martin Amis's relationship with his father, novelist Kingsley Amis, Diedrick reveals significant differences between the two. Martin Amis consistently opposed the political and aesthetic conservatism of his father. In the 1970s, as a member of the "New Oxford Wits," he was associated with the leading progressive journals in Britain, including the New Statesman. Diedrick shows how these experiences shaped his social outlook, and how they influenced his novels.

    Diedrick identifies two complementary impulses in Martin Amis's work: an incisive wit aimed at contemporary social realities and a love of verbal play and formal experimentation inspired by Vladimir Nabokov. While most of Diedrick's study analyzes Amis's fiction, where the topical is forged into enduring shape by the literary, he also argues for the importance of Amis's considerable journalistic oeuvre, and provides close readings of his two nonfiction collections, The Moronic Inferno and Visiting Mrs. Nabokov. Understanding Martin Amis gives students, scholars, and admirers of the British writer an overview of the characteristics that distinguish his work.

Chapter 1--"Nasty Things are Funny": The Rachel Papers, Dead Babies, Success
Chapter 2--Entering the Martian School: Other People: A Mystery Story
Chapter 3--Notes from the Urban Underground: Money
Chapter 4--In a Different Voice: Journalism and Other Nonfiction
Chapter 5--Apocalypse Now: Einstein's Monsters, London Fields, Time's Arrow
Chapter 6--Amis Agonistes: The Information.

Includes bibliographical references and index

Understanding contemporary British literature
Amis, Martin--Criticism and interpretation
LC: 95004367 Class: PR6051.M5
ISBN: 1-57003-058-8 Cloth in US: $34.95

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