Sunday, September 21, 2008

Five best books about social class

David Lodge is the author of Changing Places, Nice Work, and other novels, including the newly released Deaf Sentence.

He named a five best list of books on the subject of social class for the Wall Street Journal.

Number One on his list:
by H.G.Wells
Macmillan, 1905

No one knew the gradations of the English class system better than H.G. Wells, whose parents were servants in a great country house and who himself rose from an apprenticeship in a draper's shop to being one of the most famous men in the world. Arthur Kipps is another oppressed draper's apprentice who is released from wage-slavery -- in his case by an unexpected legacy -- but because of his deficiencies of character and education is unable to master the elaborate code of manners that regulated genteel society in Edwardian England. His total bafflement and humiliation as a guest in a luxury London hotel (at dinner, "a fork in his inexperienced hand was an instrument of chase rather than capture") is one of the comic peaks of English fiction.
Read about all five titles on Lodge's list.

--Marshal Zeringue