"As Far As You Can Go": Carnality and the Catholic Conscience in David Lodge's Fiction
O'Malley, Peter John
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CitationO'Malley, Peter John. 2006. "As Far As You Can Go": Carnality and the Catholic Conscience in David Lodge's Fiction. Master's thesis, Harvard University, Extension School.
AbstractThis thesis investigates the evolution of David Lodge's philosophy and depiction of sexuality and Catholicism in four of his novels spanning four decades: The British Museum Is Falling Down (1965), How Far Can You Go? (1980), Small World (1984), and Thinks . . . (2001). How does Lodge's experience growing up Catholic affect his attitude toward sexuality, and how do his views on sexuality influence his attitude toward the Church? Most critics have focused on the Catholic aspects of Lodge's fiction, or on his campus novels, but none have extensively connected how Lodge portrays both carnality and Catholicism in his work. A close reading of the novels is illuminated by Lodge's personal essays and interviews, as well as key aspects of Church doctrine and history such as the 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae, and recent polls of Catholic believers. This close reading shows a notable movement in Lodge's fiction from conservative acceptance of the Church's teachings, through full-blown rebellion against them, carnivalization of the Church's authority in the tradition of Rabelais and Bakhtin, and finally, development toward acceptance of a post-Christian, agnostic understanding of the world. Lodge is less authoritarian and more forgiving of human frailty than the Church, and recognizes, specifically, how its controversial stance on birth control calls into question its authority in more important issues. Sexual impulses are what drive the intellectual and spiritual seekers in Lodge's novels; understanding these impulses helps both the author and his creations find a synthesis between physical desire and the longings of what many call "the spirit."
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37367520
- DCE Theses and Dissertations