In 2012, when New York Review Books Classics began to reissue the best of Kingsley Amis’s books, a writer named Matthew Walther speculated about why the King had been out of print (with the exception of Lucky Jim) for so long. “Academic snobbery,” Walther wrote, “must also be inculpated: the Amis oeuvre tenaciously avoids subsumption into fashionable critical narratives, and Girl, 20 will never appear on an American college syllabus.” Put in plainer terms, the Amis oeuvre contains entirely too much casual sexism, misogyny, bigotry, and xenophobia, and too much not-so-casual drunkenness, for it ever to be allowed on campus. If certain works must come with “trigger warnings,” Amis’s novels call for something like the inscription proposed for the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository.

Yet one would be...


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