The Cultural Revolution in David Lodge’s Changing Places
Keywords: cultural revolution, david lodge, herbert marcuse, the new left, proletarian, radical
Utilizing Herbert Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man (1962) and Counterrevolution and Revolt (1972) as a theoretical backdrop, this article seeks to gauge the extent to which the teachings of the German philosopher and political theorist lay the groundwork for the protests mounted by the university students in David Lodge’s campus novel Changing Places (1975). Admittedly, the Student Revolution spilled over into numerous fields. However, given space restrictions, only its cultural manifestations will be examined. It will be clear that at the root of Lodge’s students’ uprising lies an overpowering urge to break with the cultural heritage and with the academics upholding it. It will be equally clear, nonetheless, these young activists’ faith in Marcuse’s political doctrine is unwelcome to conservative academics on the ground that it has diverse adverse effects on universities. Not only are politically oriented texts and discourses given precedence over traditional ones but also teachers and administrators are, at times, hindered from doing their duties. The plausible conclusion to draw, in the light of the research’s findings, is that although cultural revolutions undeniably pave the way for a number of personal and collective achievements and help us modernize many aspects of life, they should not blind us to the enduring significance of previous cultural traditions and of the aesthetic value of literary works.