Spatial Interpretation of David Lodge’s “Small World”

David Lodge (1935-) is a famous contemporary British novelist and literary critic, who has published 15 novels and 15 works of literary criticism. Rocky’s “Campus Trilogy” – “Transposition”, “Small World” and “Good Job” have become his masterpieces. “Small World” is the second part of the “Campus Trilogy”. There are many characters with different backgrounds and experiences, but most of them are scholars and intellectuals. This novel focuses on the story of a group of intellectuals traveling around the world to participate in various literary seminars in the “University of the World”, in order to reveal scholars’ exploration of the complex and diverse academic and social. “Small World” is an academic world. In the narrative, the space switching between different scholars at the same time is realized, creating a lifelike space effect.
   Ruth Ronen, in his essay “Space in Fiction” (1986), proposes three forms of organization of space in narrative works: 1) continuous space (a text containing multiple contiguous consecutive 2) Heterogeneous spaces that are interrupted by each other, but under special circumstances, characters can communicate directly across spaces; 3) Heterogeneous spaces that cannot communicate directly, only through transfer Metaphor (metalepsis), characters can communicate in this space (such as nested narratives, dreams, books, etc.) [1]14. “Small World” has many characters and a loose plot. The story space and academic space of different scholars are several heterogeneous spaces interrupted by each other. However, scattered and clustered exchanges can be carried out on airplanes, letters, and various academic conferences to achieve heterogeneity. The effect of physical space communication and integration. This article analyzes the use of heterogeneous spaces interrupted by each other among the three spatial structure forms in “Small World”, and thus excavates the construction of space in “Small World” and its role in organizing narratives and theme transmission.
   1. Spatial separation
   “Small World” is Lodge’s reappearance of the status quo of academic exchanges and pursuit of fame and fortune in contemporary Western academic circles. In the novel, the chronological order is downplayed, and the plot is spliced ​​randomly in fragments, which are relatively loose. It mainly unfolds with the juxtaposition of three story lines: Perth’s pursuit of love, Zapp’s pursuit of fame and fortune, and Swallow’s pursuit of lust. Each parallel story line is presented as an independent closed space, and “seeking the Holy Grail” is used as its plot structure. The similarity of the plots also strengthens the closed effect of the space. “Small World” depicts a global university where scholars pursue their ideals and realize their aspirations in life. The academic small world of this global university shows obvious social hierarchy, revealing the class nature of scholars’ academic space. The Lumiqi described in the first section of the first part as a whole space is actually divided into several overlapping heterogeneous spaces interrupted by each other.
   (1) The closedness of the space: the juxtaposition of multiple story spaces
   In “Small World”, the traditional linear narrative mode is broken. “The story of “Small World” took place in April 1979 and ended on the last day of December[2]79″. Although the whole story of “Small World” is basically a linear narrative, the linear narrative is often interrupted by other events happening at the same time, and the event fragments are randomly collaged. The novel takes Perth, Zapp and Swallow as the main characters, and the whole story, characters and plots are a parody of the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table in search of the Holy Grail in the Middle Ages. The story space of the three protagonists unfolds linearly, independent of each other, and develops in parallel to form their own closed space.
   The first part of the novel begins with Perth meeting his holy grail of love—Angelica. After Lumich’s seminar ends and Angelica disappears, Perth spends all his savings running around one academic seminar after another to find his love holy grail. Perth started from Lumichael, went to London, Amsterdam, Geneva, Lausanne, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Tokyo, Seoul (the old name of Seoul), and then to Jerusalem, and finally gathered in the United States with many scholars. The story line of Perth’s pursuit of Angelica is often broken by story fragments of other scholars such as Zapp and Swallow, making the storylines of each scholar unfold in parallel. Zapp pursues the Holy Grail of fame and fortune, and frequently participates in literary seminars in order to “become the highest paid professor of English and American literature in the world before retirement” [3]. He ran around for a notional UNESCO presidency with an annual salary of $100,000, writing flattering letters to the person in charge, Arthur Kingfisher, asking for his favor in “the most flattering terms[3]” A copy of his “excellent lead presentation[3]” at the “Crisis of Symbols[3]” seminar. But even so, Zapp did not end up with the chairmanship. “Scholars who cannot find satisfaction and self-confidence in academic research turn to all kinds of sex and adventure” [4]. Swallow is one of them, attending various academic seminars in order to take risks. Life experience in America made him yearn for American-style freedom, he said, “I think what we are looking for is passion in life experience. We know we can no longer find it at home, but we always hope that we can find it abroad. hope” [3]. He once developed an unforgettable love with Joey after finishing an academic conference in Italy, and had many private meetings with Joey under the guise of academic conferences. He attended various academic conferences many times to find passion, and developed an extramarital affair with his student Sandra. But when he was misdiagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease at the “Future of Criticism” seminar in Jerusalem, Joey abandoned him, and eventually he returned to the arms of his wife Hilary.
   In “Small World”, scholars represented by Perth, Zapp and Swallow pursued their own Holy Grail respectively to form a closed space that does not interfere with each other and develop in parallel, and there are certain similarities in the plots. Scholars are desperate and trying their best to pursue their respective Holy Grails, but they often fail and lose their lives. Perth pursues Angelica from Lumich to the American Language Association Annual Conference, the goddess seems to be close at hand, but it is always desirable; Zap travels around, studies the position of chairman, and finally ends in failure; and Swallow pursues passion , under the guise of an academic conference to develop an extramarital affair, went around and returned to his wife Hillary.
   The plot of Perth, Zapp and Swallow’s quest for the Holy Grail is often interrupted by the narration of plot events by other scholars. Although this random collage of plot fragments interrupts the linear narrative of the novel, it highlights the The spatial effect produced by the juxtaposition of the units of meaning (that is, the stories of different scholars) that make up the whole novel. The book “A Small World” juxtaposes the stories of more than a dozen scholars who pursue fame and wealth, sex orgy, or material enjoyment. The novel does not have a clear center, and the stories of many characters are interspersed and scattered in the five eleven sections of “Small World” in the form of fragments. Perth is not the protagonist, and his pursuit of Angelica is more of a connection. function of the whole novel. Numerous chaotic and complex space debris made the relationship between scholars and things unclear, but all the scholars finally met at the annual meeting of the Modern Language Association of America. This is true for Perth, Zapp, and Swallow… We can combine story fragments scattered throughout “Small World”, piece them together, and disassemble them from other stories to form an independent story space for a certain scholar. It is also possible to add more story fragments of scholars to “Small World” to construct a more complex story space. The closed spaces of several scholars are juxtaposed in parallel, and “Small World” becomes “Perth’s World”, “Swallow’s World”, “Zapp’s World”, “Angelica’s World” and so on Separate worlds of different scholars. When readers pay attention to the story of a certain scholar, all the scholars in other spaces disappear, and only the characters and events in this closed space are left in front of the readers.

   “A Small World” repeats and juxtaposes the pursuit of the Holy Grail plot in parallel. In addition, the plot of sexual behavior, the plot of seminar speeches, and the plot of participating in conferences also repeatedly appear in different scholars. Like impotent Arthur Kingfisher having sex with his graduate student Songmi Lee, Swallow having sex with Hilary, Swallow having sex with Joey, Fulvia and Zapp having sex Sex games etc. The plots of different scholars are similar, which keeps each scholar’s independent story space closed, and at the same time connects with the stories of other scholars to build a good narrative framework. And a new closed space is formed between characters and stories with similar plots.
   (2) The class nature of space: the class stratification of academic space
   “Small World” portrays the academic small world in which chasing fame and fortune and seeking pleasure prevails, revealing the clear class nature of academic space. The novel portrays many characters with various identities, and they can be roughly divided into three academic classes: the class of young scholars, the class of veteran scholars, and the class of academic giants. The class of young scholars is represented by Perth, a fledgling academic newcomer. The experienced and sophisticated “old fritters” Zapp and Swallow are representatives of the class of old scholars. The well-known academic tycoon Arthur is an academic giant A symbol of class. Fame and authority build the class skeleton of the academic space and determine the class stratification of scholars. The role setting in “A Small World” also shows Lodge’s understanding of the composition and classization of the academic space at that time.
   “Small World” presents a hierarchical academic space. In “Small World”, “knowledge alienation has become a bargaining chip for scholars to pursue fame and fortune and work for material enjoyment, and knowledge has become a tool for obtaining money, status and material enjoyment” [5]. The prestige and status of different scholars are different, and there is a hidden class attribute among scholars, which affects the behavior of scholars in a subtle way. At the Rummidge seminar, Angelica said to Perth, who was attending the meeting for the first time: “You have to be careful with these professors, Perth” “You have to flatter them” [3]; Skinner asked Oxford University’s Professor Parkinson reviewed the manuscript from Perth. Parkinson said: “Why does he think I will review the nonsense of some unknown Irish bumpkin? Some people really abuse the teachers who have had it. relationship” [3]. The description of these scenes makes the conflicts and contradictions brought about by the class differences between old scholars and young scholars presented in the academic space.
   In addition to the class stratification constructed by veteran scholars and young scholars, there are also “academic giants” at the top of the class stratum in the academic space. The novel opens with a symposium in Rummidge, whose turnout was disappointing, mainly because “there was not a single person worth running ten miles to meet, let alone many who traveled hundreds of miles.” Miles”[3] made this meeting lack the actual value of making friends with celebrities and currying favor with authorities, which greatly disappointed the participants. In “A Small World”, the person who assumes the role of such an “academic figure” is Arthur King Fisher, who is also a veteran of the international literary theory circle, an emeritus professor at Columbia University and the University of Zurich, and an editorial consultant for academic journals, etc. position, and is one of the main evaluators of candidates for the chairmanship of the UNESCO Commission for Literary Criticism. In stark contrast to his identities are the scholars represented by Zapp who are rushing for the chairmanship, thus class conflicts unfold here. For example, in order to “become the highest paid professor of English and American literature in the world before retirement”[3], Zapp delved around to inquire about the position of chairman, and wrote an enthusiastic letter inviting Arthur to attend the “Critical Future” seminar. mentions Arthur’s semi-Jewishness for the first time and flatters him as an outstanding scholar. Zapp believed that “if only he could have been with Arthur Kingfisher for a week or so, he would have been able to coax him with sweet words and sweet talk, and make the old fellow see him. Candidates for the Chairman of the Literary Criticism Committee”[3]. Siegfried, who was also interested in the chairmanship, also called Arthur King Fisher to find out what he thought of the chairmanship, and said kindly to Arthur, “Since I was in the “New York Review of Books” We have been good friends since reviewing the fourth volume of your Collected Works”[3].
   The class skeleton of the academic space built with fame and authority divides many scholars with different experiences and backgrounds into three representative classes. As a member of each academic class, they represent their own interests and class interests. The academic space portrayed in “Small World” visualizes the class conflicts among young scholars, veteran scholars, and academic giants. The unhealthy atmosphere in the academic world at that time was also fully exposed, highlighting the author’s hypocrisy and dissatisfaction with the scholars in Vanity Fair. Intriguing irony.
   2. Spatial integration
   Ruth Ronon’s space theory emphasizes that heterogeneous spaces interrupted by each other, under special circumstances, characters can directly communicate across spaces. The path to achieve cross-space communication mainly includes one-on-one scattered communication between scholars by means of chance encounters, letters and telephone communication, and group communication among several scholars based on academic conferences. In “Small World”, the personal space of each scholar is closed and self-contained, and the decentralized communication space is the intersection of the closed spaces among scholars, realizing short-term communication between individuals; the collective communication space is closed for several scholars The meeting point of the space realizes the communication between the groups. Distributed or clustered communication spaces also provide opportunities for informal contact between different classes within the academic space. The communication and integration of space makes independent and unrelated characters and plots related to each other, complements the framework of the story, provides background information, builds the spatial structure of “Small World”, and makes the novel more three-dimensional.
   (1) Decentralized communication space: the intersection of heterogeneous spaces
   “Small World” uses chance encounters, letters, and telephones as communication carriers between closed spaces of various scholars to realize decentralized communication in heterogeneous spaces. The first part of the novel proposes that “three things have revolutionized academic life in the past twenty years, though few people are aware of the fact: jet travel, direct-dial telephones, and photocopiers[3]”. Subsequently, “the era of a single, static university has passed” [3], and the global university was the state of the academic world at that time. In a global university, scholars do not need to work in the same institution to achieve communication, and writing letters or making phone calls realizes decentralized communication between scholars in closed spaces.
   The story fragments are interspersed and juxtaposed with each other, breaking the linear development space of narrative events and connecting individual scholars with groups. For example, in the second section of Chapter 2, Morris met Fulvia on the plane. Fulvia, who majored in cultural studies, and Morris discussed deconstruction on the British Airways Trident plane flying to Milan, and completed a dispersal The spatial exchange between scholars of sex; Ronald in Greenwich and Akira Sakazaki in Osaka, Japan, exchanged books on the translation of books through multiple letters; the literary editors of London dailies and weeklies often gave Rudyard Parkinson Telephone appointments and Felix Snagin calling mentor Rudyard Parkinson to review Perth McGarrigal’s outline; Siegfried in Berlin Ser King Fisher made phone calls to insinuate information about the chairman of UNESCO’s new Commission for Literary Criticism, etc. The small world creates a space that connects characters in different situations.
   “Small World” also creates a short space for communication to realize the interpretation and research of literary theory. The novel is filled with a large number of literary criticism theories, including structuralism, deconstruction, romantic romance, Marxist post-structuralism, psychoanalysis, etc., and explains and explains these theories. A striking example is Cheryl’s study and interpretation of romance literature. As an ordinary employee employed by Heathrow Airport, Cheryl has contact with many characters in the novel, including Perth and Angelica. Cheryl met Angelica by chance and began to read the romantic and legendary literature “The Fairy Queen” under her influence. Just when the hero Perth followed Angelica to Heathrow Airport again, he borrowed the book “The Fairy Queen” from Cheryl and learned of Angelica’s whereabouts. In Encounters with Perth, Cheryl provides an analysis and overview of romance literature: “A true romance is a narrative that preceded the novel. It is full of adventure, coincidence, accident, and wonder, many There are many characters who disappear, or are possessed, or wander around looking for each other, or looking for the Holy Grail and whatnot. Of course, they are often in love…” [3] Cheryl’s passage is exactly the plot of romantic romance literature And the summary and induction of the theme, and also hints that “A Small World”-Scholar Romans is Lodge’s parody of legendary stories such as King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table in the European Middle Ages.

   By reorganizing the scattered communication space, the closed space of various scholars who were atomized and independent in the past is integrated, so as to realize the reconstruction of relationship and the reproduction of space. For example, in the first section of the third part, Perth and Ronald met at the Royal Academy of Letters Awards Reception in London. Frobisher told Perth that the reason why he had been exhausted for a long time and could not write novels was that Dempsey used a computer to dissect his writing patterns six years ago. When his writing was dissected, he would consciously avoid this pattern, and this deliberateness caused him to lose his creative inspiration. In the third part of the fourth book of the novel, Perth follows Angelica and finally meets her and her twin sister Lili’s adoptive father Herman Pabst in Los Angeles. The short exchange between the two explained the story background of the sisters Angelica being abandoned, adopted, and rebelling in different ways when they grew up. Short-term communications such as airplanes, letters, and telephone calls are scattered in various parts of Rocky’s “Small World”. With the short-term “encounter” and “communication”, the original story framework is perfected, the mystery of the story is revealed, and the realization of the story is realized. The jumps and connections between the closed spaces of different scholars have constructed the communication thread of the closed spaces of various scholars, and a new mixed collective space has been reorganized.
   (2) Clustered communication space: the gathering point of heterogeneous spaces
   In “Small World”, the realization of communication in heterogeneous spaces uses scattered planes, letters, and telephones as communication carriers, and is integrated with clustered academic conference spaces. Complement each other. Small World focuses on the Rummidge Symposium, the 7th International Congress of Literary Semioticians in Amsterdam, the James Joyce International Symposium in Zurich, the Future of Criticism Symposium in Jerusalem, and the Held five international seminars at the annual meeting of the Modern Language Association of America. Each seminar has become an ideal space for many scholars to complete exchanges. Clustered seminars are a diverse fusion of people and space. Scholars from all over the world gather for seminars, which first realize the integration of physical space; in the eyes of scholars, seminars are a vanity fair that enhances their status and prestige, making class conflicts more important in academic circles. The space is presented; at the same time, during the process of participating in the conference, the independent and closed academic spaces of many scholars are also exchanged and integrated.
   “The participants in the seminar showed a clear sense of social class” [2] 162. “The real reason for the existence of the conference[3]” is not the “schedule of papers and reports[3]”, but the “informal contact[3]” among the participants. Every symposium is an academic dinner, and scholars are busy wandering in it, devoting themselves to making friends with authorities and improving their academic status. Zapp is a skilled participant and is well versed in the law of survival of the “Global University”: “For those who are of the same status as oneself, no amount of flattery can be excessive” [3]. Therefore, he frantically participated in various academic conferences, asking around for the position of chairman of the Literary Criticism Committee. The important purpose of participating in academic seminars is not paper reports, nor board and lodging subsidies, conference subsidies, etc., but to get acquainted with authorities, improve academic status, and achieve class leapfrogging. “The annual meeting of the American Language Association is the ‘big guy’ among various seminars. It is a huge meeting. It is a large and lively gathering of literati and bachelors” [3]. Here, young scholars are looking for jobs with full of hope, and old scholars are trying to find another job. The American Language Association Annual Conference is also the largest social platform and buying and selling market in academia. Scholars who are also in the physical space and academic space of the seminar, there is no distinction between high and low academic theories or research directions. Under the seemingly similar appearance, there are huge class differences . In addition, mobility between different classes is poor, and it usually takes a lot of effort to achieve class leaps. The holding of the symposium provides an opportunity for young scholars, veteran scholars, and academic giants of different academic classes to co-exist in the same physical space. Scholars in the lower class either flatter or seek connections with authorities in the symposium. To break down the barriers between classes.
   One seminar after another in “Small World” realizes the communication between scholars and scholars, terms and terms, and theory and theory. Different scholars and academic spaces are combined to form a mutually inclusive multi-space fusion. A collective and diverse academic space has been constructed. Take the largest seminar in the novel, the American Modern Language Association Annual Conference, as an example, where tens of thousands of scholars from all over the world gather. Topics discussed include “Ancient English Riddles,” “Faulkner’s Concordance,” “Modern American Poetry,” and more. Different topics hold their own forums or group discussions, including “Marxist Literature Group”, “Women’s League in German Literature”, “Hazlitt Society”, etc. Participants can move freely and choose any topic of interest to join the discussion. Scholars who study the same academic theory and their research theory form an independent and open academic space, so the academic space of the entire seminar includes “deconstructionist academic space”, “romantic legend literature space”, “post-structuralist academic space” and so on. We can disassemble any one of several juxtaposed academic theories and make it independent, and new scholars, new branches or innovative ideas can also join it at any time. Therefore, the multi-space fusion of the seminar has infinite openness, where academic theories coexist in multiple forms without a center or focus, forming an open academic space where multiple voices coexist. David Lodge allows these academic spaces to exist side by side and in an equal dialogue relationship.
   “Small World” completes the construction of the narrative space of the entire work through the separation and fusion of heterogeneous spaces. The story spaces of several scholars are closed and juxtaposed, and the narrative framework of “Small World” is built by connecting the story spaces of other scholars; the academic space of “Small World” is divided into young scholars by fame and authority class, the old academic class and the academic giant class. The scattered communication spaces such as “chance encounters”, “letter communication” or “telephone communication” scattered throughout the full text of “Small World” are the intersections of independent spaces of different scholars; The meeting point, class conflict is also presented here.
   Through the space construction of “Small World”, Rocky starts with a group of scholars he is familiar with, and satirizes the Western intellectuals who take a jet plane to chase fame and wealth, take risks and hunt for beauty, and criticizes the transformation of the academic field into a fame and fortune field, class distinctions, and hierarchies. Exclusive of the contemporary literary world, and through a large number of collages of academic theories, it has built an infinitely open multi-space fusion body, expressing an academic attitude of multiple coexistence.