Martin Amis

Martin Amis

Martin Amis

Martin Amis


Booker-shortlisted for Time's Arrowand widely known for his novels, short stories, essays, reviews, and autobiographical works, Martin Amis is one of the most influential of contemporary British writers.

This guide to Amis's diverse and often controversial work offers:

  • an accessible introduction to the contexts and many interpretations of his texts, from publication to the present
  • an introduction to key critical texts and perspectives on Amis's life and work, situated within a broader critical history
  • cross-references between sections of the guide, in order to suggest links between texts, contexts and criticism
  • suggestions for further reading.

Part of the Routledge Guides to Literature series, this volume is essential reading for all those beginning detailed study of Martin Amis and seeking not only a guide to his works but also a way through the wealth of contextual and critical material that surrounds them.


This book offers the reader an introduction to Martin Amis’s life, work, and the wide range of critical responses to his work. Possibly the most outstanding, and certainly the best-known, novelist of his generation, Amis initially had to compete with his father, Kingsley Amis (1922–95), who was himself a leading novelist of his generation. In carving out his own fictional territory, Amis reacted against his father’s realist form of social satire in favor of a self-conscious, ludic mode of fiction that was particularly indebted to Vladimir Nabokov (see Criticism, p. 89). This book is divided into three parts. Part 1 places Martin Amis’s life in the context of the literary climate, both in Britain and the USA, and of the social, political, and cultural gestalt during his lifetime. As no biography of Amis has yet appeared, this part constitutes the most extensive biographical narrative about him to appear to date. Part 2 consists of a critical introduction to every book he has published so far—eleven novels, two collections of short stories, two autobiographical or semi-autobiographical books, and three collections of his nonfiction reviews, profiles, articles, and essays. These introductions are meant to inform the reader about the basic contents, themes, and formal characteristics of each book. Part 3 offers a more advanced examination of the major critical debates about the nature and value of his work that have appeared since he published his first novel in 1973. These debates range from Amis’s rejection of British in favor of American novelistic models and the effect on the reception of his work of his superstar status in Britain, to his portrayal of women and his unique, comic use of language. Where the same book or subject is referred to more than once, cross-references have been provided in bold. The Index offers a full list of page numbers for each of these categories. So, this book is intended to offer students a comprehensive introduction to this author and to summarize and direct them to more specialist or advanced critical studies of individual works as well as of larger collections of works.

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