Latest Issue

The serious comedian

Zachary Leader's superb biography paints Kingsley Amis as a master of measured satire and wild invective

By Tom Chatfield   February 2007

The Life of Kingsley Amis by Zachary Leader Jonathan Cape, £25

In January 1954, with the publication of Lucky Jim, literary success finally began to happen to Kingsley Amis. He was 31 years old, with a wife and three children and a job as a lecturer in Swansea that paid around £8,000 a year in today’s money, and had already begun a career of lifelong adultery that can only be described as prodigious. He was, he felt, eminently ready for success: as he put it in a letter to Philip Larkin, “What I want, cully, is a chance to decide,…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect