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Free Lodging 

In the ranks of England's practicing comic novelists, David Lodge may the be gentlest, penning smart but merciful novels of manners and ideas. Retired from a 27-year career as professor of modern English literature at the University of Birmingham, Lodge is both fully conversant in lit-crit and a satirist of it, with most of his books being light lampoons of academia and the literary life.

You might say that Lodge has painted some droll graffiti on the Ivory Tower, but that hasn't stopped Emory University from inviting him to present the Richard Ellmann Lectures in Modern Literature Oct. 7-10. Endowed in honor of the literary achievement of the late Richard Ellmann, author of highly acclaimed biographies of Oscar Wilde and James Joyce, the lecture series has previously hosted such writers as A.S. Byatt, Seamus Heaney, Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Wole Soyinka.

Lodge's books tend to disguise heady ideas in deceptively light storylines, as demonstrated in his newest novel, Thinks.... Though the plot involves the relationship between two professors -- one a married cognitive scientist, the other a widowed creative writing teacher -- the novel also meditates on the current state of the science of the mind.

The research and brainwork that went into Thinks... will no doubt be reflected in the author's series of three lectures, titled "Consciousness and the Novel." He concludes his visit with a reading and book signing on Oct. 10. The subject matter may be cerebral, but expect Lodge to approach it with the wit that is his trademark.

The Richard Ellman Lectures in Modern Literature, delivered by David Lodge, will be Oct. 7 at 4 p.m. at the Woodruff Health Sciences Center Administration Building Auditorium, 1440 Clifton Road, Emory, and Oct. 8-9 at 8:15 p.m. at the Goizueta Business School Auditorium, 1300 Clifton Road, Emory. A reading and book signing will be held Oct. 10 at 8 p.m. at Glenn Memorial Auditorium, 1652 N. Decatur Road, Emory. Free. 404-747-6420.

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