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Famous Like Me > Writer > B > Malcolm Bradbury

Profile of Malcolm Bradbury on Famous Like Me

Name: Malcolm Bradbury  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 7th September 1932
Place of Birth: Sheffield, England, UK
Profession: Writer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Sir Malcolm Stanley Bradbury (September 7, 1932 – November 27, 2000) was a British author and academic.


Born in 1932, the son of a railwayman in Sheffield, his family moved to London in 1935, returning to Sheffield in 1941 with his brother and mother. The family later moved to Nottingham and in 1943 Bradbury attended West Bridgford Grammar School until 1950 when he went to University College, Leicester, getting a first-class degree in English in 1953. He continued his studies at Queen Mary College, where he gained his M.A. in 1955. Between 1955 and 1958 he moved between teaching posts with the University of Manchester and Indiana University in the USA, returning to England in 1958 for a major heart operation, completing Eating People is Wrong in 1959 while in hospital. He married Elizabeth Salt, with whom he would later have two sons, and took up his first teaching post as an adult-education tutor at the University of Hull. With his study on Evelyn Waugh in 1962 he began his career of writing and editing critical books. From 1961 to 1965 he taught at the University of Birmingham. He completed his Manchester University Ph.D. in American studies in 1962, moving to the University of East Anglia (his second novel, Stepping Westward, appeared in 1965), where he became Professor of American Studies in 1970 and launched an M.A. in Creative Writing course, which Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro both attended. He published Possibilities: Essays on the State of the Novel in 1973, The History Man in 1975, Who Do You Think You Are? in 1976, Rates of Exchange in 1983, Cuts: A Very Short Novel in 1987, retiring from academic life in 1995. Malcolm Bradbury became a Commander of the British Empire in 1991 for services to Literature, and was knighted in 2000.


Bradbury was a productive academic writer as well as a successful teacher; an expert on the modern novel, he published books on Evelyn Waugh and E. M. Forster, as well as editions of such modern classics as F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, and a number of surveys and handbooks of modern fiction, both British and American. However, he is best known to a wider public as a novelist. Although he is often compared with David Lodge, his friend and a contemporary as a British exponent of the campus novel genre, Bradbury's books are consistently darker in mood and less playful both in style and language. In 1986 he wrote a short humorous book titled Why Come to Slaka?, a parody of travel books, dealing with the fictional Eastern European country that is the setting for his novel Rates of Exchange.

He also wrote extensively for television, including scripting series such as Anything More Would Be Greedy and The Gravy Train, and adapting novels such as Tom Sharpe's Blott on the Landscape and Porterhouse Blue, Alison Lurie's Imaginary Friends and Kingsley Amis's The Green Man.


The History Man

Main article: The History Man

His best known novel, The History Man, published in (1975), is a dark satire of academic life in the "glass and steel universities" that followed their "redbrick" predecessors (the then fashionable newer universities of England); in 1981 it was made into a successful BBC television serial. The protagonist is the hypocritical Harold Kirk, a sociology professor at the fictional University of Watermouth.


Commissioned by Hutchinson as part of their Hutchinson Novella series, Cuts was published in 1987. It used a host of plays on the word 'cuts' to mock the values of Thatcherist Britain in 1986 and the world of television drama production in which Bradbury had become involved after the adaptation of The History Man. Bradbury derided the philistinism of television executives who wanted to capture the market of Brideshead Revisited and The Jewel in the Crown at impossibly low cost. He also explored the low esteem accorded writers in the hierarchy of television production.

Bibliography (incomplete)

  • The After Dinner Game
  • All Dressed Up and Nowhere To Go
  • Eating People is Wrong (1962)
  • Stepping Westward (1968)
  • The Social Context of Modern English Literature (1971)
  • Who Do You Think You Are — a collection of short stories
  • The History Man (1975)
  • Rates of Exchange
  • To the Hermitage
  • Mensonge
  • Why Come to Slaka? (1986)
  • Cuts (1987) — a Hutchinson Novella


  • If God had been a liberal, we wouldn't have had the Ten Commandments; we'd have the Ten Suggestions

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Malcolm Bradbury