Indeed, the book was dedicated to Larkin; who had helped to inspire and to edit it.
The genesis and reception of Lucky Jim can be found in The Letters of Kingsley Amis. His correspondence with Larkin traces the book through its earliest incarnations, when it was known Dixon & Christine and then The Man of Feeling. Here he is on March 3, 1953 writing, to Larkin:
"I've called it Lucky Jim now, to empahsise the luck theme - epigraph Oh lucky Jim, How I envy him bis. ... I'm afraid you are very much the ideal reader of the thing and chaps like you don't grow on trees."
Jim Dixon's experience dramatizes the conflict between the lower-middle-class drive to invade a higher social stratum and the resultant guilt and self-contempt for abandoning one's own class. A lower-middle-class youth who yearns for the economic security academic tenure affords, Jim earns a degree in an area he neither likes nor understands. By luck, he gets a job as a junior lecturer in history at a provincial university. But it is bad luck, for not only does he detest the medieval history he teaches but he despises the cultural pretensions of his colleagues with whom he must curry favor, such as the Welches: the pompous senior professor, his wife, and their "artistic" sons.
The irony in all of this is that Jim Dixon doesn't feel at all lucky. ...Show more