critic and novelist, born in London and educated at University College London; he has held several academic appointments and in 1976 became professor of modern English literature at the University of Birmingham. His critical works (The Novelist at the Crossroads, 1971; Modes of Modern Writing, 1977; Working with Structuralism, 1981; After Bakhtin, 1990) display his gift for lucid exposition, and he has done much to introduce and explain continental literary theory in Britain. His novels include The British Museum is Falling Down (1965); Changing Places (1975), a satirical ‘two‐campus novel’ about a transatlantic academic exchange; and How Far Can You Go? (1980). Small World (1984) re‐introduces the American academic Morris Zapp and the English professor Philip Swallow from Changing Places, in a jet‐set world of international conferences. Nice Work (1988) is about the relationship between a businessman and an English lecturer. Later novels include Therapy (1995), about a male mid‐life crisis; Thinks…(2004), which explores the nature of consciousness; and Author, Author (2004), based on H. James and his friendship with G. du Maurier.