Published in 1954, this book is still funny to this English reader 60 years later. It’s probably a very English kind of humour: it belongs to the world of Carry On films and there is a connection between the novel’s Jim Dixon and Mr Bean: both use facial contortions to express their feelings when they think they are unobserved.
It relies heavily on caricature, some of which modern readers may find offensive. Kingsley Amis, like George Orwell, has no time for poseurs with beards and berets or limp wrists and fancy names. In fact, anything which suggests upper middle class Bohemia or self-indulgent provincial academia.
His principal character, Jim Dixon, may also be found offensive, addicted as he is to alcohol, tobacco, nasty practical jokes and failing to get his act together. A lot of the book is Carry On Up The University.