Cultural Amnesia: Notes in the Margin of My Time

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Cultural Amnesia: Notes in the Margin of My Time

Cultural Amnesia: Notes in the Margin of My Time

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What this book then proposes—what it embodies, I hope—is something difficult enough to be satisfactory for an age in which to be presented with nothing except reassurance is ceasing to be tolerable. English is this new world’s lingua franca, not because it was once spoken in the British Empire but because it is spoken now in the American international cultural hegemony. But even as I stumbled through with the dictionary ever present, I could tell that I was on to something. The most obvious sign is when he over and over says something like “the student would do well”, as if we his readers are “students” fawning at the feet of he the master teacher.

magisterial in its scope, and courageous in its defense of the human spirit, it is both an enlightening and a despairing work, written by one of the world’s most renowned critics.

With fascinating essays on artists from Louis Armstrong to Walter Benjamin, Sigmund Freud to Franz Kafka and Beatrix Potter to Marcel Proust, Cultural Amnesia is one of the crowning achievements in Clive James's illustrious career as a critic. What they hate is the bewildering complexity of civilized life, which we will find hard to defend if we share the same aversion. To read him is to bask in phrases and sentences which flow without a single dud line, exemplifying the "art that conceals art". From his scintillating, hugely enjoyable and wildly funny 1970s TV reviews for the Observer to this magnum opus ~ and boy, is it magnum! It has always been part of the definition of humanism that true learning has no end in view except its own furtherance.

This inheritance is something which can be ignored from time to time, or only partially appreciated, but it cannot be lost as long as it is talked about.But to palliate that condition, we are nowadays much more free to be thinkers than is commonly supposed. Although it's obviously essential in an essay or in philosophy, there is at least an argument that in the arts a complexity of expression can be a pleasure in itself. The meaning of the term humanism has fluctuated, according to the successive intellectual movements which have identified with it. There was a time when I could fairly fluently read Russian, and get through a simple article in Japanese about my special subject, the war in the Pacific. e., the Nazi occupation of France) a few too many times, and sometimes it feels like he is intentionally dredging up obscure figures merely to show that he can -- but perhaps his "necessary memories" are a little different than i would choose.

more excerpts followed — a sumptuous aggregate which still represents only a small fraction of a large book.From within as well as without, the Procrustean enemies of our provokingly multifarious free society are bound to come, sometimes merely to preach obscurantist doctrine in our universities, at other times to fly our own airliners into towers of commerce. The most amazing thing is that James appreciates them all, even when he criticizes their mistakes and excesses. Born to speak it, we can view the whole world as a dubbed movie, and not even have to bother with subtitles. Two central, connecting threads running throughout his non-fiction are his uncompromising hatred of the abominations that were Hitler and the Holocaust, and the tyranny of Soviet Communism.

James catalogues and explores the careers of many of the century's greatest thinkers, humanists, musicians, artists and philosophers, with illuminating excursions into the minds of those historical figures – from Sir Thomas Browne to Montesquieu – who paved the way. Rather, Heine is used as an excuse for James to extrapolate on celebrity, first with an aside on Greta Garbo’s lofty intellectual justifications for ignoring all fan mail, then, ickily, James’ own ruminations on the burden of fame. It would help if the world's large supply of anti-American commentators could decide on which America we are supposed to be in thrall to: the Machiavellian America that can manipulate any country's destiny, or the naïve America that can't find it on the map.

It would be a desirable and enviable existence just to earn a decent wage at a worthwhile job and spend all one’s leisure hours improving one’s aesthetic appreciation. Super octavo softcover (VG+); all our specials have minimal description to keep listing them viable. Containing over a hundred essays, this is a definitive guide to twentieth century culture, cataloguing and exploring the careers of many of its greatest thinkers, humanists, musicians, artists and philosophers.

  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
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