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Cultural Amnesia: Necessary Memories from History and the Arts Paperback – 16 Sep 2008

5.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 912 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (16 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039333354X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393333541
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 4.1 x 21.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 852,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

The greatest cultural critic of our time. -- Allen Barra

The summa of James's unparalleled career as a cultural critic.

One of the most ingeniously stimulating literary critics now writing in English. -- Richard Eder

A capacious and capricious encyclopedia of essays about everyone he considers worth knowing about in the 20th century. -- Liesl Schillinger

For non-fiction, there was one stupedous starburst of wild brilliance: Clive James's Cultural Amnesia. It crackles with epigrammatic mischief and reminded me of Charles Dantzig's great Dictionnair egoiste de la litterature francaise, a book that features a devastating skewering of Sartre and a spirited defence of the adjective, plus essays on ignorance, cliches, therapy (against it) digressions (for) and lettres. Will someone please get this fabulous box of tricks translated? -- Simon Schama

James's writings include the great tome Cultural Amnesia, the reading of which is something like getting a master's degree in 20th-century intellectual history. --Elizabeth Gilbert"

About the Author

Born in Australia, Clive James lives in Cambridge, England. He is the author of Unreliable Memoirs; a volume of selected poems, Opal Sunset; the best-selling Cultural Amnesia; and the translator of The Divine Comedy by Dante. He has written for the New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic. He is an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) and a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).


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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
hyper intelligent comment in superb english prose.he is,tragically, ill at the moment,and i fear we may be about to lose him,so there may not be much more of his best to come of this near orwellian quality;mind and heart.
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Format: Paperback
Glad to see such a beautiful design for the book's cover since this one DESERVES to be judged by it since it is so good that a classy livery is appropriate. If you have read his essay collections such as 'The Drowning Swimmer' you will know what a fine and intelligent critic James is; if you have come to him via his brilliant, perhaps underrated autobiographical triptych, you will know how elegant and eloquent his writing is. Here we have an examination of many influences on James, from the likes of the brilliant ant-Marxist Raymond Aron, an unusually acerbic piece on that brilliant, tragic German kulturkritik Walter Benjamin, to Margaret Thatcher as a political force and, in an unusual and I suppose brave piece when James became a listener for the needy Diana Spencer. The best parts are the essays on culture, especially on writers where James shows that he belongs in the same class as the late, great Robert Hughes and the much-missed Christopher Hitchens. His place in the pantheon was already assured, this book is his finest and confirms his exalted status. Intelligent, readable and fascinating, a must-read.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is breathtaking. In fact, I'm just about tuckered out through my attempts to hang on to this astonishing writer's extensive trail of thought through history. Clive James, as we all know, is an amazing writer. Now, with this terrific book, we can see him as a brilliant original thinker as well. I think I'll just shut up, because attempting to review this book is like trying to land a leviathan using only a rod and line... I salute this great attempt to synthesize nothing less than the culture of the modern world.
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Format: Hardcover
Time and time again I keep coming back to this book. The format is of fairly concise biographical essays around key historical and cultural characters of modern history and weaving meaningful stories and historical, literary and philosophical insights around them.

Camus, Hitler, Tony Curtis, Zweig, Coco Chanel, Said - the breadth is epic - though much of what he goes into ultimately comes down to the cruelty of man and our inner urges - particularly the banal pull of Totalitarianism.

James is a genius - a master of both the low-brow AND the high-brow - and a man who understands what true freedom is.
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