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The Western Canon: The Book and School of the Ages
The Western Canon: The Book and School of the Ages
by Harold Bloom
Edition: Hardcover

17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A welcome blast of common sense, 10 Feb. 2013
Every obnoxious graduate who has left a second rate University with a 2:1 believing that he (or she) is now 'educated' or 'an intellectual' (I am describing myself at 21 by the way) should be forced to look through Bloom's canon and accept that they are no such thing. Thanks in large part to the baby boomers, our culture is fixed in a sort of permanent adolescence in which a pathetic, sneering contempt for taboos, for authority and above all for tradition is considered 'cool'. We need to grow up and accept that if the cleverest people in our society consider Shakespeare and Dickens superior to Dan Brown or gangsta rap lyrics then perhaps, just perhaps, they are worth a look. The great books of the past are precious beyond words and any attempt to tamper with the canon in the name of 'multicultralism' or 'post-modernism' or 'post-colonialism' or 'post-feminism' or 'post-structuralism' or any other hideous 'ism' should be as fierecly resisted as the assaults on civilization made by those other 'isms', Nazism and Communism.

My only criticism of this list is that Bloom focusses almost exclusively upon novels, poems and plays. He should have included more non-fiction, especially works of science like The Origin of Species, the Voyage on the Beagle, A Brief History of Time etc and works of Philosophy, Art History, Psychology (William James for example), Biography etc as well.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 13, 2015 7:47 AM BST

Colditz - The Complete BBC Collection [DVD] [1972]
Colditz - The Complete BBC Collection [DVD] [1972]
Dvd ~ Jack Hedley
Price: £29.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't make 'em like this anymore, 8 Feb. 2013
One of the finest things about this series is the portrayl of the Germans. In fact, because the Germans are depicted so sympathetically, Colditz becomes a very powerful anti-war drama (particularly when you remember that many of the characters and story lines are based upon the memories of actual prisoners and guards). One of the highlights is the interaction between the German and British commanders (Bernard Hepton is outstanding): two intelligent, educated, civilized human beings who retain their old-world, chivalrous standards of behaviour in a war that is destroying European civilization.

Within this series there is a masterpiece of an episode to watch out for; it is called Tweedledum and is about a British POW's descent into madness. Brace yourself before you watch it. The scene in which a German guard, usually stiff and brutal, is overcome with pity for the agony of the prisoner and cannot help hugging him is one the most moving things I have ever seen in a TV drama (made this full grown man almost tearful).

Withnail and I [DVD]
Withnail and I [DVD]
Dvd ~ Richard E. Grant
Offered by Rikdev Media
Price: £6.99

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked masterpiece, 2 Feb. 2013
This review is from: Withnail and I [DVD] (DVD)
Quite simply a masterpiece. People often talk about how funny it is, or how amazing Richard Griffiths is, or the haunting soundtrack, or the astonishing ending (the most moving I have ever seen)- yet few mention the beauty of the script. So much of this film is like listening to poetry: think of Monty's "but old now, there can be true beauty without decay" or Danny's little speech about the ending of the 60s. The only script that compares to Withnail for the sheer beauty of its language is Lawrence of Arabia. I cannot understand why this is not revered as a masterpiece and as possibly the greatest British film ever made (I suspect it has something to do with Monty's homosexual assault- or perhaps it is just one of those films that some people don't 'get'). American critics often say "it's OK, but you've probably got to be British to understand the appeal". I don't think that's true, but I guess it IS a very British film: the cynicisim, the nihilism and despair, the perpetual grey skies/ rain and the sense that all of this can be redeemed by humour, by irony and by extraordinary, larger than life, anarchic eccentrics. If I was living abroad in tropical luxury I would only have to watch 20 minutes of this film before I'd be tearfully longing for the rain and gloom and cynicism of my native island, in spite of its many, many faults.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 8, 2017 12:28 AM GMT

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