Clive James - Cultural Critic

Allen Barra, in the webzine "Salon", describes Clive James thus: "That James is at home with subjects as light-years apart as Liza Minnelli and Alexander Solzhenitsyn is one indication why he is the greatest living cultural critic. Many serious critics waste needless time and energy trying to justify their intellectual curiosity regarding things pop. James, who made much of his early reputation covering television, bites into the pop cultural hot dog with unapologetic relish." This, of course, is in response to the publication of James's latest volume, Cultural Amnesia, a collection of over a hundred essays on the lives of various famous, and not so famous, individuals: James's personal wikipedia, if you like.

Barra's description of James may be hard to justify but his final conclusion about the book is probably a start: "One of the things that distinguishes Cultural Amnesia from the finger-pointing, eat-your-bean-sprouts tomes about canons and multiculturalism is that James doesn't make you feel guilty, he makes you feel hungry."

Mark Sarvas, on "The Elegant Variation" weblog, wonders if Barra's piece is just too overblown to be of any worth.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on April 13, 2007 8:44 AM.

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