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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I gave up 500 pages into War and Peace, but I was able to understand James' references to it later on in the text. Builders of concentration camps might be creators of a kind—it is possible to imagine an architect happily working to perfect the design of the concrete stanchions supporting an electrified barbed-wire fence—but they were in business to subtract variety from the created world, not to add to it.

While he stays focused on the life of the individual being profiled in some cases, in others his thoughts take him to other cultural and political figures.Not long after I began marking passages for future consideration, I also began keeping notes in the margin beside the markings, and then longer notes on the endpapers. And the amount of reader’s time devoted to this lame material is inexcusable within the context of the rest of the book and James’ stated goal of rescuing us from “cultural amnesia.

The subject matter of many of the essays, dealing as they do with one or other form of totalitarianism, can be fairly bleak, and one thing a James fan might miss a little is the humour he usually brings to his writing. From the evidence of this book, he must have done nothing but read for twelve hours a day every day for the past fifty years.James, it would seem, is just enough of a celebrity to be asked for autographs – not Beatlemania level, but a steady drizzle. Never a million laughs, he tells her his story about the daughter of Sejanus: a story which the reader will find in this book.

Yes, as a monoglot, I feel ashamed and guilty about my lack of industry and application to make myself learn a foreign language. They are at least reading copies, complete and in reasonable condition, but usually secondhand; frequently they are superior examples. In that sense, the best sense, there is no such thing as an individual voice: there is only an individual responsibility.The times from which it emerged were hard on the nerves, even for those of us who were lucky enough to lead charmed lives. Witty, insightful and unashamedly erudite, the book is a superb miscellany of 20th-century cultural and political subjects. For my own part, it made me think hard about all the fields of creativity that I seemed to love equally, whatever their place in a supposed hierarchy. Some thought him a charlatan, but no charlatan is ever remembered for making clever remarks: only for trying to make them.

It would be organized like the top of my desk, from which the last assistant I hired to sort it out has yet to reappear. As a journalist and critic, a premature post-modernist, I was often criticized in my turn for talking about the construction of a poem and of a Grand Prix racing car in the same breath, or of treating gymnasts and high divers (in my daydreams, I astonish the Olympic medalist Greg Louganis) as if they were practising the art of sculpture. There’s just too much material to comprehend, too many insights to absorb, too many witticisms, anecdotes, and aphorisms to appreciate.

Because, as a journalist and television presenter, I travelled professionally for more than twenty years on end, the café was in many different cities: Sydney, London, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Florence, Rome, Venice, Paris, Biarritz, Cannes, Berlin, Munich, Vienna, Moscow, Madrid, Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Bombay, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Cairo, Jerusalem, Valletta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Miami, Mexico City, Havana, Rio, Buenos Aires, Auckland, Wellington, Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney again.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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