Necessary Memories from History and the Arts
W. W. Norton & Company, Hardcover, 9780393061161, 876pp.
Publication Date: March 1, 2007
Echoing Edward Said's belief that Western humanism is not enough, we need a universal humanism, the renowned critic Clive James presents here his life's work. Containing over one hundred original essays, organized by quotations from A to Z, "Cultural Amnesia" illuminates, rescues, or occasionally destroys the careers of many of the greatest thinkers, humanists, musicians, artists, and philosophers of the twentieth century. In discussing, among others, Louis Armstrong, Walter Benjamin, Sigmund Freud, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Franz Kafka, Marcel Proust, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, James writes, If the humanism that makes civilization civilized is to be preserved into the new century, it will need advocates. These advocates will need a memory, and part of that memory will need to be of an age in which they were not yet alive. Soaring to Montaigne-like heights, "Cultural Amnesia" is precisely the book to burnish these memories of a Western civilization that James fears is nearly lost.
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 and a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.