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Clive James - Author

About the Author

Clive James is the author of more than twenty books, including collections of essays, literary and television criticism, travel writing, novels and verse, plus his famous ‘unreliable memoirs’. In 1992 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia and in 2003 he was awarded the Philip Hodgins memorial medal for literature.

Featured books by Clive James

A Point of View

A Point of View

Author: Clive James Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/11/2011

The BBC Radio 4 series A Point of View has been on the air since 2007. Over the years, it's had a variety of presenters including the national treasure that is Clive James talking for ten minutes about anything and everything that has captured their imagination, piqued their interest, raised their blood pressure or just downright incensed them that week.

Other books by Clive James

Poetry Notebook Reflections on the Intensity of Language

Poetry Notebook Reflections on the Intensity of Language

Author: Clive James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/11/2018

Since its initial publication, Poetry Notebook has become a must-read for any lover of poetry. Somewhat of an iconoclast, Clive James gets to the heart of truths about poetry not always addressed, some hard but always firmly committed to celebration (Martin Amis). He presents a distillation of all he's learned about the art form that matters to him most. James examines the poems and legacies of a panorama of twentieth-century poets, from Hart Crane to Ezra Pound (a mad old amateur fascist with a panscopic grab bag ), from Ted Hughes to Anne Sexton. Whether demanding that poetry be heard beyond the world of letters or opining on his five favorite poets (Yeats, Frost, Auden, Wilbur, and Larkin), his generosity of attention, his willingness to trawl through pages of verse in search of the hair-raising line, is his most appealing quality as a critic (Adam Kirsch, Wall Street Journal).

The River in the Sky A Poem

The River in the Sky A Poem

Author: Clive James Format: Hardback Release Date: 16/10/2018

Few people read Poetry any more, but I still wish to write its seedlings down, if only for the lull of gathering: no less a harvest season for being the last time, writes Clive James in his epic poem, The River in the Sky. What emerges from this lamentation is a soaring epic of exceptional depth and overwhelming feeling, all the more extraordinary given its appearance in an age when the heroic poem seems to have disappeared from contemporary literature. Among James's many talents is his uncanny ability to juxtapose references to early twentieth-century poets with offbeat humor and flyaway cultural observations (Dwight Garner, New York Times), or allusions to the adagio of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony contrasted with references to YouTube's vast cosmopolis. Whether recalling his Australian childhood or his father's clean white headstone in a Hong Kong cemetery, James's autobiographical epic ultimately helps us define the meaning of life.

The River in the Sky

The River in the Sky

Author: Clive James Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/09/2018

'One of the most important and influential writers of our time' Sunday Times Clive James has been close to death for several years, and he has written about the experience in a series of deeply moving poems. In Sentenced to Life, he was clear-sighted as he faced the end, honest about his regrets. In Injury Time, he wrote about living well in the time remaining, focusing our attention on the joys of family and art, and celebrating the immediate beauty of the world. At the opening of The River in the Sky, a book-length poem, we find James in ill health but high spirits. Although his body traps him in his Cambridge house, his mind is free to roam. The River in the Sky takes us on a grand tour of `the fragile treasures of his life'. Animated by powerful recollections, James presents a flowing stream of vivid images. He moves from emotionally resonant personal moments, such as listening to jazz records with his future wife, to unforgettable encounters with all kinds of culture: Beethoven's Ninth Symphony sits alongside `YouTube's vast cosmopolis'. As ever with James, he shares his passions with enormous generosity, making brilliant and original connections, and fearlessly tackling the biggest questions: the meaning of life and how to live it. In the end, what emerges from this autobiographical epic is a soaring work of exceptional depth and overwhelming feeling, a new marvel for the modern age.

Injury Time

Injury Time

Author: Clive James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/09/2018

'James's confrontation with his approaching death is nothing short of inspirational' Joan Bakewell, Independent The publication of Clive James's Sentenced to Life was a major literary event: critically acclaimed, it debuted at #2 in the Sunday Times bestseller list. Facing the end, James looked back over his life with a clear-eyed and unflinching honesty to produce his finest work: poems of extraordinary power that spoke to our most elemental emotions. Injury Time, following Sentenced to Life, finds James with more time on the clock than he had anticipated, and all the more determined to use it wisely - to capture the treasurable moment, and think about how best to live his remaining days while the sense of his own impending absence grows all the more powerfully acute. In a series of intimate poems - from childhood memories of his mother, to a vision of his granddaughter in graceful acrobatic flight - James declares `family' to be our greatest blessing. He also writes beautifully of the Australia where he began his life, and where he hopes to 'reach the end'. Throughout Injury Time, James weaves poems which reflect on the consolation and wisdom to be found in the art, music and books which have become ever more precious to him in his last years. The poems in this moving, inspirational and unsentimental book are as accomplished as any he has ever written; indeed the unexpected gift of James's Injury Time shows him to be in the form of his life.

Play All A Bingewatcher's Notebook

Play All A Bingewatcher's Notebook

Author: Clive James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/06/2017

A world-renowned media and cultural critic offers an insightful analysis of serial TV drama and the modern art of the small screen Television and TV viewing are not what they once were-and that's a good thing, according to award-winning author and critic Clive James. Since serving as television columnist for the London Observer from 1972 to 1982, James has witnessed a radical change in content, format, and programming, and in the very manner in which TV is watched. Here he examines this unique cultural revolution, providing a brilliant, eminently entertaining analysis of many of the medium's most notable twenty-first-century accomplishments and their not always subtle impact on modern society-including such acclaimed serial dramas as Breaking Bad, The West Wing, Mad Men, and The Sopranos, as well as the comedy 30 Rock. With intelligence and wit, James explores a television landscape expanded by cable and broadband and profoundly altered by the advent of Netflix, Amazon, and other cord-cutting platforms that have helped to usher in a golden age of unabashed binge-watching.

Injury Time

Injury Time

Author: Clive James Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/04/2017

The publication of Clive James's Sentenced to Life was a major literary event. Facing the end, James looked back over his life with a clear-eyed and unflinching honesty to produce his finest work: poems of extraordinary power that spoke to our most elemental emotions. Injury Time finds James with more time on the clock than he had anticipated, and all the more determined to use it wisely - to capture the treasurable moment, and think about how best to live his remaining days while the sense of his own impending absence grows all the more powerfully acute. In a series of intimate poems - from childhood memories of his mother, to a vision of his granddaughter in graceful acrobatic flight - James declares `family' to be our greatest blessing. He also writes beautifully of the Australia where he began his life, and where he hopes to 'reach the end'. Throughout Injury Time, James weaves poems which reflect on the consolation and wisdom to be found in the art, music and books which have become ever more precious to him in his last years. The poems in this moving, inspirational and unsentimental book are as accomplished as any he has ever written; indeed the unexpected gift of James's Injury Time shows him to be in the form of his life.

Book of My Enemy

Book of My Enemy

Author: Clive James Format: eBook Release Date: 20/04/2017

The reputation of Clive James as a poet was slow to form, perhaps because he was too famous as a star journalist and television entertainer. There was also the drawback that his poetry was so entertaining it was hard for many critics to take seriously. But after the notoriety achieved by a single self-satirizing poem, 'The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered', one of the most anthologized poems of recent times, James's poetic output became impossible to ignore, and his 1985 collection Other Passports was greeted with praise for its thematic scope and technical accomplishment, even by critics who still doubted his seriousness. Since then, James has emerged unarguably as one of the most prominent poets of his generation - and The Book of My Enemy (which includes Other Passports) shows why.

Visions Before Midnight

Visions Before Midnight

Author: Clive James Format: eBook Release Date: 06/04/2017

From the man who made TV criticism an entertainment in its own right comes Visions Before Midnight, a selection from the column hundreds of thousands of devoted fans would turn to first thing on a Sunday morning. Clive James's comic brilliance is displayed here, from the 1972 Olympics (But your paradigm no-no commentary can't be made up of fluffs alone. It needs flannel in lengthy widths, and it's here that Harry and Alan come through like a whole warehouse full of pyjamas) to the 1976 Olympics ('Jenkins has a lot to do' was a new way of saying that our man, of whom we had such high hopes, was not going to pull out the big one). In between we have 'War and Peace' (Tolstoy makes television history), the Royal Wedding (Dimbling suavely, Tom Fleming introduced the scene), the Winter Olympics (unintelligibuhl), the Eurovision Song Contest (The Hook of their song lasted a long time in the mind, like a kick in the knee. You could practically hear the Koreans singing it. 'Waterloo . . .' ), and much more.

Clive James On Television

Clive James On Television

Author: Clive James Format: eBook Release Date: 06/04/2017

For the first time in one volume all Clive James's treasured TV criticism, originally written for The Observer between the years 1972 and 1982. From the 1972 Olympics to the 1982 Eurovision Song Contest, here is a decade of the most trenchant, witty and thought-provoking criticism of any kind, with a foreword from Clive James himself, described as 'the funniest man in Britain'.

Other Passports

Other Passports

Author: Clive James Format: eBook Release Date: 06/04/2017

Clive James's unforgettable poetry collection, which gained him comparison to Byron and status as a 'true poet' demonstrates his wide range of interests and knowledge while never compromising his trademark wit and humour. Other Passports explores his lyrical style of poetry, alongside parodies, imitations and lampoons.

Glued To The Box

Glued To The Box

Author: Clive James Format: eBook Release Date: 06/04/2017

The final instalment in Clive James's collections of TV criticism in The Observer including pieces originally published between 1979 and 1982. Adding to an already unforgettable collection of comic brilliance, fans of Visions Before Midnight and The Crystal Bucket will not be disappointed.

Flying Visits

Flying Visits

Author: Clive James Format: eBook Release Date: 06/04/2017

A collection of Clive James's 'Postcards' originally written for The Observer between the years 1976 and 1983 about his experiences travelling abroad, from Peking, Los Angeles and Sydney. Full of James's distinctive wit and satire, this is a timeless collection for the well, and not so well travelled.

Brrm! Brrm!

Brrm! Brrm!

Author: Clive James Format: eBook Release Date: 06/04/2017

Brrm! Brrm! by Clive James is the hilarious story of Japanese high-flyer and would-be-diplomat Akira Suzuki who is sent to London for the first time to learn about a more cosmopolitan lifestyle but instead manages to make headlines for all the wrong reasons much to the embarrassment of the Japanese embassy.

Sentenced to Life

Sentenced to Life

Author: Clive James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 22/09/2016

In his insightful collection of poems Clive James looks back over an extraordinarily rich life with a clear-eyed and unflinching honesty. There are regrets, but no trace of self-pity in these verses, which - for all their open dealings with death and illness - are primarily a celebration of what is treasurable and memorable in our time here. Again and again, James reminds us that he is not only a poet of effortless wit and lyric accomplishment: he is also an immensely wise one, who delights in using poetic form to bring a razor-sharp focus to his thought. Miraculously, these poems see James writing with his insight and energy not only undiminished but positively charged by his situation: Sentenced to Life represents a career high point from one of the greatest literary intelligences of the age.

Poetry Notebook 2006-2014

Poetry Notebook 2006-2014

Author: Clive James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 22/09/2016

Clive James is one of our finest critics and best-loved cultural voices. He is also a prize-winning poet. Since he was first enthralled by the mysterious power of poetry, he has been a dedicated student. In fact, for him, poetry has been nothing less than the occupation of a lifetime, and in this book he presents a distillation of all he's learned about the art form that matters to him most. With his customary wit, delightfully lucid prose style and wide-ranging knowledge, James explains the difference between the innocuous stuff that often passes for poetry today and a real poem: the latter being a work of unity that insists on being heard entire and threatens never to leave the memory. A committed formalist and an astute commentator, he offers close and careful readings of individual poems and poets (from Shakespeare to Larkin, Keats to Pound), and in some case second readings or re-readings late in life - just to be sure he wasn't wrong the first time! Whether discussing technical details of metaphorical creativity or simply praising his five favourite collections of all time, he is never less than captivating.

Collected Poems 1958-2015

Collected Poems 1958-2015

Author: Clive James Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/09/2016

The poetry of Clive James has been delighting readers and winning awards for decades. His recent poems looking back over his extraordinarily rich life have brought him an even wider readership; some, such as Japanese Maple (first published in The New Yorker), became global news events upon their publication. In this first collected volume of poetry, James makes his own selection from over fifty years' work in verse: from his early satires to his late poems of valediction, he proves himself to be as well-suited to the intense demands of the short lyric as to those of the comic excursion. Collected Poems places James's effortless fluency, his breath-taking thematic range, and his emotional power on full display-and will burnish his reputation as one of the most accomplished of our contemporary poets.

Latest Readings

Latest Readings

Author: Clive James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 12/08/2016

An esteemed literary critic shares his final musings on books, his children, and his own impending death In 2010, Clive James was diagnosed with terminal leukemia. Deciding that if you don't know the exact moment when the lights will go out, you might as well read until they do, James moved his library to his house in Cambridge, where he would live, read, and perhaps even write. James is the award-winning author of dozens of works of literary criticism, poetry, and history, and this volume contains his reflections on what may well be his last reading list. A look at some of James's old favorites as well as some of his recent discoveries, this book also offers a revealing look at the author himself, sharing his evocative musings on literature and family, and on living and dying. As thoughtful and erudite as the works of Alberto Manguel, and as moving and inspiring as Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture and Will Schwalbe's The End of Your Life Book Club, this valediction to James's lifelong engagement with the written word is a captivating valentine from one of the great literary minds of our time.

Gate of Lilacs A Verse Commentary on Proust

Gate of Lilacs A Verse Commentary on Proust

Author: Clive James Format: Hardback Release Date: 21/04/2016

Over a period of fifteen years Clive James learned French by almost no other method than reading A la recherche du temps perdu. Then he spent half a century trying to get up to speed with Proust's great novel in two different languages. Gate of Lilacs is the unique product of James's love and engagement with Proust's eternal masterpiece. With A la recherche du temps perdu, Proust, in James's words, 'followed his creative instinct all the way until his breath gave out', and now James has done the same. In Gate of Lilacs, James, a brilliant critical essayist and poet, has blended the two forms into one. I had always thought the critical essay and the poem were closely related forms . . . If I wanted to talk about Proust's poetry beyond the basic level of talking about his language - if I wanted to talk about the poetry of his thought - then the best way to do it might be to write a poem.There is nothing like a poem for transmitting a mental flavour. Instead of trying to describe it, you can evoke it. In the end, if A la recherche du temps perdu is a book devoted almost entirely to its author's gratitude for life, for love, and for art, this much smaller book is devoted to its author's gratitude for Proust.

Collected Poems 1958 - 2015

Collected Poems 1958 - 2015

Author: Clive James Format: Hardback Release Date: 21/04/2016

Clive James's reputation as a poet has become impossible to ignore. His poems looking back over his extraordinarily rich life with a clear-eyed and unflinching honesty, such as 'Japanese Maple' (first published in the New Yorker in 2014), became global news events upon their publication. In this book, James makes his own rich selection from over fifty years' work in verse: from his early satires to these heart-stopping valedictory poems, he proves himself to be as well suited to the intense demands of the tight lyric as he is to the longer mock-epic. Collected Poems displays James's fluency and apparently effortless style, his technical skill and thematic scope, his lightly worn erudition and his emotional power; it will undoubtedly cement his reputation as one of the most versatile and accomplished of contemporary writers.

Opal Sunset Selected Poems 1958-2008

Opal Sunset Selected Poems 1958-2008

Author: Clive James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 25/02/2016

Opal Sunset gathers together fifty years of Clive James's poetry, and will undoubtedly enhance his reputation as one of the most versatile and accomplished of contemporary writers. Indeed - as with Other Passports, The Book of My Enemy and Angels Over Elsinore before it - Opal Sunset proves Clive James to be as well suited to the intense demands of the poetic form as he is to prose. Readers new to his verse will not be surprised to find him a master of the comic set-piece and surreal excursion, while those who are familiar with his previous collections will already be aware of his fluency and apparently effortless style, his technical skill and thematic scope. Ultimately, however, the highest recommendation one can give is that Clive James is, in these poems, unmistakably himself - an assured and dazzling wordsmith.

Sentenced to Life Poems

Sentenced to Life Poems

Author: Clive James Format: Hardback Release Date: 11/01/2016

In this new collection of technically and emotionally heart-stopping poems (Spectator)-including Japanese Maple, which was published in The New Yorker to great acclaim-Clive James looks back over an extraordinarily rich life with a clear-eyed and unflinching honesty. There are regrets but no trace of self-pity in these verses, which-for all their grappling with death and his current illness-are primarily a celebration of what is treasurable and memorable in our time here. Again and again, James reminds us that he is not only a poet of effortless wit and lyric accomplishment but also an immensely wise one, who delights in using poetic form to bring a razor-sharp focus to his thought. Miraculously, these poems see James writing with his insight and energy not only undiminished but positively charged by his situation. The poems of Sentenced to Life represents a career high point from one of the greatest literary intellects of our age.

Metropolitan Critic

Metropolitan Critic

Author: Clive James Format: eBook Release Date: 22/10/2015

In 1974 The Metropolitan Critic started a new trend in cultural comment which has since become an orthodoxy. The young Clive James was the first journalist in London to talk about high culture and pop culture in the same all-consuming, sparkling style. Even at that early stage, the learning behind his literary high-wire act was formidable: a portent of the wide-ranging erudition that in subsequent years was to back up his further volumes of critical prose and the television column that made him famous. An extra delight of this edition is a set of newly-written self-critical footnotes which combine with a nostalgic introduction to evoke what literary London was like when the author, low on salary but high on hope, was making his spectacular start.

Remake

Remake

Author: Clive James Format: eBook Release Date: 08/10/2015

His second work of fiction, following Brilliant Creatures, Clive James's The Remake is a brilliantly observed novel, filled with his trademark erudition and humour.Joel Court had problems. He'd lost his wife, his mistress, quite possibly his career as an astronomical wizard, and had ended up living with Chance Jenolan, to whom success was a way of life, and whose Barbican fortress was protected by a maze that would shame the Minotaur. To make matters worse, there was the Mole. Her heavenly body outshone all the celestial manifestations Joel had ever seen. Pretty soon, he would not be able to bear having her out of his sights . . .

From the Land of Shadows

From the Land of Shadows

Author: Clive James Format: eBook Release Date: 08/10/2015

'These literary-critical essays are compact with wit and penetration but also have a kind of freshness about them, as if the author has never got over his first rapture of enjoyment at the sheer thisness of poetry and prose. James is in the tradition of Hazlitt, Bagehot, and Desmond MacCarthy, with a gusto worthy to succeed theirs and a philosophy well set out in his own introduction. "e;Literature"e;, he writes, "e;says most things itself, when it is allowed to."e; Criticism like this expands that allowance and adds to its pleasure' John Bayley, Observer 'His outstanding talent is as a cicerone, guiding the ignorant traveller with patience, knowledge and wit round some favourite literary edifice and communicating his own admiration of it to the goggling and fascinated visitor . . . the lasting impression is of our critic's truly amazing breadth of reference' Times Literary Supplement 'Mr James is hungry for - and not unworthy of - engagement with important issues. A collection of dignity and coherence . . . tellingly timely' Sunday Times

Dreaming Swimmer

Dreaming Swimmer

Author: Clive James Format: eBook Release Date: 08/10/2015

'He writes like a prophet and he can satirise folly in high places with a touch as elegant as Oscar Wilde . . . There isn't a word wasted' Daily Mail 'A well-balanced show of wit, intellect and glorious observation' Sunday Times 'No one wields a joke more punchily than he does. And the wide capacity for warmth towards all sorts of experience - from Billy Connolly to Primo Levi - is impressively exemplary in our culturally divided and divisive times' Observer 'Very funny . . . breathtakingly good literary essays. Mr James is excellent on television - when he is on it, or reviewing it' Sunday Telegraph 'James's hilarity is often a powerful support for his argument, but as well as vintage Jamesian japery there are many excellent things in this collection' New Statesman & Society

The Divine Comedy

The Divine Comedy

Author: Clive James, Dante Alighieri Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/06/2015

Finally I realised that I had been practising for this job every time I wrote a quatrain ...I had spent all this time - the greater part of a lifetime - preparing my instruments The Divine Comedy is the precursor of modern literature, and Clive James's new translation - his life's work and decades in the making - presents Dante's entire epic poem in a single song. While many poets and translators have attempted to capture the full glory of The Divine Comedy in English, many have fallen short. Victorian verse translations established an unfortunate tradition of reproducing the sprightly rhyming measures of Dante but at the same time betraying the strain on the translator's powers of invention. For Dante, the dramatic human stories of Hell were exciting, but the spiritual studies of Purgatory and the sublime panoramas of Heaven were no less so. In this incantatory new translation, James - defying the convention by writing in quatrains - tackles these problems head-on and creates a striking and hugely accessible translation that gives us The Divine Comedy as a whole, unified, and dramatic work.

Unreliable Memoirs

Unreliable Memoirs

Author: Clive James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/01/2015

With an introduction by P. J. O'Rourke 'Do not read this book in public. You will risk severe internal injuries from trying to suppress your laughter.' Sunday Times I was born in 1939. The other big event of that year was the outbreak of the Second World War, but for the moment that did not affect me. In the first instalment of Clive James's memoirs we follow the young Clive on his journey from boyhood to the cusp of manhood, when his days of wearing short trousers are finally behind him. Battling with school, girls, various relatives and an overwhelming desire to be a superhero, Clive's adventures growing up in the suburbs of post-war Sydney are hair-raising, uproarious and almost too good to be true . . . Told with James's unassailable sense of humour and self-effacing charm, Unreliable Memoirs is a hilarious and touching introduction to the story of a national treasure. A million-copy bestseller, this classic memoir is a celebration of life in all its unpredictable glory.

Sentenced to Life

Sentenced to Life

Author: Clive James Format: Hardback Release Date: 27/11/2014

In his insightful collection of poems Clive James looks back over an extraordinarily rich life with a clear-eyed and unflinching honesty. There are regrets, but no trace of self-pity in these verses, which - for all their open dealings with death and illness - are primarily a celebration of what is treasurable and memorable in our time here. Again and again, James reminds us that he is not only a poet of effortless wit and lyric accomplishment: he is also an immensely wise one, who delights in using poetic form to bring a razor-sharp focus to his thought. Miraculously, these poems see James writing with his insight and energy not only undiminished but positively charged by his situation: Sentenced to Life represents a career high point from one of the greatest literary intelligences of the age.

Poetry Notebook 2006-2014

Poetry Notebook 2006-2014

Author: Clive James Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/10/2014

Clive James is one of our finest critics and best-loved cultural voices. He is also a prize-winning poet. Since he was first enthralled by the mysterious power of poetry, he has been a dedicated student. In fact, for Clive, poetry has been nothing less than the occupation of a lifetime, and in this book he presents a distillation of all he's learned about the art form that matters to him most. With his customary wit, delightfully lucid prose style and wide-ranging knowledge, Clive explains the difference between the innocuous stuff that often passes for poetry today and a real poem: the latter being a work of unity that insists on being heard entire and threatens never to leave the memory. A committed formalist and an astute commentator, Clive offers close and careful readings of individual poems and poets (from Shakespeare to Larkin, Keats to Pound), and in some case second readings or re-readings late in life - just to be sure he wasn't wrong the first time! Whether discussing technical details of metaphorical creativity or simply praising his five favourite collections of all time, he is never less than captivating. Filled with insight and written with an honest, infectious enthusiasm, Poetry Notebook is the product of over fifty years of writing, reading, translating and thinking about poetry.

The Crystal Bucket

The Crystal Bucket

Author: Clive James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 08/05/2014

'His contribution to the art and enjoyment of TV criticism over the past ten years has been immense. His work is deeply perceptive, often outrageously funny and always compulsively readable' Thus the judges of the British Press Awards, in naming Clive James Critic of the Year for 1981. The Crystal Bucket offers a further selection of his inimitable 'visions before midnight ...' 'C.J. didn't get where he is today just by being funny. He is humane, liberal and compassionate ...What he writes is always pertinent and always witty . . We own him a deep debt of gratitude' Gavin Ewart, Listener 'Few critics have a more unerring ear for woolliness and doubletalk or a more scathing and entertaining way of dealing with it' Lesley Garner, Good Housekeeping 'He is one of the most remarkable figures in British cultural life at the moment: a poet and gifted literary critic who is also genuinely liked by the mass audience' Michael Mason, London Review of Books 'One of the few columnists who make you laugh aloud ...if there were angels he would be on their side: and that would certainly include Charlie's Angels' Melvyn Bragg, Sunday Times

The Dreaming Swimmer

The Dreaming Swimmer

Author: Clive James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 08/05/2014

'He writes like a prophet and he can satirise folly in high places with a touch as elegant as Oscar Wilde ...There isn't a word wasted' Daily Mail 'A well-balanced show of wit, intellect and glorious observation' Sunday Times 'No one wields a joke more punchily than he does. And the wide capacity for warmth towards all sorts of experience - from Billy Connolly to Primo Levi - is impressively exemplary in our culturally divided and divisive times' Observer 'Very funny ...breathtakingly good literary essays. Mr James is excellent on television - when he is on it, or reviewing it' Sunday Telegraph 'James's hilarity is often a powerful support for his argument, but as well as vintage Jamesian japery there are many excellent things in this collection' New Statesman & Society

At the Pillars of Hercules

At the Pillars of Hercules

Author: Clive James, Clive James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 10/04/2014

First published to great acclaim in 1979, At the Pillars of Hercules (a title taken from a certain Soho pub) confirmed Clive James's place as a writer of immense talent, and as entertaining and elegant as ever. His main topics are contemporary poetry, aesthetics and the theory and practice of criticism, the popular novel, and the literature of modern history and politics. His discussions range from the legacy of Auden and Larkin to Gore Vidal and Lord Longford. His inimitable wit and candour are ever present in this collection of criticism, featuring a previously unpublished introduction.

The Metropolitan Critic

The Metropolitan Critic

Author: Clive James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/03/2014

In 1974 The Metropolitan Critic started a new trend in cultural comment which has since become an orthodoxy. The young Clive James was the first journalist in London to talk about high culture and pop culture in the same all-consuming, sparkling style. Even at that early stage, the learning behind his literary high-wire act was formidable: a portent of the wide-ranging erudition that in subsequent years was to back up his further volumes of critical prose and the television column that made him famous. An extra delight of this edition is a set of newly-written self-critical footnotes which combine with a nostalgic introduction to evoke what literary London was like when the author, low on salary but high on hope, was making his spectacular start.

The Remake

The Remake

Author: Clive James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 13/02/2014

His second work of fiction, following Brilliant Creatures, Clive James's The Remake is a brilliantly observed novel, filled with his trademark erudition and humour. Joel Court had problems. He'd lost his wife, his mistress, quite possibly his career as an astronomical wizard, and had ended up living with Chance Jenolan, to whom success was a way of life, and whose Barbican fortress was protected by a maze that would shame the Minotaur. To make matters worse, there was the Mole. Her heavenly body outshone all the celestial manifestations Joel had ever seen. Pretty soon, he would not be able to bear having her out of his sights . . .

Complete Unreliable Memoirs

Complete Unreliable Memoirs

Author: Clive James Format: eBook Release Date: 05/12/2013

The Complete Unreliable Memoirs features all five volumes of Clive James's memoirs in one ebook omnibus. Including Unreliable Memoirs, Falling Towards England, May Week was in June, North Face of Soho and The Blaze of Obscurity. Unreliable Memoirs:In the first instalment of Clive James's memoirs, we meet the young Clive, dressed in short trousers, and wrestling with the demands of school, various relatives and the occasional snake, in the suburbs of post-war Sydney. His adventures are hilarious, his recounting of them even more so, in this - the book that started it all . . .Falling Towards England: When we last met our hero in Unreliable Memoirs, he had set sail from Sydney Harbour bound for London, fame and fortune. Having arrived, he finds fame and fortune initially difficult to achieve. May Week was in June: In 'Unreliable Memoirs III', Clive details his time at Cambridge, including film reviewing, writing poetry, falling in love (often), and marrying (once) during May Week - which was not only in June but also two weeks long . . .North Face of Soho: Taking us from Fleet Street to Clive James on TV, from Russian department stores to Paris fashion shows - via fatherhood, some killer bees, and a satire starring Anne Robinson as Mrs Thatcher - North Face of Soho is the larger-than-life story of a life lived to the full. The Blaze of Obscurity: Perhaps his most brilliant book yet, The Blaze of Obscurity tells the inside story of his years in television, it shows Clive James on top form - both then and now.

The Book of My Enemy

The Book of My Enemy

Author: Clive James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 26/09/2013

`If you are vacillating over whether a couple of bottles of pinot blanc might, in the short run, prove more fun than a poetry book, then just flick to the first page and the title poem of this volume. James writes with exquisite perception and surgical precision; he is a poet of powerful argument and emotional force' The Times The reputation of Clive James as a poet was slow to form, perhaps because he was too famous as a star journalist and television entertainer. There was also the drawback that his poetry was so entertaining it was hard for many critics to take seriously. But after the notoriety achieved by a single self-satirizing poem, `The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered', one of the most anthologized poems of recent times, James's poetic output became impossible to ignore, and his 1985 collection Other Passports was greeted with praise for its thematic scope and technical accomplishment, even by critics who still doubted his seriousness. Since then, James has emerged unarguably as one of the most prominent poets of his generation - and The Book of My Enemy (which includes Other Passports) shows why.

The Meaning of Recognition New Essays 2001-2005

The Meaning of Recognition New Essays 2001-2005

Author: Clive James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/08/2013

Literary critic, cultural commentator, TV personality, journalist, poet, political analyist, satirist and Formula One fan: Clive James is a man (and master) of many talents, and the essays collected in The Meaning of Recognition are testament to that fact. Whether discussing Bing Crosby, Bruno Schulz or Shakespeare, he manages to prioritise style and substance simultaneously, his tone never less than pitch-perfect, his argument always considered. With each phrase carefully crafted and each piece offering cause for thought, the resulting volume - which takes the reader from London to Bali, theatre to library, from pre-election campaigning to sitting in front of the TV at home, watching The Sopranos and The West Wing - is remarkable not only for its range and insight, but also its intimacy and honesty. A contemporary everyman, James is also unmistakably himself, and The Meaning of Recognition shows him at his witty, learned - and heartfelt - best.

A Point of View

A Point of View

Author: Clive James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 08/11/2012

21st century Britain: a point of view from our fiercest and funniest critic The BBC Radio 4 series A Point of View has been on the air since 2007. Clive James was one of the most popular presenters, and now, for the first time, his original pieces - sixty in total - and previously unpublished postscripts are collected together in one volume. Read along with Clive James as he offers his informative, thought-provoking and entertaining insights into everything from wheelie bins to plastic surgery, Elizabeth Hurley to the Olympics, Britain's Got Talent to Damien Hirst, Harry Potter to giving up smoking - and plenty more besides.

Cultural Amnesia Notes in the Margin of My Time

Cultural Amnesia Notes in the Margin of My Time

Author: Clive James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 14/02/2012

`In this book can be heard the merest edge of an enormous conversation. As they never were in life, we can imagine the speakers all gathered in some vast room, wearing name tags in case they don't recognize each other (although some recognize each other all too well, and avoid contact). My heroes and heroines are here. The reader will recognize some of their names, while other names will be more obscure. My intellectual betes noires are here too, and the same division might apply.' An almanac combining a comprehensive survey of modern culture with an annotated index of who-was-who and what-was-what, Cultural Amnesia is Clive James' unique take on the places and the faces that shaped the twentieth-century. From Anna Akhmatova to Stefan Zweig, via Charles de Gaulle, Hitler, Thomas Mann and Wittgenstein, this varied and unfailingly absorbing book is both story and history, both public memoir and personal record - and provides an essential field-guide to the vast movements of taste, intellect, politics and delusion that helped to prepare the times we live in now.

The Blaze of Obscurity

The Blaze of Obscurity

Author: Clive James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/08/2010

`I was never alone except in the toilet, where I soon found that locking myself into a cubicle was not much protection from hearing myself talked about by young men standing at urinals. ( Jesus, he's looking rough. And it's only Monday. ) Reviews for Clive James's fourth volume of memoirs, North Face of Soho, included several that specifically requested a further volume; Clive James duly obliged and here, in all its glory, is `Unreliable Memoirs V', otherwise known as The Blaze of Obscurity. Perhaps his most brilliant book yet, The Blaze of Obscurity tells the inside story of his years in television: it shows Clive James on top form - both then and now. `In the case of many people who attempt an autobiography even a single volume is one too many . . . In the case of Clive James, the volumes now in existence are too few. If the final tally puts him up there with Marcel Proust, so much the better' Financial Times

The Revolt of the Pendulum Essays 2005-2008

The Revolt of the Pendulum Essays 2005-2008

Author: Clive James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/07/2010

The Revolt of the Pendulum is an essay collection that shows Clive James at his most dazzling and versatile best. From the rules of grammar to the fundamentals of religion, from the culture of fandom to the cult of the critic, it's all there: his customary wit, learning and understanding; his precise way with words and pointed comments; his ear for language and eye for detail; his ability to focus on the finer points and the bigger picture simultaneously - not to mention the sheer scope of his subject matter. `Clive James has a fantastic range and depth of knowledge. He is, at times, miraculously funny. He writes knowledgeably and with passion about literature, and especially poetry. His opinions are his own; he knows about classical music, show tunes and pop. He knows about politics and history. He understands people too. And he makes good jokes . . . There's only one Clive James' Sam Leith, Spectator

North Face of Soho

North Face of Soho

Author: Clive James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/07/2007

`In the closing pages of the last volume, I got married. The ceremony marked a rare outbreak of normality in my life. It was symbolized by my personal appearance. I was clean-shaven and had a hairstyle in reasonably close touch with my head.' After Unreliable Memoirs, Falling Towards England and May Week Was In June comes the fourth instalment in Clive James's life. Taking us from Fleet Street to Clive James on TV, from Russian department stores to Paris fashion shows - via fatherhood, some killer bees, and a satire starring Anne Robinson as Mrs Thatcher - North Face of Soho is the larger-than-life story of a life lived to the full.

Always Unreliable Memoirs

Always Unreliable Memoirs

Author: Clive James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/07/2003

Always Unreliable is the collected first three volumes of Clive James's eloquently witty autobiographies, Unreliable Memoirs, Falling Towards England and May Week Was in June. In Unreliable Memoirs we meet the young Clive James - dressed in shorts and growing up in post-war Sydney. With Falling Towards England, we find Clive living in a Swiss Cottage B&B, where he practises the Twist, anticipates poetical masterpieces he's yet to compose, and worries about his wardrobe. Finally, May Week Was In June sees Clive at Cambridge University, where he enthusiastically involves himself in college life (generally female lives) until May Week - not only in June but also a fortnight long - when he gets married. The rest, of course, is history . . .

May Week Was In June

May Week Was In June

Author: Clive James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/06/1991

`Arriving in Cambridge on my first day as an undergraduate, I could see nothing except a cold white October mist. At the age of twenty-four I was a complete failure, with nothing to show for my life except a few poems nobody wanted to publish in book form.' Falling Towards England - the second volume of Clive James's Unreliable Memoirs - was meant to be the last. Thankfully, that's not the case. In `Unreliable Memoirs III', May Week Was in June, Clive details his time at Cambridge, including film reviewing, writing poetry, falling in love (often), and marrying (once) during May Week - which was not only in June but also two weeks long . . .

Falling Towards England

Falling Towards England

Author: Clive James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 24/10/1986

In the first volume of Clive James's autobiography, Unreliable Memoirs, we said farewell to our hero as he set sail from Sydney Harbour, bound for London, fame and fortune. Finding the first of these proved relatively simple; the second two less so. Undaunted, Clive moved into a bed and breakfast in a Swiss Cottage where he practised the Twist, anticipated poetical masterpieces and worried about his wardrobe . . . Falling Towards England is the entertaining and erudite second part in Clive James' life story, which he continues in May Week Was in June, North Face of Soho and The Blaze of Obscurity.

Unreliable Memoirs

Unreliable Memoirs

Author: Clive James Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 11/09/1981

`I was born in 1939. The other big event of that year was the outbreak of the Second World War, but for the moment, that did not affect me.' In Unreliable Memoirs, the first instalment of Clive James's memoirs, we meet the young Clive, dressed in short trousers, and wrestling with the demands of school, various relatives and the occasional snake, in the suburbs of post-war Sydney. His adventures are hilarious, his recounting of them even more so, in this - the book that started it all . . .

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