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Clive James

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ENTERTAINMENT
November 23, 2008 | Benjamin Lytal, Lytal teaches at the Pratt Institute and writes fiction.
Clive James has been a fish out of water, a television personality and a poet, a memoirist who befriended Princess Diana . . . and an erudite critic, a regular in England's most important literary journals. Yet his own fame, as what the English call a TV presenter, ruined his reputation: "As a show business name, I was crossed off the list of the serious." But American audiences have hardly heard of him.
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ENTERTAINMENT
November 23, 2008 | Benjamin Lytal, Lytal teaches at the Pratt Institute and writes fiction.
Clive James has been a fish out of water, a television personality and a poet, a memoirist who befriended Princess Diana . . . and an erudite critic, a regular in England's most important literary journals. Yet his own fame, as what the English call a TV presenter, ruined his reputation: "As a show business name, I was crossed off the list of the serious." But American audiences have hardly heard of him.
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BOOKS
March 18, 2007 | Matthew Price, Matthew Price is a journalist and critic in New York.
IN "Cultural Amnesia," the prodigious critic Clive James succumbs to a mighty ambition: In 100-plus alphabetically arranged essays, he pays homage to the vast western humanist enterprise (writing, filmmaking, music, philosophy, theater), defending it from myriad enemies. I don't fault his intelligence or erudition: This Australian omnivore has read, traveled and thought more than perhaps any critic alive.
BOOKS
March 18, 2007 | Matthew Price, Matthew Price is a journalist and critic in New York.
IN "Cultural Amnesia," the prodigious critic Clive James succumbs to a mighty ambition: In 100-plus alphabetically arranged essays, he pays homage to the vast western humanist enterprise (writing, filmmaking, music, philosophy, theater), defending it from myriad enemies. I don't fault his intelligence or erudition: This Australian omnivore has read, traveled and thought more than perhaps any critic alive.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 9, 1993 | HOWARD ROSENBERG
One of the ironies of "Fame in the 20th Century," the thin but enjoyable BBC documentary series airing this week on PBS, is that the commodity it omits is exactly what host-writer Clive James has been supplying while hitting the TV interview circuit to promote these eight hours about the famous. That commodity is interpretation--not just a listing of celebrities but some thoughts on why we're attracted to famous people simply because they're famous.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 5, 1993 | DAVID GRITTEN, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
"At the start of the century," Clive James is saying, "there was Madame Curie, who was a terrific scientist, and not at all interested in fame. And today we have Madonna, who's only an average singer and dancer. And she's obsessed by fame. Consumed by it." He gives a "go figure" shrug.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 10, 1995 | ROBERT KOEHLER, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Clive James is the kind of chap you'd enjoy as a train companion, filling in the long stretches between stops with his stories of places you haven't been. On the other hand, peripatetics like James, an Australian-born British TV host and critic, can be a pain after a while--precisely because they've been to places you haven't been.
BOOKS
February 6, 1994 | ERIKA TAYLOR
THE MAN FROM JAPAN by Clive James (Random House: $19; 173 pp.) Humorous novels, even the most effective ones, will generally cause people to read a passage and say to themselves, "Ha-ha. That's funny." Perhaps they'll give a little smile. However, "The Man From Japan," by English writer and television personality Clive James, is the rare kind of book, that, instead of a polite grin, inspires loud raucous laughter. Whole paragraphs can be read twice just for the pleasure of laughing again.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 16, 2004 | From Associated Press
Australian television critic and author Clive James launched a scathing attack Friday on the thirst for fame that is fueling the reality television phenomenon. Speaking to a national conference of commercial radio stations, London-based James suggested that celebrity-obsessed tabloid newspapers and reality shows were making people famous for doing nothing. "If you ask people what they would like to do with their lives, they say they'd like to be famous or on television," James said.
NEWS
June 4, 1986 | RICHARD EDER, Times book critic
Flying Visits: Postcards From the Observer 1976-1983 by Clive James (Norton: $14.95) On and off over seven years, the Australian-born columnist Clive James traveled about the world under instructions from his editors at the Observer to concentrate on first impressions and avoid the deep stuff. He was to follow the first branch of the forked dictum that says writing about foreign places should be done either at the end of one week or at the end of six months.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 16, 2004 | From Associated Press
Australian television critic and author Clive James launched a scathing attack Friday on the thirst for fame that is fueling the reality television phenomenon. Speaking to a national conference of commercial radio stations, London-based James suggested that celebrity-obsessed tabloid newspapers and reality shows were making people famous for doing nothing. "If you ask people what they would like to do with their lives, they say they'd like to be famous or on television," James said.
BOOKS
June 22, 2003 | Lee Siegel, Lee Siegel is a contributing writer to Book Review.
"Some subjects have no market value. They only have value. Literary journalism is one of them. The demand for it will never increase. No one who practices it will get rich.... Literary journalism is a branch of humanism, and humanism is not utilitarian: it must be pursued for its own sake." Thus the literary journalist Clive James, whose fineness of judgment seems to have its origin in his exact apprehension of his place in the world.
NEWS
August 17, 1998 | JONATHAN LEVI, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
What is Clive James doing writing a novel about India? By what right does he wander away from his post as Chief Wit for the British television industry? With what knowledge does he poach in Rushdieland and build a bildungsroman about a beggar in a country far from his native Australia and his adopted Cambridge? "There is . . .
ENTERTAINMENT
July 10, 1995 | ROBERT KOEHLER, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Clive James is the kind of chap you'd enjoy as a train companion, filling in the long stretches between stops with his stories of places you haven't been. On the other hand, peripatetics like James, an Australian-born British TV host and critic, can be a pain after a while--precisely because they've been to places you haven't been.
BOOKS
February 6, 1994 | ERIKA TAYLOR
THE MAN FROM JAPAN by Clive James (Random House: $19; 173 pp.) Humorous novels, even the most effective ones, will generally cause people to read a passage and say to themselves, "Ha-ha. That's funny." Perhaps they'll give a little smile. However, "The Man From Japan," by English writer and television personality Clive James, is the rare kind of book, that, instead of a polite grin, inspires loud raucous laughter. Whole paragraphs can be read twice just for the pleasure of laughing again.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 9, 1993 | HOWARD ROSENBERG
One of the ironies of "Fame in the 20th Century," the thin but enjoyable BBC documentary series airing this week on PBS, is that the commodity it omits is exactly what host-writer Clive James has been supplying while hitting the TV interview circuit to promote these eight hours about the famous. That commodity is interpretation--not just a listing of celebrities but some thoughts on why we're attracted to famous people simply because they're famous.
NEWS
August 17, 1998 | JONATHAN LEVI, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
What is Clive James doing writing a novel about India? By what right does he wander away from his post as Chief Wit for the British television industry? With what knowledge does he poach in Rushdieland and build a bildungsroman about a beggar in a country far from his native Australia and his adopted Cambridge? "There is . . .
BOOKS
June 22, 2003 | Lee Siegel, Lee Siegel is a contributing writer to Book Review.
"Some subjects have no market value. They only have value. Literary journalism is one of them. The demand for it will never increase. No one who practices it will get rich.... Literary journalism is a branch of humanism, and humanism is not utilitarian: it must be pursued for its own sake." Thus the literary journalist Clive James, whose fineness of judgment seems to have its origin in his exact apprehension of his place in the world.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 5, 1993 | DAVID GRITTEN, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
"At the start of the century," Clive James is saying, "there was Madame Curie, who was a terrific scientist, and not at all interested in fame. And today we have Madonna, who's only an average singer and dancer. And she's obsessed by fame. Consumed by it." He gives a "go figure" shrug.
NEWS
June 4, 1986 | RICHARD EDER, Times book critic
Flying Visits: Postcards From the Observer 1976-1983 by Clive James (Norton: $14.95) On and off over seven years, the Australian-born columnist Clive James traveled about the world under instructions from his editors at the Observer to concentrate on first impressions and avoid the deep stuff. He was to follow the first branch of the forked dictum that says writing about foreign places should be done either at the end of one week or at the end of six months.
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