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The Meaning of Recognition

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  59 ratings  ·  5 reviews
Literary critic, cultural commentator, TV personality, journalist, poet, political analyst, satirist and Formula One fan: Clive James is a man (and master) of many talents, and the essays collected here are testament to that fact. Whether discussing Bing Crosby, Bruno Schulz or Shakespeare, he manages to prioritize style and substance simultaneously, his tone never less th ...more
PBK, 496 pages
Published October 20th 2006 by Picador (first published September 2nd 2005)
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Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
A compendium of previously published essays that was a joy to read while travelling. James writes very well but there is one problem with republished essays whose wit so often relied upon references to current events in Britain or personalities of the time. These references do not travel and do not last. Other than that, vintage James.
Leticia Supple
It seems that I have been reading this collection of essays for most of the year. And now that I am racing to the end of the year, and have a few books left to hit my target, I managed to summon the discipline to complete it.

This might sound odd, given I very often and very loudly proclaim that Clive James is one of my favourite, nay, most influential authors. But the truth is, in every prolific essay writer's life, a good proportion of his works will be on topics that you just don't
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: proto-favourites
Funny polticial and cultural digs (his series on the 2005 UK general election is acid and insightful). I needed to read someone who doesn’t believe that everything personal is political tbf. (Larkin is a great poet and was a terrible man – why is this so difficult for people to accept? Is it just the halo effect?)

His long essay on Isaiah Berlin is fantastic and contentious, and his retorts to the professional philosophers who come at him about it devastating, inspiring.
Aug 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: essays
A series of high energy squibs going off behind the eyes. James' essays pack enormous erudition and media trivia on to the same page. He can talk about Bruno Schulz in one breath and George Bush and reality TV in the next. Entertaining, polemic, sometimes even crass and just wrong - how could the coup in Chile have improved the standard of living for the average Chilean? But always worth reading...
Jonathan Downes
Dec 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good spy story, but characters are less believable

Pitched as a Le Carre style thriller, it's a good technical read on tradecraft, but I felt the main protagonists were too overwhelmingly fabulous for the story. Would have preferred more flawed and less comic book heroes.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

An expatriate Australian broadcast personality and author of cultural criticism, memoir, fiction, travelogue and poetry. Translator of Dante.