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Clive James

Geburtstag: 7. Oktober 1939
Todesdatum: 24. November 2019

Clive James war australischer Schriftsteller, Literaturkritiker und Rundfunkmitarbeiter.

Zitate Clive James

„Most first novels are disguised autobiographies. This autobiography is a disguised novel.“

—  Clive James

Opening lines to the preface, p. 9
Memoirs, Unreliable Memoirs (1980)

„Pulsing like a beacon through the days and nights, the birthplace of the fortunate sends out its invisible waves of recollection. It always has and it always will, until even the last of us come home.“

—  Clive James

Closing lines, p. 174
Memoirs, Unreliable Memoirs (1980)
Kontext: As I begin this last paragraph, outside my window a misty afternoon drizzle gently but inexorably soaks the City of London. Down there in the street I can see umbrellas commiserating with each other. In Sydney Harbour, twelve thousand miles away and ten hours from now, the yachts will be racing on the crushed diamond water under a sky the texture of powdered sapphires. It would be churlish not to concede that the same abundance of natural blessings which gave us the energy to leave has every right to call us back. All in, the whippy's taken. Pulsing like a beacon through the days and nights, the birthplace of the fortunate sends out its invisible waves of recollection. It always has and it always will, until even the last of us come home.

„In the Warsaw ghetto, the power of music, the will to live and the courage to stand against evil added up to very little, and The Pianist has the wherewithal to respect that sad fact and make sense of it. In the Warsaw ghetto, what counted was luck, and the luck had to be very good.“

—  Clive James

On Polanski's The Pianist
Essays and reviews, The Meaning of Recognition (2005)
Kontext: Roman Polanski's new film The Pianist is a work of genius on every level, except, alas, for the press-pack promotional slogan attributed to the director himself. "The Pianist is a testimony to the power of music, the will to live, and the courage to stand against evil." If he actually said it, he flew in the face of his own masterpiece, which is a testimony to none of those things. In the Warsaw ghetto, the power of music, the will to live and the courage to stand against evil added up to very little, and The Pianist has the wherewithal to respect that sad fact and make sense of it. In the Warsaw ghetto, what counted was luck, and the luck had to be very good.

„Shakespeare, far from being careless about grammar, could depart from it in any direction only because he had first mastered it as a structure.“

—  Clive James

Pedro Henríquez Ureña, p. 777
Essays and reviews, Cultural Amnesia: Notes in the Margin of My Time (2007)
Kontext: There is a consoling mythology, constantly being added to, which would have us believe that genius operates beyond donkey work. Thus we are told reassuringly that Einstein was no better at arithmetic than we are; that Mozart gaily broke the rules of composition while jotting down a stream of black dots without even looking; and that Shakespeare didn't care about grammar. Superficially, there are facts to lend substance to these illusions. But illusions they remain. There is always some autistic child in India who can speak in prime numbers, but that doesn't mean Einstein couldn't add up; Mozart would not have been able to break the rules in an interesting way unless he was able to keep them if required; and Shakespeare, far from being careless about grammar, could depart from it in any direction only because he had first mastered it as a structure.

„Beyond a certain point - and that point is reached early - precision is what expressiveness depends on.“

—  Clive James

'The Continuing Insult to the English Language' (The Monthly, May 2006)
Essays and reviews
Kontext: ... by now some of the editors and subeditors [on Fleet Street] are themselves products of the anti-educational orthodoxy by which expressiveness counts above precision. It would, if the two terms were separable. But they aren't. Beyond a certain point - and that point is reached early - precision is what expressiveness depends on.

„After Mao, not even Pol Pot came as a surprise. Sadly, he was a cliché.“

—  Clive James

Essays and reviews, Cultural Amnesia: Notes in the Margin of My Time (2007)
Kontext: The full facts about Nazi Germany came out quite quickly, and were more than enough to induce despair. The full facts about the Soviet Union were slower to become generally appreciated, but when they at last were, the despair was compounded. The full facts about Mao's China left that compounded despair looking like an inadequate response. After Mao, not even Pol Pot came as a surprise. Sadly, he was a cliché.

„His poetry, so wonderful when it is really flying, isn’t trying to tell you how much he knows. It’s giving thanks for how much there is to be known.“

—  Clive James

On Peter Porter, 'Talking for Posterity' (Times Literary Supplement, May 14, 2010)
Essays and reviews
Kontext: [H]e could never have played the hero, because for him it was creativity itself that had the heroic status, beyond politics, beyond patriotism, beyond even personal happiness. It’s the reason why his work is like that. His poetry, so wonderful when it is really flying, isn’t trying to tell you how much he knows. It’s giving thanks for how much there is to be known.

„Tyrants conduct monologues above a million solitudes. —ALBERT CAMUS, THE REBEL“

—  Clive James, buch Cultural Amnesia

Cultural Amnesia: Necessary Memories from History and the Arts

„Anyone afraid of what he thinks television does to the world is probably just afraid of the world.“

—  Clive James

'Introduction'
Essays and reviews, Glued to the Box (1983)

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