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Book - 2015
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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.
Publisher: New Haven and London : Yale University Press, [2015]
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9780300213195
0300213190
Branch Call Number: 028.9 JAMES
Characteristics: ix, 180 pages ; 21 cm

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"...idealism is a cast of mind that Conrad questions even more than he questions radicalism....idealism is the mental aberration that allows terror to be brought about. he saw that a new tyranny could be generated by people who thought that their rebellion against the old tyranny was rational...UNDER WESTERN EYES is valuable not because it came true but because it rang true even at the time, only now we can better hear the deep, sad note." "D. H. Lawrence was just as good as Hemingway at describing a clear mountain stream in a valley,..but Hemingway made a thing of it, as the young people say." "For any writer who does not die instantly, the time of physical decline is a new subject...too many injuries to the head had wrecked his concentration." "It left a terrible mess, which his loved ones, to whom he knew he had been a burden, had to clean up. It wasn't gallant of him, and it wasn't brave." "Conrad's VICTORY, first published in 1915, perfects his signature themes. The hero, Heyst, is a Lord Jim fgiure without the guilt...in the dance hall of the despicable hotelier Scho9mberg, Heyst encounters the ideal girl, Alma, who is the helpless prisoner of the tatty Zangiacomo Orchestra and has nowhere to turn as Schomberg odiously threatens her with his attentions." "Here in Cambridge, in Trinity College Chapel, there is a plaque dedicated to Ludwig Wittgenstein. It says, in Latin, that he released thought from its bonds in language. If I ever had a plaque, I would like it to say: He loved the written word, and told the young."

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Feb 17, 2016

Numerous enjoyable, informative, and opinionated little essays, sometimes peppered with himself and his life and ailments, and sometimes with sarcastic humourm, as when he laments on a woman in the film industry who wasted her talents by trying to cram Peru into her nose (ie., she became a cocaine addict). No notes or index. Ultimately its like a series of well written longish blog posts, collected and printed.

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