The title of Clive James’s fifth and latest volume of memoirs, The Blaze of Obscurity, is characteristically self-deprecating. Subtitled “The TV Years,” it makes clear that James never had any illusions about the ephemeral format in which he worked for nearly two decades. “It was television that made a civilized life possible for my family, and made it possible for me to write only from inner compulsion, and never to a market imperative,” he explains. “As a clincher, it was television that made it possible for me to go on writing poetry, ever and always at the heart of my desire.” Still, James considers his “Postcard from . . .” television travel series to contain some of his finest writing, and he holds a similarly lofty opinion of Fame in the Twentieth Century, a documentary that never can resurface because of copyright issues. The fate of such projects,...


A Message from the Editors

Since 1982, The New Criterion has nurtured and safeguarded our delicate cultural inheritance. Join our family of supporters and secure the future of civilization.

Popular Right Now