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LIVE from the NYPL: CLIVE JAMES in conversation with Paul Holdengräber: Cultural Amnesia


The Richard B. Salomon Distinguished Lectures* & LIVE from the NYPL present:

Echoing Edward Said's belief that "Western humanism is not enough, we need a universal humanism," the renowned critic Clive James presents his life's work in a new cultural canon that celebrates truth over hypocrisy, literature over totalitarianism. Containing over one hundred essays and nearly 40 years in the making, Cultural Amnesia illuminates, rescues, or occasionally destroys the careers of many of the greatest thinkers, humanists, musicians, artists, and philosophers of the twentieth century. In discussing, among others, Louis Armstrong, Walter Benjamin, Sigmund Freud, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Franz Kafka, Marcel Proust, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, James writes:

"If the humanism that makes civilization civilized is to be preserved into the new century, it will need advocates. These advocates will need a memory, and part of that memory will need to be of an age in which they were not yet alive."

Jacob Weisberg will introduce the evening. He is the editor of Slate, a free on-line daily magazine offering analysis and commentary about politics, news, and culture.

About Clive James

Born in Australia, Clive James has lived in London and Cambridge for over 40 years. During this time James established himself as one of the most influential metropolitan critics of his generation, as well as a television performer, writer and producer, author, poet and lyricist. His major series Fame in the Twentieth Century was broadcast in Britain, Australia, and the U.S. His collections of essays include Reliable Essays, Even as We Speak, and The Meaning of Recognition. Other works include the North Face of Soho, the fourth volume of his memoirs; novels Brilliant Creatures and The Silver Castle; a complete edition of poetry,The Book of My Enemy; and a collection of travel writings, Flying Visits. After helping to found the television production company Watchmaker, Clive James became chairman of the Internet enterprise Welcome Stranger. He now heads one of its subsidiaries,, the world?s first personal multi-media website of its type. His new book, Cultural Amnesia, is a study of cultural discontinuity in the twentieth century.

About Jacob Weisberg

Jacob Weisberg is editor of Slate. He was previously Slate's chief political correspondent and the originator of its "Strange Bedfellow" and "Ballot Box" columns. Before joining Slate in 1996, he wrote about politics for magazines including the New Republic, Newsweek, and New York Magazine, and has written as well for Vanity Fair and the New York Times Magazine. He is the co-author, with Robert E. Rubin, of In an Uncertain World. He is also the author of In Defense of Government, the 2000 eBook The Road to Chadville, and the Bushisms series.

About Paul Holdengräber

Paul Holdengräber is the Director of Public Programs now known as "LIVE from the NYPL" for The Research Libraries of The New York Public Library.

*These annual lectures made possible by an endowed fund established by the friends and associates of the late Richard B. Salomon.