`In this book can be heard the merest edge of an enormous conversation. As they never were in life, we can imagine the speakers all gathered in some vast room, wearing name tags in case they don't recognize each other (although some recognize each other all too well, and avoid contact). My heroes and heroines are here. The reader will recognize some of their names, while other names will be more obscure. My intellectual betes noires are here too, and the same division might apply.'
An almanac combining a comprehensive survey of modern culture with an annotated index of who-was-who and what-was-what, Cultural Amnesia is Clive James' unique take on the places and the faces that shaped the twentieth-century. From Anna Akhmatova to Stefan Zweig, via Charles de Gaulle, Hitler, Thomas Mann and Wittgenstein, this varied and unfailingly absorbing book is both story and history, both public memoir and personal record - and provides an essential field-guide to the vast movements of taste, intellect, politics and delusion that helped to prepare the times we live in now.
Clive James is the author of more than forty books. As well as essays, he has published collections of literary and television criticism, travel writing, verse and novels, plus five volumes of autobiography, Unreliable Memoirs, Falling Towards England, May Week Was In June, North Face of Soho and The Blaze of Obscurity. As a television performer he appeared regularly for both the BBC and ITV, most notably as writer and presenter of the Postcard series of travel documentaries. His popular Radio 4 series A Point of View has been published in volume form. He has also published several poetry collections, a verse commentary of Proust, Gate of Lilacs, and a translation of Dante's The Divine Comedy. In 1992 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia and in 2003 he was awarded the Philip Hodgins memorial medal for literature. He holds honorary doctorates from Sydney University and the University of East Anglia. In 2012 he was appointed CBE and in 2013 an Officer of the Order of Australia.