The Meaning of Recognition

Clive James

01 August 2013
334 pages


With essays taking the reader from London to Bali, theatre to library and from election campaigns to television, The Meaning of Recognition collects the best of Clive James on art, culture and politics from 2001–2005.

Whether analysing Bing Crosby, Bruno Schulz or Shakespeare, celebrating The Sopranos and The West Wing, or lamenting the decline of Formula One, Clive James writes with style and substance, offering food for thought across a huge variety of subjects.

On Pushkin, Philip Roth, or the nature of celebrity, he is always sane, engaged and unmistakably himself. This collection shows Clive at his witty, learned and heartfelt best.

‘Clive James, the most glorious prose stylist of his generation, refuses to stop learning ever more about the world’ — New Statesman

'[Clive] can both get to the heart of a subject and raise a laugh' – Sunday Times

Clive James
(1939–2019) was a broadcaster, critic, poet, memoirist and novelist. His much-loved, influential and hilarious television criticism is available both in individual volumes and collected in Clive James On Television. His encyclopaedic study of culture and politics in the twentieth century, Cultural Amnesia, remains perhaps the definitive embodiment of his wide-ranging talents as a critic.

Praise for Clive James:

'The perfect critic' – A.O. Scott, New York Times

'There can't be many writers of my generation who haven't been heavily influenced by Clive James' – Charlie Brooker

'A wonderfully witty and intelligent writer' – Verity Lambert

One of the most lively, shrewd and resourceful essayists currently writing.
With bare-faced political declarations, waspish satire and frankness, he can both get to the heart of a subject and raise a laugh.