The Revolt of the Pendulum is an essay collection that shows Clive James at his most dazzling and versatile best. From the rules of grammar to the fundamentals of religion, from the culture of fandom to the cult of the critic, it’s all there: his customary wit, learning and understanding; his precise way with words and pointed comments; his ear for language and eye for detail; his ability to focus on the finer points and the bigger picture simultaneously – not to mention the sheer scope of his subject matter.
‘Clive James has a fantastic range and depth of knowledge. He is, at times, miraculously funny. He writes knowledgeably and with passion about literature, and especially poetry. His opinions are his own; he knows about classical music, show tunes and pop. He knows about politics and history. He understands people too. And he makes good jokes . . . There’s only one Clive James’ Sam Leith, Spectator