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Kevin Cryan
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LRB essay on Clive James
« : 04.03.10 at 09:44 »
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Christopher Tayler in the course of reviewing The Blaze of Obscurity: The TV Years by Clive James for the current issue of the London Review of Books, makes some good observations about the difference between this, the fourth, and first volume of James's Unreliable Memoirs,   and about how James man of letters may be  perceived now  as compared with how he was perceived at the beginning of his career.
 
In The Blaze of Obscurity " there’s",  according to Tayler, " a feeling that the real story – the story of a writer with a powerful sense of the ridiculous slowly turning into someone with only a vestigial one – is being simultaneously shirked and relived. The things James does now are characteristically wide-ranging, including as they do maintaining his extensive personal website and a reactivated musical career with Pete Atkin, but by 2001 the tendency to project himself as a sage in print had got out of hand………….." (my italics).
 
With this, and statements like it, Tayler gives even James's staunchest admirers – myself included – pause for thought, and it's these asides that make his piece deserving of the reader's attention.
 
Kevin Cryan
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