Sunday, April 20, 2008

Simple minds

Clive James was talking on "A Point of View" on Radio Four this morning about V.S. Naipaul and the shortcomings of the view that you only appreciate the work of people you admire as human beings and disregard all others. And I quote:
"Poetry like Larkin's, and prose like Sir Vidia's, is still the best safeguard we've got against the rage for simplicity, the total view that wants to achieve a false peace by silencing everyone who might contradict us."
"The rage for simplicity". There's a book for our times.


  1. It does ask the question how godawful a person has to be before you can't bear their work anymore.Art doesn't excuse everything.

  2. Mr. James is right of course but complexity is so demanding...who has the stamina for it these days? Your link isn't working BTW.

  3. It's a pity Hitler wasn't a better writer or painter. That would be an interesting arguement.

  4. Anonymous12:16 am

    I used to love James, and then started hating him. His writing to me became a list of erudite references topped by a clever turn of phrase. It's like he was humming the sentence to himself, ending it with a ta-dah! Bizarrely, if you go to his own site and to his own books that are on sale, you'll see a fantastic critique of him from someone or other. I agree with it totally, but then again he probably wrote it himself. Bastard.