By Clive James
Six years after the much-heralded booklet of Cultural Amnesia, Clive James provides his “prequel”—forty-nine essays that he has chosen because the better of his half-century occupation. initially showing as As of This Writing, Cultural Cohesion examines the twisted cultural terrain of the 20 th century in a single of the main obtainable and cohesive volumes on hand. Divided into 4 sections—“Poetry,” “Fiction and Literature,” “Culture and Criticism,” and “Visual Images”—James reviews on poets like W. H. Auden and Phillip Larkin, novelists like D. H. Lawrence and Raymond Chandler (not to say Judith Krantz!), and filmmakers like Fellini and Bogdanovich. all through, James delights his readers along with his manic power and significant aplomb. This quantity, that includes a brand new creation, is a one-volume cultural schooling that few fresh books can rival.
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And from this the patriarchs succeed: Abraham's son is Isaac; Isaac's son is Jacob, whose later name is Israel. This period seems to be very largely a pastoral one associated with flocks and herds, essentially a ranching economy. But then Jacob (Israel), as a result of a complicated story about his son Joseph, goes down into Egypt. Now this is the great archetypal event, so to speak: it's the one from which all the others take their form and model. The Israelites did nothing wrong in entering Egypt; in fact, they were welcomed there.
R. James was the headmaster of Eton College: he wrote some excellent ghost stories and was also a Classical scholar. 5 6 There are also two secular writers to whom I may be referring quite frequently. One was a Jewish philosopher living in Alexandria in Egypt during the time of Jesus, known to posterity as Philo Judaeus. He was a Platonic philosopher who attempted to derive the doctrine of Forms in Plato from the account of Creation in Genesis: and while there is a good deal of straining to make interpretive points in his books, they are also full of interest for anybody who is interested in the Biblical pattern of imagery.
In 14 36 Symbolism in the Bible the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations/' So the opening incident in the Bible is man's loss of the tree and water of life. The closing incident of the Bible is his regaining of the tree and water of life. And you notice that the river of life is described as the "street": that is, it has become an element in which man can live.