Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Clive James

Clive James is a versatile Australian cultural icon who is born in Sydney in 1939. He studied in Sydney and became literary editor for the student newspaper Honi Soit. After his graduation he worked one year as assistant editor of the magazine page of the Sydney Morning Herald.

In 1961 he moved to England. In London he shared a flat with Bruce Beresford. Three years later he managed to enter Cambridge University where he read English literature. During that period he also became president of the Footlights and wrote lyrics with Pete Atkin, who was also involved in the Footlights. Clive James received a second degree and wrote a PhD on Percy Bysshe Shelley.

From 1972 to 1982 he worked as a television reviewer for The Observer and wrote his weekly column. Next to that he also performed on television in programmes like the Granada Television pop music show and Clive James on TV. He got more and more attention of periodicals such as The Listener and the New Statesman and he was nicknamed after his first book: The Metropolitan Critic. In the same period he wrote Peregrine Prykke's Pilgrimage through the London Literary World.

In 1979 he wrote the first volume of his autobiography: Unreliable memoirs which was reprinted about 60 times. It was soon followed by three other volumes: Falling towards England, May week was in June and North face of Soho. Each volume represents a particular periods of James’ life; the first part is about is upbringing in Australia, the second is about his moving to England, the third is about his life at Cambridge University and the last volume is about the period between his stay at Cambridge University and today.

In addition to this he also wrote novels (e.g. The silver castle), and poetry (e.g. The book of my enemy). He also was interested in travel writing and introduced the postcard style on television. At the same time he wrote series like Fame in the 20th Century which was distributed in most of the English speaking world (through BBC, ABC and PBS network). In 2007 he presented the BBC radio programme Point of View and now he concentrates on the development of his personal website.

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