Kevin Jackson

Civilising Influence

Kenneth Clark: Life, Art and 'Civilisation'

By

William Collins 478pp £30 order from our bookshop

Lord Clark did not want for detractors. Plenty of people found him chilly, arrogant, complacent and self-deceived. Some of his fellow art historians thought him unscholarly and superficial (and others thought him first-rate). In later life he was a chronic adulterer and he could be a rude, difficult colleague. Even his most famous achievement, the television series Civilisation, infuriated many viewers with its robustly traditional faith in the transcendental value of art and the mystery of genius – or simply with its unembarrassed poshness. And so on.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Neville never shed his sense of being the junior, and perhaps least-deserving Chamberlain.' From the archive, Mic… ,
    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,
    • RT : A magnificent demolition job on this "acid laced tirade...unpleasantly self-obsessed...self pitying polemic...book… ,
    • 'Seventy years on, the time we have left to gather such first-hand testimony is running out.' John Keay on the sig… ,
    • The author 'seethes with contemptuous indignation at the shiny junk that an unregulated construction industry dumps… ,
    • 'The physical courage he demonstrated as a young man [...] gave way to intellectual power; radical thought, gifted… ,
    • 'While Jane Austen didn’t perhaps achieve the full recognition that she deserved in her lifetime, even then she out… ,