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Cultural cohesion, p.74
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       Cultural Cohesion, p.74

           Clive James
 

  The photographs of war put McCullin’s work in its proper perspective. McCullin might be trying to awaken our dormant psyches but for the Japanese the gap between everyday tranquillity and stark horror seems always to have been only a step wide. And just as readily as they photographed the violence they inflicted, they photographed the violence inflicted on them. Elegantly judged, Pompeii-like photographs of the charred bodies after the Tokyo fire raids may be edifyingly compared with similar studies obtained in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Proudly saluting from the cockpit, a kamikaze pilot taxis past a class of schoolgirls waving cherry branches in farewell. Words are needed to tell us where he is flying to, but once we know that, the picture tells us that he was there. Probably some of the schoolgirls are still alive and can pick themselves out in the picture. They were there too. Reality is the donnée of photography and sets the limit for how much the photographer can transform what he sees into a personal creation. For the artist photographer the limit is high but it still exists. To think it can be transcended is to be like Kant’s dove, which, upon being told about air resistance, thought it could fly faster by abolishing the air.

  New York Review of Books, December 17, 1981;

  later included in Snakecharmers in Texas, 1988

  POSTSCRIPT

  Like writing about television, writing about photography was a chance to talk about everything. If someone had taken a photograph in China, I could talk about China. Doing a round-up of all the world’s books about photography in the past and present, I could go on for pages about time, space and the history of the world. But I couldn’t go on for long about photography itself, because apart from the technicalities there isn’t much to discuss, and criticism based solely on technicalities is doomed to famine. It can sound impressive, but so can an actor pretending to be a doctor. The specialist photography magazines are full of articles specifying shutter speed, focal length and what have you. No doubt it all means a lot to the adept, but it leaves the layman facing the same void as he always does when an aesthetic event is discussed in mechanical terms. A solo by Darcey Bussell, for example, can be registered on the page as a set of steps and poses with French names. Unfortunately every member of the corps de ballet can do them too. So the writer has evoked precisely nothing. In the case of photography the problem is exacerbated by the remorseless industrial effort to get all the relevant expertise into the camera itself, and out of the fallible hands of the goof holding it. There is indeed a miracle of creativity involved, but it is all inside the mechanism: more than a hundred and fifty years of intense technical development, none of which, if it were all forgotten tomorrow, even the most gifted photographer could begin to recapitulate.

  Making a television programme about a safari in Kenya, I was supplied by my producers with the very latest Nikon. All I had to do was point it and twist the bit that stuck out until something I could see through the little window was in focus—anything. I can’t even remember if I had to press a button. Perhaps it pressed its own button and told me afterwards. Anyway, I got a close-up of an angry lion’s face. The lion was angry because the car I was in woke it up, and some idiot human sticking out of the top of the car was pointing a sinister-looking box of tricks at it. When the photograph came back from the chemist’s, I was as open-mouthed as the lion. Cartier-Bresson would have swallowed his hyphen with envy. The photograph was as sharp as a tack, impressive as the crack of doom, frightening to chill the mind. It could have gone straight into a glossy magazine, full page, bled to the edges. There is a lot I could say concerning that photograph. I could talk about my fear and the lion’s nobility, Africa’s tragedy and the pathos of civilization. But there is almost nothing illuminating to say about the technique with which I secured it. With a camera like that, the lion could have taken a photograph of me.

  Art is safe from such developments. We aren’t, but it is. At once primitive and infinitely protean, art wasn’t born of consciousness: consciousness was born of it. As long as human life lasts, art will go on being the one activity for which no amount of calculation can provide a substitute, and the job of the critic will be to explain why this is so. The ability to realize that he can never attain to an exhaustive analysis of the thing he loves best is the indispensable qualification for signing on. What he has to offer is his life, of which his learning can only be a part: the more he knows the better, but if he thinks that nothing else counts then he will count for nothing. Primum vivere, deinde philosophari is a rap that nobody can beat.

  Reliable Essays, 2001

  INDEX

  Abbott, Berenice, 589

  Abbott, Jack, 408

  About the House (Auden), 15

  Abrams, M. H., 445, 447, 450

  Accattone, 533

  Acheson, Dean, 300

  Across the Rhine, 580–81

  Across the River and into the Trees (Hemingway), 208

  Across the Street and into the Grill (White), 390

  Adams, Ansel, 571, 572, 582, 592–93

  Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The (Doyle), 191

  Against Oblivion (Hamilton), 88–89

  Against the American Grain (Macdonald), 182

  Agee, James, 179–89, 573

  Age of Anxiety, The (Auden), 18

  Aimée, Anouk, 533, 540, 546, 550–51, 552

  Alberti, Guido, 545–46

  Alex in Wonderland, 555

  Allen, Woody, 541, 562

  Allende, Salvador, 415

  All What Jazz (Larkin), 48–51, 71, 79

  Altered Landscapes (Pfahl), 599

  Alvarez, A., 440–41

  Amarcord, 554–55

  Ambler, Eric, 191, 193

  American Dream, An (Mailer), 405

  American Earthquake, The (Wilson), 371–72, 374, 382

  American in Paris, An, 523

  American Photographers and the National Parks (Cahn and Ketchum, eds.), 592–93

  Amis, Kingsley, 23, 45, 68, 69, 122, 191, 193, 453

  Amis, Martin, xiii, xiv, 122, 466–69

  Ammons, A. R., 573

  Amory, Mark, 432

  Anchors Aweigh, 523

  Andropov, Yuri, 299

  And the Ship Sails On, 556

  Angier, Carole, 276, 279, 281–82

  Animal Farm (Orwell), 285, 289, 296, 297

  Anna Karenina (Tolstoy), 215

  Annotated Sherlock Holmes, The (Baring-Gould), 196

  Another Time (Auden), 13

  Antonioni, Michelangelo, 533–34, 543

  Apologies to the Iroquois (Wilson), 373

  Arbus, Diane, 570

  Arendt, Hannah, 479, 489–90

  Arnold, Eve, 580

  Arnold, Matthew, 316, 317

  Aron, Raymond, 300

  Art of Australia, The (Hughes), 250

  Art of the Great Hollywood Portrait Photographers, The (Kobal), 577, 601

  Ascension (Coltrane), 50

  Ashes of Gramsci, The (Pasolini), 531

  Astaire, Fred, 278, 521–22, 523

  Atget, Eugene, 589–90, 593

  Atherton, Gertrude, 241

  At Long Last Love, 562

  Attachment and Loss (Bowlby), 505

  Auden, W. H., 3–18, 58, 80, 95–96, 97, 108, 113, 201, 447, 448–49

  Auerbach, Erich, 452–53

  August 1914 (Solzhenitsyn), 214, 215–19

  Au Pays du Grande Mensonge (Ciliga), 288

  Auroras of Autumn, The (Stevens), 86

  Autobiography (Russell), 507

  Autochromes of J. H. Lartigue, The (Lartigue), 590

  Auto da Fé (Montale), 53–54, 457

  Autumn Journal, 108

  Avedon, Richard, 569

  Avenue Bearing the Initial of Christ into the New World, The (Kinnell), 129–35

  Axel’s Castle (Wilson), 379–80

  Baby Face Nelson, 564

  Backless Betty from Bondi (Slessor), 142

  Bailey, David, 578

  Baker, Nicholson, xv, 188

  Baker Street Studies (Bell), 196
<
br />   Balchin, Nigel, 233

  Balzac, Honoré de, 120

  Bancroft, Anne, 400–401

  Band Wagon, The, 521, 522

  Barbera, Jack, 123–28

  Baring-Gould, W. S., 196, 198

  Barkleys of Broadway, The, 523

  “Baron de Meyer/The New Hat Called Violette Worn by the Honorable Mrs. Reginald Fellowes—Alex, (1924)” (Beaton), 576

  Baronio, Joyce, 579

  Barthes, Roland, 532, 585–604, 595

  Battle of Algiers, The, 534, 544

  Baudelaire, Charles, 30–31

  Bausch, Pina, 556

  Bay City Blues (Chandler), 210–11

  Bayley, John, 37, 112

  Beaton (Danziger, ed.), 575

  Beaton, Cecil, 575–76, 583

  Beatty, Warren, 564

  Beautiful Changes, The (Wilbur), 437, 441

  Beautiful Stars of the Bear, 548

  Bechet, Sidney, 39, 52, 82

  Beiderbecke, Bix, 52, 72

  Bell, H. W., 196

  Beloved (Morrison), 310, 311

  Benjamin, Walter, 572, 584, 585, 586

  Beresford, Bruce, 535

  Bergman, Ingmar, 555, 557

  Berkeley, Busby, 523–24

  Berlin, Isaiah, 446–47

  Berryman, John, 26, 36, 84, 114, 437

  Bertrand Russell: The Spirit of Solitude (1872–1921) (Monk), 502

  Best Man, The (Vidal), 422

  Best of Photojournalism 5, The, 580

  Betjeman, John, 81, 286, 432

  Big Sleep, The (Chandler), 186, 201, 203, 209

  Bill Brandt: Nudes, 1945–1980, 600

  Bishop, Elizabeth, 132

  Bit Between My Teeth, The (Wilson), 373, 379

  Black, Dora, 511

  Black Orpheus, 530

  Blainey, Geoffrey, 255–56

  Blow-Up, 543

  Blue Dahlia, The (Chandler), 209

  Bogan, Louise, 97

  Bogdanovich, Peter, 553, 557–58, 561–67

  Booth, Wayne C., 443–55

  Boratto, Caterina, 549

  Bourke-White, Margaret, 581

  Bowlby, John, 505

  Boyer, Deena, 541–42, 545, 550

  Brady, Veronica, 154

  Brandt, Bill, 582, 600

  Brecht, Bertolt, 6, 14, 500

  Brennan, Christopher, 149–50, 156, 157–58

  Brett Weston: Photographs from Five Decades (Weston), 573

  Brezhnev, Leonid, 410

  Brideshead Revisited (Waugh), 431, 497–98

  Brief History of Time, A (Hawking), 38

  Broad Stream, The (Stewart), 157

  Brodsky, Joseph, 56–57

  Bronze Horseman, The (Pushkin), 113

  Brooks, Van Wyck, 374, 376

  Brown, Tina, 491

  Buckland, Gail, 583

  Bull, Clarence Sinclair, 577

  Buñuel, Luis, 11

  Burgess, Anthony, xvii, 298, 442, 581–82

  Burke, Kenneth, 15, 445, 447, 450, 451

  Burmese Days (Orwell), 287

  Byron, Lord, 105, 449

  Cahn, Robert, 592

  Callahan, Harry, 572–73

  Callas, Maria, 463, 534

  Call for the Dead (le Carré), 227, 231–32

  Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography (Barthes), 585–604

  Campbell, David, 144, 149

  Camus, Albert, 220

  Camus, Marcel, 530

  Cancer Ward (Solzhenitsyn), 215, 223

  Canetti, Elias, 457

  Cantos (Pound), 129, 130, 134, 139

  Capote, Truman, 424

  Captain Quiros (Fitzgerald), 150

  Captains Courageous (Kipling), 311

  Cardinale, Claudia, 548

  Carné, Marcel, 559

  Carroll, Lewis, 586

  Carteggio Svevo/Montale (Montale), 457

  Cartier-Bresson, Henri, 582, 590, 595

  Carver, Raymond, 188

  Casanova, Giacomo Girolamo, 328–39

  Casanova’s Homecoming (Schnitzler), 335–37

  Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes, The (Snow), 191

  Castro, Fidel, 416

  Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Other Sketches, The (Twain), 307, 313

  Century of Japanese Photography, A (Dower, ed.), 601

  Ceremony (Wilbur), 437

  Chamberlain, Neville, 290

  Chandler, Raymond, 186, 201–13

  Charisse, Cyd, 522

  Chaudhuri, Nirad, xiii

  Christina, Queen, 368

  Churchill, Winston, 220, 290, 292, 315, 483

  Ciliga, Anton, 288

  City Hall, 565

  City of Women, The, 555

  City Without Walls (Auden), 15

  Classics and Commercials (Wilson), 373, 379

  Clinton, William Jefferson (Bill), 325–27

  Coburn, Bob, 601

  Cocktail Party, The (Eliot), 354

  Cocteau, Jean, 256, 549

  Cold War and the Income Tax, The (Wilson), 371, 373

  Coleman, Ornette, 53

  Coleridge, Samuel, 220

  Cole Weston: Eighteen Photographs (Weston), 592

  Collected Essays (Orwell), 300

  Collected Essays 1952–72 (Vidal), 421

  Collected Poems (Larkin), 38–48

  Collected Poems (Roethke), 95

  Collected Poems (Smith), 126

  Collected Poems of James Agee, The (Agee), 179

  Collected Shorter Poems 1927–1957 (Auden), 12

  Collected Shorter Poems 1930–1944 (Auden), 10, 12

  Collected Short Prose of James Agee (Agee), 179, 182, 184

  Coltrane, John, 49–51

  Comden, Betty, 522, 523

  Common Pursuit, The (F. R. Leavis), 349–50

  Complete Poems (Jarrell), 84

  Complete Professor Challenger Stories, The, 200

  Connolly, Cyril, xiv, 286

  Conquest, Robert, 219, 221, 224, 225, 298–99

  Conrad, Peter, 255

  Contemporaries (Kazin), 374

  Contini, Gianfranco, 4, 531

  Cooper, James Fenimore, 21, 316–17, 322

  Cooper, Thomas, 582

  Cooper-Willis, Irene, 509

  Crane, Hart, 133

  Crane, Ronald S., 445, 447, 450, 451

  Critical Understanding: The Powers and Limits of Pluralism (Booth), 443–55

  Croce, Benedetto, 450, 462

  Cukor, George, 577

  Curtains (Tynan), 500

  Curtis, Tony, 398, 399–400

  Curtius, Ernst Robert, 453

  Dalí, Salvador, 11

  Dante Alighieri, 4, 13–14, 33, 40, 266, 308, 354–55, 380, 456

  Danziger, James, 575

  Da Ponte, Lorenzo, 334

  Dario, Ruben, 136

  Darkness at Noon (Agee), 181

  Darkness at Noon (Koestler), 222

  Darkness Falls from the Air (Balchin), 233

  Darlinghurst Nights (Slessor), 142

  Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit (Benjamin), 585

  Davie, Donald, 71

  Davis, Franklin M., Jr., 580–81

  Davis, Miles, 51–52, 53

  Davison, Peter, 285, 291, 300

  Dawe, Bruce, 159

  Death in the Family, A (Agee), 181–82, 186

  Decline and Fall (Waugh), 433, 434

  Deer Park, The (Mailer), 395, 396, 405, 406–7

  Dehumanisation of Art, The (Ortega), 588–89

  Deighton, Len, 191, 192

  de Laurentiis, Dino, 553

  Delon, Alain, 548

  Demon, The (Lermontov), 113

  Der Doppelte Boden (Reich-Ranicki), 492

  Der Weg ins Freie (Schnitzler), 492–93

  Der Widerstand Gegen den Nationalsozialismus, 482

  de Santis, Pasquale, 545

  de Stael, Madame, 120

  Destruction of the European Jews, The, 475

  Devil and James McAuley, The (Pybus), 152
53

  Devil’s Eye, The, 555

  Dialogue with Photography (Hill and Cooper, eds.), 582

  Diana and Nikon (Malcolm), 569

  Diaries (Waugh), 427

  Diary of a Century (Lartigue), 590–91

  Dickens, Charles, 308–9, 454

  Dickinson, Emily, 439

  Die Blendung, 457

  Die Grenzen der Macht (Stürmer), 489

  Die Moritat von Mackie Messer (Brecht), 14

  Dienes, André de, 396

  Die Seeräuber-Jenny (Brecht), 14

  Die 200 Tage von 8?, 541

  Dirty Dancing, 524

  Di Venanzo, Gianni, 542, 544, 545, 553

  Divine Comedy, The (Dante), 14

  Dobson, Rosemary, 159

  Dodge, Mabel, 173, 174–75

  Dolphin, The (Lowell), 25, 28, 36

  Donen, Stanley, 522

  Donovan, Terence, 578

  Door into the Dark (Heaney), 19

  Dorothea Lange and the Documentary Tradition (Ohrn), 582

  Dos Passos, John, 217

  Dostoevsky, Fyodor, 120

  Double Bond, The (Angier), 276, 279, 281–82

  Double Fold, xv

  Double Indemnity (Chandler), 209

  Dower, John W., 601

  Down and Out in Paris and London (Orwell), 287

  Doyle, Arthur Conan, 190–200, 231–32

  Dream Songs (Berryman), 26, 36, 114

  Drouet, Minou, 256

  Drowned and the Saved, The (Levi), 259–73, 280, 282, 283

  Dr. Zhivago (Pasternak), 218, 220

  Dubus, Andre, 188

  Dudley, Helen, 508–9

  Duffey, Brian, 578

  Dutton, Geoffrey, 140

  Dwan, Allan, 563

  Eclipse, The, 543

  Edgar, Stephen, 441–42

  Eichmann in Jerusalem (Arendt), 489–90

  81⁄2, 539–60

  Einstein, Albert, 445–46, 514, 516

  Eisenhower, Dwight D., 412–13, 416

  E la Nave Va, 556

  Eliot, T. S., 93, 95–96, 99, 353–55, 357, 374, 376, 380, 381, 460, 510, 540

  Eliot, Viven, 510

  Eloquent Light, The, 571

  Enemies of Promise (Connolly), 286

  Epistle to a Godson (Auden), 15

  Ervin, Sam, 412

  Estuary in Scotland (Johnston), 204

  Etruscan Places (Lawrence), 176–77

  Eugene Onegin (Pushkin), 102–16, 117–21, 122

  Europe Without Baedeker (Wilson), 383

  Evans, Walker, 573, 582

  Everyman History of English Literature (Conrad), 255

  Everyone Says I Love You, 562

 
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