Necessary Memories from History and the Arts
Norton, $35, 768 pp.
Somewhere in the ether of critic Clive James’s imagination is a dowdy mitteleuropäisches coffeehouse where the shades of twentieth-century Western humanism congregate. Mostly French or Jewish, overwhelmingly white and male, battered but not defeated by the trahison des clercs, their conversation continues to be about the classics, the role of reason, and the accumulation of knowledge. Unworldly priests of the intellect, they are men who...
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